"The God I Have Heard Of"
Is your love for God based more upon what He has done for you or for who He is? I am thankful for all that God has done in and for me; my salvation tops that list. In this lesson, let's consider both what God does and who God is.
The God I Have Heard Of
A. I love my dad. I knew growing up that I could manipulate my dad. My dad hated conflict and depending upon what I wanted I knew how to get dad to do just what I wanted him to do. But I will tell you right now, I feared my mom. My mom was not even five feet tall, but she was a powerful woman. She was not afraid to discipline us kids. There was no, “Wait until your dad gets home,” she would discipline us.
B. Yet is was also my mom, not my dad, who was the first to cry when lift was going wrong for any of us kids. She would know how to love us just the way we needed it. I both feared mom and wanted mom to be around me. Nothing against my dad, and he was a good dad, but mom and I had a different relationship.
C. My mom was the oldest of her siblings and I loved to hear the stories from them about what mom was like growing up. With all that I heard about my mom, with all that knew about my mom personally, I was thankful for my mom. She was a blessing and a fierce protector.
D. Habakkuk has spent time talking with God, arguing about what is right, and coming to understand that God is in control and not him. Habakkuk both fears and loves God. He knows all that God is capable of and yet knows God is filled with mercy upon those He loves.
I. Fear and Awe
A. And so Habakkuk gives us a prayerful song that begins with our text. Here is a fairly literal translation of the Hebrew into English, “Jehovah, I have heard Thy tidings, am alarmed. Jehovah, Thy work, in the midst of the years call it to life, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.”
B. When you meditate on this passage, you begin to sense Habakkuk is both happy and fearful of all that God is going to do to both Judah and the Chaldeans. He sees God at much higher level than I saw my mom growing up.
C. Habakkuk wants God to take action soon, but is fearful of what that means so he wants God to be merciful to Judah. There are two aspects to Habakkuk’s prayerful song. The first is he has heard and knows about what God can do. But the second is that Habakkuk has come to realize that God is God and just being in His presence can be alarming. I want to touch on those to thoughts this morning.
II. God’s Gift of Mercy
A. The last words of verse 2 are, “in wrath remember mercy.” I am always thankful for what God has done and is doing in my life. I love the grace He gives, I love the fact that through Jesus I can be saved. I love that God gives himself to me through the work the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, discipline and produce in me God’s fruit.
B. The prophet knows of God’s power and greatness. History tells him how God has shown his power in the past. The prophet recalls much of that history in the verses that form this prayer.
C. One of the things Habakkuk desires is for God to do what needs to be done, and do it quickly, and do it with mercy. The gift of salvation only comes to those who need a savior. Judah needed God’s discipline (wrath), but Habakkuk wanted God to also remember mercy.
D. I am thankful for grace. I am thankful that God’s hand, as harsh as it can be, is often shown to me in mercy. I am thankful God doesn’t give me what I deserve, but I am also thankful God doesn’t leave me where I deserve. God’s balance of wrath and mercy is divine and I am thankful that I judged by God and not by man alone.
III. Who God Is
A. Habakkuk knows not only of what God does and can do, but the prophet knows God and that causes him to have fear. In verse 2 the word is translated in English as, “fear, awe, alarmed.” The Message writes this thought by saying, “God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about you, and I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees.”
C. I am reminded of Job, after hearing God speak to him and challenge his perceived self-righteousness when compared only to other people. Job speaks (Job 42:1-6).
D. In a day and age where Christians talk about a personal relationship with Jesus and how Jesus is their best friend, one area that is overlook is just knowing God and being in awe.
E. God created this earth and for millennia we have seen the beauty of God’s creation. Nature shows off God’s handiwork. The stars at night help us to realize the scope of creation by seeing a galaxy laid out before us. The snowcapped mountains, even the storms of the sea and the storms of the wind all help us to see the power of God. Habakkuk came to trust in who God was and no longer was going to argue; instead he came to accept that God always knows what is best and always does what is right.
F. The challenge for many American Christians today is to be stopped in their tracks and brought to our knees because the awesomeness and power of God.
A. A week after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples in a lock room. There Thomas, who was not their the previous week, listened as Jesus said to him, “Reach out your finger and see my hands, reach out your hand and place in my side.” Then Jesus concluded, “Do not be disbelieving but believing.” There was only one answer Thomas had, “My Lord and my God.” At that moment Thomas saw Jesus for who he was, not just what he could do, and it humbled him.
B. Today, let the power of the blood of Jesus do for you what he has promised, and know Jesus as God.