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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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THE REWARDS OF PATIENCE
October 5, 2014
SCRIPTURE: Habakkuk 2:1-5; 3:16-19
INTRODUCTION: In Habakkuk chapter one, we see the incomprehension of the Prophet Habakkuk. But now the prophet has learned that the Lord has answers for his questions. In chapter one the Lord answered his first question, which raised a bigger question, but God has an answer for that too.
Christian friend, if you have a question, don’t smother it in pious phraseology. We often hear people say, “Oh, I’m trusting the Lord,” when they are not trusting Him; they are questioning Him every step of the way. There is no sin in questioning the Lord. Just go to Him and tell Him that you don’t understand. This is what Habakkuk did.
I. HABAKKUK’S COMPLAINTS. (Habakkuk 2:1-5)
Note: The Prophet Habakkuk determines to wait until the Lord answers his second complaint (Habakkuk 2:1 compared to Habakkuk 1:13-17). And answer the Lord does! (Habakkuk 2:2-3) God shows Habakkuk that He does not tolerate the treacherous. Their success is superficial, for the wicked are never satisfied (Habakkuk 2:4-5). Even as the wicked appear to triumph, the Lord is in fact at work judging them!
Habakkuk needed a right perspective on what God was doing in His world. Although it is good to pray about these things, it is also good to “be still and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10). In Habakkuk 2 the Lord emphasized two truths about Himself.
A. The Lord is just.
(Habakkuk 2:1-3) 1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
In Habakkuk chapter two, the five “woes” made it clear that the Lord knew the sins of His people and would deal with them in due time. Habakkuk 2:6-19 tells us that the Lord hates pride, greed, selfishness, murder, drunkenness, lust, and idolatry.
B. The Lord is faithful.
(Habakkuk 2:4-5) 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. 5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
Three key verses (Habakkuk 2:4, 14, & 20) reveal the Lord is faithful. (1) You can trust God because His character never changes and His Word never fails (verse 4). (2) It may not seem that way now, but one day God’s glory will be revealed in all the earth (verse 14). (3) Meanwhile, the Lord is on His throne and has everything under control (verse 20).
So, instead of looking around and asking the Lord a lot of questions, look up and lay hold of God’s assurances. The answers to all of the world’s problems come from the Lord.
Note: “Do not rejoice in earthly reality, rejoice in Christ, rejoice in His word, rejoice in His law….There will be peace and tranquility in the Christian heart; but only as long as our faith is watchful; if, however, our faith sleeps, we are in danger.” -- St. Augustine
We Need Mercy, Not Justice
Tell me I'm in a wretched condition callous to spiritual truth, uncaring about anyone about me, unteachable in spirit and I'll likely get mad at you. Tell it to me in a way that makes the hardest heart grin, and I'm likely to reflect on what you say.
For example, suppose as you are teaching you say, "Sometimes we find it hard to admit where we are spiritually needy and how great our need is, how far we have walked from the Lord and how much we need His mercy. A woman who had her picture taken was totally disgusted with how it looked. Storming mad, she walked into the photographer's office, slammed the picture down on his desk and said, "That picture doesn't do me justice." He responded, "Madam, with a face like yours, you don't need justice, you need mercy."
Now, wait a minute, before you laugh, have you ever thought about how much we, too, need mercy? If God gave us what we deserve, we wouldn't stand a chance. We deserve His justice, but we receive His mercy. This kind of humor I'm not easily going to forget. It makes me laugh, but the Holy Spirit may use it to make me listen. – Author unknown
II. FUTURE CELEBRATION. (Habakkuk 3:16-19)
A. Circumstances will change, but God will remain unchanged.
(Habakkuk 3:16-18) 16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. 17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
1. Notice what’s coming.
Habakkuk prophesied prior to the coming of Nebuchadnezzar to carry away the Southern kingdom of Judah into captivity. Not a very positive thing to have to declare, but that was the nature of God's prophets. They were called to deliver "…Thus saith the Lord!"
2. Notice what happened.
(1) The fig tree would not blossom, (2) no fruit on the vines, (3) olive trees do not produce, (4) fields yield no harvests, and (5) cattle and sheep are lost.
3. Notice that circumstances change.
The circumstances were about to take a major shift in direction for God's people. This wouldn't be the first time that circumstances would change for them. But notice, Habakkuk is not ready to give up on God. He isn't ready to quit! Why? Because even when our circumstances change, GOD NEVER CHANGES!
(Malachi 3:6) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Note: Has your circumstances changed? Be thankful that God doesn't! Even in the midst of a changing world, our Lord remains constant! “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).
B. Suffering may come, but God has provided a solution. (Habakkuk 3:18)
(Habakkuk 3:18) 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
1. We are never far from problems and suffering in this life.
Everything about life is fragile and so uncertain. Some of us have things going on within our bodies and we are totally unaware. Jobs are no longer secure. Our families can fall apart so quickly. Does that discourage us today? Be thankful, God has the solution!
2. The Lord has provided His solution for all people!
I do not say this to minimize our suffering and difficulties. I say that to challenge you to keep all things within proper perspective. God's salvation (our solution) provides for our eternal life – today, tomorrow, and forever!
(John 5:24) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
(1 John 5:11-13) “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
a. Our solution starts when we trust Christ for our salvation.
That is wonderful, but we need to realize that salvation is more than just for the hereafter. salvation is also for the here and now!
(John 10:10b) "…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
b. Our solution comes when we trust God’s promises in His Word.
There is great comfort and encouragement in knowing that God has provided salvation for now and all eternity! We have His promise of help today and of a home in heaven tomorrow!
(John 14:2) “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
(1 Peter 1:3-4) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, “
C. We will face many trials, but we can triumph through Christ. (Habakkuk 3:19)
(Habakkuk 3:19) 19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
1. The Lord’s people were facing an extremely difficult trial.
They had seen how that the Assyrians had come against the Northern ten tribes and carried them away in captivity. Now it was going to happen to them, but Habakkuk tells them to rejoice! Why? Because "…the Lord God is my strength…"
To have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ does NOT mean that we will not face difficult trials. But it means we will not have to face them alone!
2. The Lord will empower and encourage His people.
The Lord will strengthen us and enable us to get through the trials that come. He will keep us sure-footed when the difficulties arise. He will lift us up, and make us to walk on higher ground…above the circumstances! Listen to the promises of God.
(Psalm 27:1) “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
(Isaiah 40:31) “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
(Philippians 4:13) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Note: And just in case we are tempted to think that our situation, our trial, our circumstance is too great for the Lord to handle. Jeremiah reminds us: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
He Will Provide
Pastor Roy S. Nicholson told of a time when he had no money to buy food. Determined to trust God for his needs and not tell anyone, he and his wife presented their case to the Lord in prayer.
The next morning he set the table for breakfast, confident that the Lord would provide something to eat. Just then a boy from their Sunday school came to the house with a sack of flour and some milk. Tears welled up in the pastor’s eyes. No sooner had he left than “Granny” Turner appeared at the door carrying a large serving tray loaded with Virginia ham, eggs, grits and gravy, hot biscuits, butter, jelly, and coffee. Nicholson was filled with praise to God.
Abraham faced an even more serious test of faith. God had told him he would become the father of a great nation, but then God asked him to sacrifice his promised son Isaac on the altar. How could Abraham do such a thing? Many years of trusting God for his long-awaited son had taught him that his confidence in God would be fully rewarded. “God will provide for Himself the lamb,” he told Isaac.
Faith like that is not born in a day. It’s the result of years of seeing God’s faithfulness to His promises, and it grows as we daily choose to believe what He says.
Lord, forgive us for not trusting You more. When we face times of testing, may we follow Abraham’s example and believe You will provide exactly what we need.
-- By Dennis J. De Haan, Our Daily Bread, January 4, 1994
CONCLUSION: Be patient!
Do you know Jesus Christ today? Are you living for Christ today? Are you thankful, regardless of the circumstances? Be THANKFUL!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “When God saves us, our sins are forgiven forever.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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