Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
4 July 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Special Celebration (31 July 2021): In the light of uncertainty over the Delta variant, the Elders and Deacons have agreed that we should postpone this.
‘The rescheduled church weekend away has been confirmed for 3rd – 5th June 2022. If you didn’t sign up back in 2019/20 but would like to go please contact Andrea for an information letter and sign up form.’
“Flowers have unique beauties and different fragrances and put all together make a lovely bouquet fit for a King’s table. We His children are like flowers spreading His fragrance around us!”
Reading: Habakkuk 2
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!Habakkuk 2:14
From the moment of the Fall, God has been working to save people from evil, from suffering, from sin, guilt and condemnation. He raised up Moses and Joshua to lead Israel to the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, which foreshadowed the hope of us all, of the restoration to paradise:
“Abraham had been promised a land not because he had none, but because this gift of God communicated the hope of restoration to paradise … Like a paradise restored, its possession symbolized the consummation of God’s redemptive purposes.”
Owen Palmer Robertson
God raised up His prophets to instruct His people during their exile when they had lost the land. As we read through this short book of the prophecy of Habakkuk we see something of Habakkuk’s closeness to the Lord and his maturing faith such that he moves from complaining to the Lord to rejoicing in the Lord for all the Lord has revealed to him.
(1) How long Lord?
Many will identify with Habakkuk’s cry: “how long Lord must I call for help but You do not listen”. How gracious, loving, patient and kind is our Father in heaven as He allows Habakkuk to vent his frustrations with the increase in wickedness, the violence, injustice, wrongdoing, and destructive ways of those who have no regard or respect for others or the laws of the land. Such mention of “violence” brings to mind the situation in the world prior to the Flood:
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.Gen. 6:11-13
One of my ongoing prayers since 1983 is that Noah’s Ark would be discovered on Mount Ararat and that it would be a sign to the world that God does judge people and bring them to account for their wicked ways in the hope that they might repent and get right with Him! Sin was rampant amongst God’s chosen people in Habakkuk’s day but God was working behind the scenes, so to speak, “raising up the Babylonians” (Hab 1:6) to come against them and “execute judgment” (Hab 1:12). This is not just teaching in the Old Testament, how about this from the New Testament:
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed.2 Thess. 1:6-10
(2) Habakkuk’s maturing faith
It is an indication of Habakkuk’s maturing faith that he moves from complaining to God to “one of the finest affirmations of faith”.
Elmer A. Martens
His focus is now very much on God and not on all the problems that surround him. He determines to fully trust and rejoice in the Lord whatever the circumstances:
Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the sheepfold and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.Hab 3:17-19
The Lord can say this to each and every mortal human being:
Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.Hab 1:5
(3) The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
The Lord reveals one great truth after another to Habakkuk. Truly out of the ashes of his first complaints he rises to see that ultimately the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Out of all the mess of the Fall, God is truly doing a beautiful thing which Isaiah expands on:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion will feed together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His resting-place will be glorious.Isaiah 11:6-10
“Knowledge refers to a true understanding and relation to God and His will”
The Lord has surely determined this (cf. Isaiah 14:26-27), though it linger, wait for it, it will certainly come and will not delay (Hab. 2:3).
Let us all determine in our hearts before the Lord and before each other that we will commit ourselves fully to contribute toward the fulfilment of the prophecy that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”, Amen!
Questions for Discussion
- Do you regularly focus on “The Big Picture” as described in our text?
- Just one tiny nation, Israel, now, many nations where the gospel is flourishing? Discuss!
- Share a testimony based on “Out of the ashes into the glory!”
- How will God bring this about?
Quote of the week
What is this world coming to? The Christian answer is “to the kingdom of God” .
Roger E. Olson
Verse of the week
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.2 Cor. 5:10
“Heavenly Father, we praise and worship You, for You alone can say that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Your Glory as the waters cover the sea. Lord, once You have purposed something, no-one can change it, no-one can turn Your hand back. Father God, we worship You for You are our Father and You are the Sovereign Lord, in Jesus Christ, Amen!”