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Majoring On The Minors - Habakkuk Part 2

"Answer, Yes! But That One? No!"

by David Legge | Copyright © 1999 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

Habakkuk 1:5-11

Verses 1-4 record Habakkuk's confusion concerning why God had not answered his cry to intervene in Judah's degrading sinful chaos. God's silence added to the prophet's travail and frustration.

  1. God's Strange And Surprising Answer: The Chaldeans (verses 5-6)
    Having had his first question concerning God's silence now answered leads Habakkuk to the next question. How could God punish His covenant people by using the barbaric, uncircumcised Babylonians? God answers Habakkuk, but not the way he expected!
  2. God's Savage And Sordid Instrument: Their Characteristics (verses 7-11)
    The brutality and viciousness of God's chosen vessel, the Babylonians, is outlined in these verses. It is not surprising that this pronouncement caused such wonder and paralysing fear within Judah. Habakkuk did not know the answer to many questions, but at least he found out one very important international spiritual law: Nations will be judged by God for their iniquity.

'Preach The Word'

It seemed that the ground was parched, it seemed that the heavens were brass, it seemed that his prayers didn't go past the ceiling, and there was nothing, not a word from God

Now let me welcome you, this evening, to our Bible Study here in the Iron Hall Assembly. I'm very glad to see such a good number out to study the word of God together. We're thinking on the subject of 'Majoring on the Minors', we're thinking of the book of Habakkuk - we have been through verses 1 to 4, thus far, and we're beginning tonight at verse 5, to continue on to verse 11 in the first chapter.

Habakkuk chapter 1, beginning to read at verse 5 - or we'll read at verse 1 to get the context again: "The burden" - oh, better read from the right book - "The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? For spoiling and violence are before me: and there are they that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it were told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god. Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations? 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". We know that the Lord will bless His own word.

Babylonian Map 600BCYou'll remember two weeks ago, we thought of verses 1 to 4 of the book of Habakkuk. And we saw within those verses, first of all, the man. He was a man with burden, he was God's burden-bound man, he was actually linked to God in such a way that God trusted him, God imputed to him, a burden that he could hardly bear. What was the burden? The burden was the sin of the people of his nation. And you remember, we traced the history of Judah, and how they had seen so many ungodly kings - and then, all of a sudden, one godly king came along, Josiah, and it was as if there was a revival of the religion of God, and everything was great - and then he was wiped out. There was hopelessness, there was despair, it was tragic. And then his son came along, and he seemed to reverse everything that his father had done, and he brought all the high places and the idols back into Jerusalem, and the place was cursed of God again for their sinfulness - and rivers of blood flowed through Jerusalem once more.

Habakkuk, like you or I, looked to God. And he said: 'Lord what are You doing? Injustice, sinfulness, evil, idolatry - Your people - and it seems that You're doing absolutely nothing about it!'. And as Habakkuk cried to God, as he prayed to God, as he pleaded with God, as he wrestled with God - it seemed that the ground was parched, it seemed that the heavens were brass, it seemed that his prayers didn't go past the ceiling, and there was nothing, not a word from God - but absolute silence. You remember that he was totally perplexed, he didn't know what to do. He wanted an answer from God and he wasn't getting an answer. But we saw, the final point of our last study was verse 5, that God did answer him, and He said: 'Behold ye among the nations, look among the heathen, regard wondrously and marvel: for I will work' - or I am working - 'a work in your days, which ye will not believe, even if it were told you'.

Verses 1 to 4 outlined the prophet's first question, his first question: 'Lord, why? Why won't You answer our prayers and bring justice to our nation?'. Verses 5 to 11 give us God's first reply, God's first answer to His prophet Habakkuk. God was silent; to Habakkuk, God seemed to be inactive, He seemed to be unconcerned, there was violence abounding in society, there was absolute lawlessness that was rife, there were blatant evils that were everywhere, in God's temple, in government, in society - and the prophets of God seemed to be ignored within the church of God of that day, within Israel. God was doing nothing, as far as Habakkuk was concerned, God was doing nothing. Does our world seem like that today? Does it? Now be honest with yourself, as you look at the world, and as you're a Christian, and you have faith in God, and you know that God's word is true, and you pray to God in faith, but as you look at the world at large - and especially the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland - you look around, and you think: 'Is God asleep? Is God silent? Does God not realize what is happening within our nation, within our churches, within the people of God? Does God not know what is going on? Why does God not stretch out His arm, why does God not do something?'

In New York, at this very moment, children are wearing bullet-proof jackets to school. That's New York. A church in New York, last year, spent $100,000 on church security. It says in statistics, that the violence coming from women, from the female of our species, has increased today more than it has ever done. Teenagers now, one in every five teenagers, in the United States takes a weapon to school. Knives and razorblades are preferred by 55%, clubs by 24%, guns by 21%. We only have to look at our newspapers or the television to see guns in the playground, to see bombs within the sanctuary of God, to see awful sins that we couldn't imagine - we look at our own nation here in our province and we see remission given to murderers who are unrepentant and remorseless. We see so much injustice, so much rampant evil, it seems that evil has been let loose and we as the people of God, perhaps, could be saying upon our knees: 'Lord, what are You doing? Lord, what is going on? Why don't You come and why don't You judge, or why don't You save? Why don't You move, why don't You shake this place for God, for the Gospel, and Christ?'.

I heard a story recently, of one boy who got onto a bus, and he walked straight past the bus driver, and the bus driver stopped him, of course, and said: 'What about your fare?'. And the boy turned to him - and I think this sums up our society today - he turned to him and he says: 'I'm crime and crime doesn't pay'. Does that not sum it up? There is a word within the Yiddish language - and the Yiddish language is simply a concoction of a language between Hebrew and German that they spoke in Europe, it was a slang in the slums - but there's a word within that language called 'shutzpah' (sp?). One linguist has described it, there's no English equivalent to this word, it's an attitude of incredible gall and presumption. A linguist describes it like this: 'The classic example of shutzpah is a young man who murders his parents and then asks the court to show him mercy because he's an orphan'. Is that not the world we're living in? Extreme presumptuousness, extreme gall and pride, that they think they can get away with anything, our governments, our society, our young people, our children now! And we could look to God, and we could ask: 'Lord, why? What are You doing? Are You silent nationally, morally, spiritually, personally within our lives? Why won't You do something?'

It doesn't matter whether we are ignorant to it, it doesn't matter whether we know it or not, but He is there and He always, but always, answers somehow - but He may not answer the way we think

Maybe it's more personal than that. Maybe it's in your life, maybe it's in your illness, and you're asking: 'Lord, why won't You do something? Lord, if You even comforted me - maybe I don't want to be healed, but just if I knew that You were there - if I could hear something from You', but God seems silent to you, no matter how much you pray, no matter how much you get on your knees before God and cry, He seems to be deaf, He seems to be dumb. Is that the way we feel? That may be the way we feel, but can I say - categorically - that we do not rely on our feelings. You see we rely on the word of God, and the word of God says this, that: 'God is not asleep', in fact the Psalmist says in Psalm 121, 'He that keepeth thee shall neither slumber nor sleep'. Praise God! God is engaged in our affairs. It doesn't matter whether we are ignorant to it, it doesn't matter whether we know it or not, but He is there and He always, but always, answers somehow - but He may not answer the way we think.

I've entitled our study this evening: 'Answer, yes! But that one? No!'. Because Habakkuk was crying to God for an answer, but he had certain qualifications on his answer. Not many, but there was one: that the answer that he got wasn't the one [that he wanted]. Oh, answer me any way Lord, every way possible, but just not this one! Have you ever been there? I'll do anything, I'll go through anything, I'll deal with anything, I'll say anything, I will give up anything, but just not this one - anything - but not this one!

Habakkuk couldn't believe what God was saying. 'Lord answer me!', and we see in verse 5 that God said, 'Look I'm going to answer you! And you're going to look, behold look around you, wonder marvellously, for I am doing a work' - he didn't know He was doing it, but God was doing it - 'in your day, and it's such a great work', He says in verse 5, 'that you'll not even believe it'.

What was His answer? The first thing I want you to notice is this: God's strange and surprising answer - the Chaldeans. In verse 5 and 6, look at it, 'Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it were told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs'. God answers, and God's answer, perhaps as Habakkuk heard it, brought hope, 'God's going to do something, God's going to answer my prayers, He's going to come, He's going to revive the people of Judah, He's going to bring them back to Himself'. That was true, He was going to bring them back to Himself, but not by the road that Habakkuk thought. He says 'I'm going to do a work and I am setting it into inauguration now, and it's not revival, but it's a work of judgement. I'm going to come as the Father of My people, as the Shepherd of My sheep, and I am going to spank them, I'm going to chasten them, I'm going to whip My sheep into place'. He says, 'Look, behold, look', He says, 'Watch', verse 5, 'Be utterly astounded', and that command to look is a plural command, which means that He wasn't just simply telling Habakkuk to look, but He was telling the whole nation of Judah, 'Look around you'.

Oh, answer me any way Lord, every way possible, but just not this one! Have you ever been there? I'll do anything, I'll go through anything, I'll deal with anything, I'll say anything, I will give up anything, but just not this one - anything - but not this one!

God is full of surprises for His people. You mightn't know that, but if you walk any length on the Christian path you'll know it sooner or later. God is full of surprises for His children. And boy, was this a surprise for Habakkuk, it wasn't what he was expecting, it was a surprise for the whole people of Judah, and he gets his eyes opened to God's plan, God's world plan for Judah. Look what He says, 'Behold ye among the heathen' - or among the nations, among the despisers, the treacherous ones, among the world. Habakkuk is crying for his own nation Judah, God says don't look at yourself for just one moment, don't look at you, but look at the world around you, behold it, perceive it, regard it - and that word 'regard' simply means 'weigh it up well'. Look around you Habakkuk, look at what I am doing in My world, among the nations, look at the big picture, look at the world view. Prophet and people take note, understand, that I am God and there is none beside Me, I am sovereign, I am omnipotent, and I rule in the kingdoms of men. He's got the whole wide world in His hands - in simple childlike terms - and that's all it is - that's what God was saying to Habakkuk. Look around you in the world, weigh it up well, I am not indifferent to sin, I am not inactive, I am not unjust, no! But look Habakkuk, if I have intervened in the affairs of other kingdoms and of other men's lives, will I not do it in My own people, Judah?

Do we have tunnel vision? As the people of God do we have tunnel vision? Do we look at our own situations, in our own lives, or perhaps in our own communities, in our own province and we forget that there is a world - that is God's - around us, and perhaps God's not moving in the way that we long Him to here, and we keep on praying, and we ought to - but God is moving in His world! God is at work at this very moment, saving men and women, boys and girls, across the face of this planet. God's planet is active, God's planet is having fresh breaths and winds of the Spirit of God in China, in South America, in Vietnam, in Korea, all over God's world, God is in control. Are you a Christian with a world view? Are you a Christian that just looks to yourself, or can you look around? But God is saying to Habakkuk, 'Look I am the God who raises up nations, I am the God who casts them down, and although My justice, the wheels of My justice are slow as they move, they keep on grinding - and one day they will catch up with all nations'. Let me say this: we look at the United Kingdom, and you watch the news today, and do you know what they're debating today? Whether homosexuals - or sodomites - in the army, should have married quarters. That's the nation we live in, and you look at that and I look at that, and God doesn't come down, and as you look on your television screen you don't see a hand coming out of the sky and crack the man away. You don't see fire and brimstone come, you don't see the ground open and disappear, and you think 'Why is God not intervening, why doesn't God do something?'. Do you know what God says? 'I am doing something, My machine of justice is slow, but it is moving and there will come a time when the iniquity of the nations is rife in such a way, and the cup is filled up, that I will move, I will judge' - and He will judge the United Kingdom.

If you were to turn with me to Amos chapter 3, Amos chapter 3 and verse 6, there's a verse here that states very clearly, that when law breaks down and when there is an injustice in the government, and in the legal system of a nation, there is absolute disaster and chaos breaks out. But it tells us more than that, because it actually tells us that when disaster breaks out within a nation, God has done it. Amos 3 verse 6: 'Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?'. F.F. Bruce translates it like this, 'Does disaster befall a city? The Lord has done it'. If lawlessness breaks down, do you think God will come in and save the people? Do you not think God will permit it, and let it happen? And God as He does that is acting with a world view in sight, He knows what His sovereign plan is. He is acting, He is taking kings away, He is rising governments - and Tony Blair, and all the nations of the world, and politicians, whether they believe it or not is irrelevant - God has them where they are. Not only has He them where they are, but He can take them away in a stroke.

One thing that's wrong with television is this: it portrays a lifestyle independent of God. Independent, there's no thought of God, no mention of God, only in blasphemy, or in sacrilegious terms, or as a joke

That's God's planet, God says to Habakkuk, 'You're to look at God's planet', and then He says, 'You're to look at God's power'. Look at verse 5, 'Be amazed', it's twice there, 'Be amazed, be amazed', it means 'Be dumbfounded'! What do you think Habakkuk was saying? His first question was, 'God why aren't You answering?'. God answers and He says, 'I'm going to raise up the Chaldeans', verse 6. Habakkuk's second question is this, 'How can God raise up this evil people to judge His own people? How could God do it? How could God? His own children, His own spiritual people, how can He raise up a nation that is a thousand times more wicked than us?'. Is this not the story of history? Nation after nation, have been warned. Do you remember Noah before the flood, when he preached for years and years, and he never saw one convert - not one convert. No one believed him, they laughed him to scorn, and [it was only when] the rain came down and the floods went up, that they realized that God was true to His word and it would come to pass. What about Lot? Well he had faith that's true, a certain amount of it. But he was sitting there in the seat of Sodom, and it wasn't until the fire and brimstone was coming from heaven that he realized, that what God says is absolutely true. The ten tribes of Israel, what about them? It wasn't until the Assyrians came and invaded them that they realized that God's word must come to pass, 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word will stand forever'!

People don't believe God today, they never did. The United Kingdom doesn't believe God, and there's maybe some people here tonight and they don't believe God - well let me tell you: God's word is true. God's word will come to pass, and when the Lord Jesus Christ says, 'Repent, or ye shall likewise perish', He meant it, and it will come to pass, and for some damned souls at this moment in time it has come to pass! There are even some that believe that we are the lost tribe of Israel - Ulster - 'God's chosen people' - a lot of nonsense! That God couldn't judge Ulster? That God couldn't come, that God couldn't judge us for our sinfulness, for our iniquity, for our wandering from God? That He couldn't do it, if He did it to His own people, the Jews that He had chosen, can He not do it to this nation? Sure in Acts chapter 13, if you turn to it, and verse 41, Paul quotes this verse. He doesn't quote it as a literal fulfilment of Habakkuk's prophecy, but he quotes it as an analogy. To the Jews he is saying, 'I'm going to do a work in your day', in other words, 'If you reject Christ, I'm going to raise up another people - the Gentiles - and you'll not believe that God could have them as His own people'.

The prophecy that Habakkuk received was fulfilled, the Babylonians came into Jerusalem and they destroyed the temple. It was a foreshadow of the Roman destruction in 70AD, after the Lord died and then went to glory. It was a foreshadow of that event, and God's word came to pass, and what God was saying is in verse 6: 'I have a plan, not only do I have a planet, not only do I have power, but I have a plan, and My plan is this: I will raise up the Chaldeans'. Now do you know who these people were? If you look at the Old Testament, they were a Semitic people, their history was: Abraham's brother, Nahor, that you find in Genesis 22 and verse 23, he began that nation. They settled in an area known as Babylon, you can see it - the dark green just there. You can see it on your map what it grew to. They settled in that part of the world, the capital was Babylon, it was the city of Babel that we read about in the early chapters of Genesis. And from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, it is an actual place, but it also is a symbol, it is a symbol of human society trying to live independently of God.

Are we not there folks? What is wrong with television? I'm not saying that you [shouldn't] have a television, but one thing that's wrong with television is this: it portrays a lifestyle independent of God. Independent, there's no thought of God, no mention of God, only in blasphemy, or in sacrilegious terms, or as a joke - it is life, it is Babylonian, without God! 

You might be a Christian, and you think that we need to have an answer for everything - but we are not God, and if we had an answer for everything we would set ourselves up as God - and we would be in the running

Babylon twice became a great power in the ancient world. Significantly 2000BC was the first time - 2000BC. Strange that 2000AD may be the time when it raises its head again. Life without God - life now in 1999. The first empire, in 2000BC, was in our Southern Iraq at this moment in time. And many events that took place in the book of Genesis, the first book of Bible, especially connected with the patriarch Abraham and his family, were around the whole area of Babylon. What was God doing? An evil people, a sinful people, a rotten people, a people that had been cursed from the very start of time, what was God playing at? How could God do such a thing? Do you know what God was saying - and I want us to hear it. He was saying three things. First: 'I am God'. Without putting it too bluntly this evening, 'I am God and I can do what I like. I have no obligations to humanity or to a spiritual world'. God was saying, as He said to Job, in chapters 38 to 42 of the book of Job - you will not find a reason in the book of Job for his suffering, no reason given. The book of Romans chapters 9 to 11, you read there that God let His people Israel go, and in chapter 11, if you look at it very quickly, chapter 11, chapter 11 of the book of Romans, you read these words, where God has said that He's letting go of His people Israel, He'll come back to them in a day that's still to come. But He gives the reasons for it, and His reason is simply this: I am God. Verse 33, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?' - who has given God advice? - 'Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen'. He says first of all, 'I am God'. Secondly, He says, 'My ways aren't yours'. You'll find it in Isaiah 55, turn with me, Isaiah 55 and verses 8 to 9. Verses 8 and 9, listen this is the word of God: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts'. I am God, and I have no obligation, My ways are not your ways, and thirdly He says this in verse 5 of Habakkuk: 'Even if I told you, and explained My thinking and My thoughts, you wouldn't even believe it. I am God, My ways are not your ways, and if you knew what I was going to do you wouldn't believe it'.

The holocaust - 1933 to 1945 - 6 million Jews, wiped off the face of the earth, it's been fifty years since it, fifty-five, and there is no satisfactory answer as to why it happened. What I mean is: there is no answer that satisfies the awesome suffering that there was. And the reason why is simply this: that we have not the mind of God, and there are things in your life, things that may enter my life, there are things in this world, and when we face them there is not an A, B, C categoric, easy, calculated answer that we can give. You might be a Christian, and you think that we need to have an answer for everything - but we are not God, and if we had an answer for everything we would set ourselves up as God - and we would be in the running.

But the reality is this: that the life of this planet and this universe dwells within God, and it's like a large picture show, we only see frame by frame. We don't see the whole picture. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, 'The secret things belong unto our God', and God - this is the message that Habakkuk received in his first answer - God is sovereign, and God is in control. I think we've lost that today, as we thought yesterday morning, we thought of the first beatitude, we thought about how this can be: that we have a selfish society, that everyone looks to self - but as the church of Jesus Christ today, we need to look to God, because God is in control, God is sovereign, God is powerful!

We need to look to God, because God is in control, God is sovereign, God is powerful!

Now we're running swiftly out of time, and we're still to get on to the second point - look at it: God's savage and sordid instrument. In verses 7 to 11 we have detailed, very specifically, their characteristics, look at verse 7 '...they are terrible and dreadful...', in other words, these Babylonians were savage characters. They became devoid of mercy, devoid of compassion. One writer describes their cruelties, that they were especially revolting, and when they would have conquered a city, they would have made up pyramids of heads - decapitated heads - to mark their path through it. Boys and girls would be burnt alive, would be sacrificed, and some that were less fortunate would be kept for other worse fates. Men were impaled, they were flayed alive, they were blinded, they were perhaps deprived of their hands, their feet, their ears, their noses - while women and children were sent into slavery. They captured a city, they plundered it, they pillaged it, then they burnt it down, and then they made the ashes - and the trees around, and the forest, they chopped down. How deeply seated their thirst for blood really was. There's one king of Babylon that it's described that he conquered one of the Elamite kings, and he and his queen - man and wife - as they sat and ate their meal, sat with his head dangling over them. That is the evil nation, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians. Look at their description, it says in verse 7: 'Their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves', in other words, they were a law unto themselves. They recognized no authority, no power, but themselves - like Nebuchadnezzer, they recognized no god but me.

That's our world today, is it? Is it not? You are your own god, you are your own boss, look at verse 8. God says - the swiftness of these Chaldeans is described in animalistic terms, as if it had already happened - you'd think it had happened here! He says that they're swifter than leopards or panthers. A panther is an animal that is so swift, that its feet hardly touch the ground, that's how quickly it came upon the people of God. He goes on and says in verse 8, that they were more fierce than evening wolves. Evening wolves are wolves that couldn't get anything to eat all day, so they're out at night, bloodthirsty, hungry, ready for the attack. In verse 8 it says again, they'd come from afar, and they shall fly like the eagle. What is an eagle? An eagle is simply a big vulture, looking for the dead prey, and when the moment comes that it circles over them - and as the Chaldeans circled over the little nation of Judah, they were ready for the pounce - is it any wonder they were terrified? It was even worse, perhaps, than Europe as it faced the captivity of the Nazis. Can you imagine what it would have been like, to have been in France, or to be in Belgium, or Holland? Can you imagine what it would have been [like] if it had happened that down Templemore Avenue the tanks of the Nazi regime would have come, and the goosestep would have marched? What that would have felt like? Can you imagine what it felt like for the people of God to stand, and look, and see this? Look at verse 9, God says that their forces resemble the east wind, indicating their ferocity in their attacks. It says - and that literally means, where it mentions violence - that they come simply for violence. Bloodthirsty, cold-blooded men. Look at verse 10, 'They shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it', in other words, they have absolute scorn for all authority but their own. They captured the princes, the kings of the small nations around, they used them like pawns in their massive chess game to take over their part of the world. They were the bulldozer of an empire, that nothing would stop, and nothing did stop.

May we heed God's voice in those words this evening and trust Him for all that is to come, for Christ's sake

Look at verse 11, 'Then shall his mind change', or that literally means 'a wind storm will pass through', 'and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god', and that literally is translated - 'who make their own strength their god'. They look to themselves as doing everything, they mark themselves, today's nation, today's human, self-sufficient, self-adulation was their cry. Was that not the cry of Nebuchadnezzer? I think he personifies, he epitomises, the whole nation of Babylon - and as you look at your map you can see how large all those little dots around that map, the dark dots, signify the size of this Babylonian kingdom. But turn with me to Daniel 4, Daniel 4 verse 30 and following through to verse 33, and this is glorious. For we have here Nebuchadnezzer, in verse 30 it says this, 'The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times', or years, 'shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will'. Isn't it interesting that in Habakkuk chapter 1 and verses 7 to 11, these people are described as animals, and God turns the chief of them all to an animal, eating grass in a field. Praise God! What a God we have!

And as you look at our nation - and I'm finishing now - but when you look at our nation, and we cry for an answer, we ask God to come, make Thine arm bare either in salvation or judgement, right the wrongs that are here, do something Lord, anything! Will it surprise us what He does? How can God's judgement be stemmed? You know, I believe that God's judgement is rife, and I believe that it's not very long [before] it'll pour like a hot cauldron right over this land. But there's an exception clause, and it's simply this as we close, 2 Chronicles 7 verse 14, 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land'.

May we heed God's voice in those words this evening and trust Him for all that is to come, for Christ's sake.

Our Father, as we are like Habakkuk, and we cry to Thee, and sometimes we tell Thee how to answer our prayers - dear God forgive us. Lord, help us to realize that Thou art God, and there is none other. Shall the clay say to the potter...? Lord, we ask for humility to realize what we are, for the grace to realize what our God is, and who He is - that He ruleth in the kingdoms, and the affairs of men. And as the prophet Ezekiel was told, 'I am doing this that they may know that I am the Lord'. Lord, we pray that we may know that Thou art the Lord - and whatever this nation needs, we realize that it needs judgement, and I'm sure that it must be nearly ripe for judgement now. But Lord we pray, oh God help us to get on our knees, help us to humble ourselves and break ourselves, contrite spirits You will receive. Lord, let the waters flow, oh God pour water upon this land that is thirsty, and come and revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee. Bless us now as we part for Christ's sake. Amen.

Don't miss Part 3 of 'Majoring On The Minors - Habakkuk': "Watching And Waiting"

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Transcribed by:
Judith Watkins,
Preach The Word.
August 2000
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the second tape in his Habakkuk series, titled "Answer, Yes! But That One? No!" - Transcribed by Judith Watkins, Preach The Word.

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