Feeling a little anxious right now?
The Second College Edition 0f Webster’s New World Dictionary defines anxiety as a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen; concern about a possible future event.
In the war-torn Middle East, we have heard the reports of bombings, which have needlessly taken the lives of innocent people. Those who are left cry out “the heavens have left us” and such is the feeling of many today.
Strangled by the strength of anxiety and forced into dark caverns of depression. The result of seemingly overbearing problems. The offices of counselors are jammed with people seeking relief.
Several years ago a poll of ministers numbering over 24, 000, said that stress-related illnesses ranked number one as the most common cause of medical claims.
Habakkuk was rocked by bone-chilling anxiety. He was awaiting the arrival of the feared Chaldeans, who would gather God’s people without remorse and herd them into captivity.
I know that many if not all of you believe that the Bible is God’s guide for our lives. That from it we are provided guidance into everyday life. Now, certainly, we are not facing captivity at the hands of a pagan army. Yet, there are those moments in life when we face the future as Webster’s Dictionary said in: a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen; concern about a possible future event.
Our own predicaments are not as simple as often seen. It is not a matter of just “Taking two verses and calling the Pastor in the morning".
Several years ago I had a bout with a kidney stone. I will tell you it was the most painful and humbling times I have ever had. I went to the Emergency Room and they diagnosed the problem and the Doctor prescribed a shot in order to relieve my pain quicker. I sure was glad he showed up that day to medical school and learned about how there are times when you have to inject something into a patient in order to give them relief for their pain. It was almost instantly that the pain lessened.
OK, I know you want to know what happened next. I passed the stone. Then I listened to my Doctor and changed things I was doing that contribute to a kidney stone occurring. I am glad to report that was my only one and I trust I never have one again.
Now back to Habakkuk. He gives us 3 injections that will help in treating anxiety:
1) an appointed time with God
2) the answer to the question why is who
3) the key ingredient to a life of joy is faith
An appointed time with God is stated by Habakkuk in chapter 2 verses 2-3
2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
God’s instruction to Habakkuk was that he should write the vision down. That it should be written plainly on wooden tablets and that it should be placed on a wall in the streets. God’s direction here to Habakkuk is that men would read the vision and then run to tell others. Everyone needed to hear of this vision.
How important is the written word? You would certainly answer that it is profoundly important.
Therefore, what we speak and write as Christians must be clear and urgent. The message is to be so plain and legible that a running man could read it. The message should be so emphatic that he who reads it will run. Oh, that God’s people in this church and others throughout the world would understand and practice these words. The appointed time of God for His people is always now.
At this time, Habakkuk has not received the word from God. God is preparing and instructing Habakkuk and he needed to learn that God was not just merely crushing evil. God could do that in an instant. God was making men and molding nations. This is far more delicate craftsmanship and for us as for Habakkuk, waiting is a difficult discipline. Suspense is difficult and hard to take when the heart is waiting for God to speak and lead.
We are so impatient. Let’s do it now, lets grow now, lets have this program or that program now
I am so happy to know that God is not in a hurry. He will answer and work in His own time.
Why? Because He knows what is best for us, an appointed time with God, the answer to the question why is who.
Many people today and sadly to say many are Christians who live in a land of not yet. The ultimate answer is not in relief but in a person. The Lord to Habakkuk in verse 3: For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
The writer of Hebrews repeats this same verse in Hebrews 10:36 but changes the “it” to “he”.
The writer in Hebrews tells us that the source of our strength in times of distress is Jesus. Even though we may consider the timing awkward.
Habakkuk was looking for a rational resolution to his emotional struggles. Really, it was the strengthening of his faith, which was the ultimate goal. Not exactly what he had in mind though.
The question, which Habakkuk dealt with, had its answer in Lord. The answer, which comes from God, will be sufficient and adequate.
Waiting nourishes faith and the key ingredient to a life of joy is faith.
Verse 4 Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Now the vision comes to Habakkuk and he has been bewildered about the progress of evil and now he hears from heaven.
The inscription is twofold:
1) Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
2) but the righteous shall live by his faith.
It is this 4th verse which provides the prophet with the solution to his problem. The first part of the verse relates to the Chaldeans and the latter portion to God’s people-Judah. God gives two phases of truth related to two different peoples-
The first, to the Chaldeans:
Who are wicked and aggressive
Ruthless in their aggression
The second, to the people of Judah who are related to principles of righteousness
What is the message that God wants Habakkuk to see and understand?
Where there is not, at the basis of the nation's life, the principles of righteousness; that nation must perish, no matter how powerful that nation has been, or is now. Their own evil carries with it the seed of divine judgment. Just as for the individual, the evil of sinners carries with it the seed of certain death. The victorious Chaldeans enjoyed material prosperity. Israel did not, yet they did enjoy moral security, which the Chaldeans never knew.
God stood behind Israel with prophetic promises which would come to fulfillment. God’s purpose and plan for them. Look for a moment at the truth in the second part of verse 4. Where there is that principle of righteousness at the basis of a nation’s life, that nation shall persist and live, notwithstanding change and departure from her own ideas of righteousness.
In the life of Judah, “Faith in God” was a principle of righteousness. The Chaldeans were proud, conceited, and puffed up, they would perish. Judah however would live, because righteousness was at the very basis of her national life.
Pride brings death, faith brings life.
The future belongs to the righteous and we know that we are to live by faith. Faith passionately loves God. Faith perpetually lifts up his heart to God. Faith patiently listens to God. Faith personally learns from God. Faith lives to do God’s will.
So feeling a little anxious right now? Well, stop it and trust in the Lord, because as the just you shall live by his faith.
A thought to ponder,