Yet I Will Rejoice

We need to remember God's faithfulness in the past to live by faith today.

George Wright
Jun 30, 2019    37m
In this sermon Pastor George Wright concludes the series Habakkuk, and he teaches us to remember God's faithfulness to us in the past, because it will help us live in faith during the struggles in our lives today. Next he talks about the fact the third chapter of Habakkuk is actually written in the form of a song, noting that the importance of worship is that it lifts our eyes and our heart to God above all other things. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:00 I want to ask you to go ahead and grab your Bible, and we're going to step back into the Book of Habakkuk this morning. I realize if you're new to Bible study this morning, you may think what in the world is a Habakkuk? Well Habakkuk is a book in the Old Testament, a book in the Bible, a minor prophet. It's minor, not because it's unimportant, but it's minor because it's short in length. Three short chapters that we see given to us by God through the prophet Habakkuk, that remind us of God's sovereignty, of God's control over all things, of God's plan and purpose even when we don't see it.

George Wright: 00:42 And if you're new to Shandon today, if you haven't been with us throughout this study, or if you're joining us online, perhaps for the first time this morning, we have seen God at work through Habakkuk over these last couple of weeks in incredible ways. We see a prophet at the beginning of this book who is crying out to God in these gut-level honest prayers with big questions for God, really at a crisis of faith in his life. Evil is all around him, it appears like God is sitting idly by, it appears like God does not even care about what Habakkuk and his people are walking through. And Habakkuk is saying, God, where are you in all of this?

George Wright: 01:31 That may be you today. Perhaps you're here walking through a very difficult season. Maybe you've, you've come in to church for the first time in a while or, or maybe the first time ever, and you're wondering, is this stuff about God really true? Can it really be real for me in a personal way? Because what I've experienced seems like God is detached or absent. That's where we found Habakkuk at the beginning of this book. God, where are you? What are you doing? And then God lays out for Habakkuk his plan and says, Habakkuk, I'm doing a work in your day that is greater than what you can understand. I have not left you, I have not abandoned you. I am at work, it's just not in ways that you might want or expect right now.

George Wright: 02:21 And Habakkuk begins to argue with God. God, I'm grateful that you have a plan, but I don't like that plan. Why don't you pay attention to my plan? Have you ever been there? God, I believe that you're in control, and I believe that you're sovereign, and I recognize in this high level that you're over all things. But right now in my situation, I'd rather just do what I want to do, and I'd rather you just follow me. That's where we found Habakkuk. The Lord is patient and gracious with Habakkuk, and the Lord leads him in his faith to say, look, I want you to understand my faithfulness for you. The righteous will live by faith. Habakkuk, will you trust me? That's a question that we all have to wrestle with. Will we trust God in faith, even when things are not going the way we want them to go?

George Wright: 03:15 And so as we come to the conclusion of this book today, three short chapters, we're in chapter three today. We see this prophet who had a crisis of faith, this prophet who argued with God in what appeared to be a hopeless situation, who now comes to declaring his faith in a very bold and courageous way? And the question we're going to try to wrestle with today is, how does a crisis of faith become the foundation for a bold and courageous faith? How does a struggle in the midst of a difficult season, become to fuel that empowers a life of faith even in the midst of turmoil? That's what we're wrestling with this morning.

George Wright: 04:02 Habakkuk chapter 3, I'm going to read verses 17 through 19 to get us going in this text. I'd like to invite you, if you're willing and able to stand with me out of reverence for the reading of God's word. We stand all around the room when we gather, so that we can be reminded as a people of God in the name of Jesus, we are underneath the authority of God's Holy scripture,and we are standing on the foundation of what God says is right and good and true. So this is the word of the Lord through the prophet Habakkuk. It says, "Though, the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruits be on the vines. The produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food. The flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls. Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. For God, the Lord, is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer, he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster with stringed instruments. The word of the Lord through the prophet Habakkuk.

George Wright: 05:25 Would you pray with me that God would use this in our lives today? Father, we believe that when you speak through your word, your word is alive and does not return void. So I pray, Lord God, that your living and active word would meet each and every one of us here today in the power of your spirit, that you would speak into our lives, that we might hear what we need to hear, and see what we need to see, and be moved into what we need to be moved into. Give us the faith to believe. We commit this time to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing.

George Wright: 06:22 So the question on the table today from Habakkuk chapter 3 is how can a crisis of faith, lead us to a bold and courageous faith? How can the struggle of life become the very foundation for faith to grow? Well, as we seek to answer these questions, I want to lay out the big idea of Habakkuk chapter 3. This is what we see throughout this chapter, I'm going to put this up on the screen. Habakkuk 3 shows us this, one of the greatest indicators of God's future faithfulness is God's past faithfulness, because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don't miss this, this is the big idea, we need to see this. One of the greatest indicators of God's future faithfulness is God's past faithfulness, because our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What Habakkuk is showing us here today, is that we need to remember the faithfulness of God in the past, so that we can live by faith in the present. :ook back so that you can look ahead. This is all about remembering what God has done, so that you and I can be empowered to live by faith, trusting in God and what he is doing, and what he will do for his glory and for our good in his purpose and in his plan. Remember the past work of God, so that you can step out on faith today.

George Wright: 08:21 And when Habakkuk does here in chapter 3 in this and this prayer, this song of of worship, so to speak. Is he takes us through this case study in the faithfulness of God toward his people. We're not going to read every verse of Habakkuk three today. I would encourage you to do so later today, or later this week, it's incredible what you will see. But I want to hit some of the highlights here. Habakkuk is pointing out the faithfulness of God towards his people in the past. Verse 3 of chapter 3 Habakkuk shows that God demonstrates his faithfulness, and his power, and his divine provision for his people as they wander in the desert on their journey to the promised land. Habakkuk saying, "I remember, I've heard about your faithfulness as your people wandered on their journey to the promised land." Verse 4, God demonstrates his faithfulness, and demonstrates his greatness, as he gives Moses a glimpse of his glory. Veiling his power so that Moses would not be struck dead, but could glimpse the glory of God on the mountaintop. "I remember your faithfulness." Verses 5 and 6 Habakkuk says, that God's faithfulness was on display as he sent the plagues to Egypt, and led the people out of slavery as Pharaoh let God's people go. Do you remember that in Old Testament? The old story, right, the Exodus. God's faithfulness, Habakkuk says, was on display in such a clear way as he led the people out of bondage.

George Wright: 10:09 Habakkuk chapter 3 verse 8, God's faithfulness, God's power, is displayed as God parted the Jordan river and then split the red sea right down the middle some of the people could walk across on dry land. And the power of God, and the faithfulness of God, could be demonstrated over all things, even the things of nature and the earth.
George Wright: 10:35 Habakkuk chapter 3 verses 9 and 10, we see the faithfulness of God displayed at Jericho, as God called Joshua to lead his people to march around the walls of Jericho. And then with the shout of their voice, and the blowing of their trumpets, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. In verse 11, God's faithfulness is revealed as Joshua then leads the people to fight against the Amorites in this amazing picture of the power of God. God tells Joshua, you will defeat the Amorites, ultimately, if you win this battle before the sun goes down. And Joshua realizes in the midst of the fight that the sun is starting to set, the day it's about to come to an end, and the battle is not over. And so Joshua cries out the God and says, God make the sun stand still so that we can do the work that you have called us to do. And God in his faithfulness, God in his power causes the sun to stand still, so that the battle can be completed, so that the task can be finished, so that his faithfulness can be displayed.

George Wright: 11:56 You see all of this, all of this for Habakkuk, is a reminder of the faithfulness of God. In the midst of his questions, in the midst of what is facing him right now in the present, in the midst of what he's walking through that is painful and difficult and dark, in the midst of what appears to be a hopeless situation. Habakkuk is remembering the faithfulness of God, remembering what God has done in the past, so that he can be reminded that God is faithful right now, because our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Some of you today need to hear this, God's faithfulness in the past, is our sure footing to live by faith today. Because one of the greatest indicators of God's present faithfulness, is God's past faithfulness. Our circumstances will change, but our God never will. Habakkuk has come to this place where he can say, faithful you are, and faithful you will ever be. Great is thy faithfulness, my Lord and my God.

George Wright: 13:24 I know right now some of you are in a place where you want to believe this, and it's just really difficult to believe. Some of you are walking through situations that have really become unimaginable, they've been so difficult. Some of you are navigating things with your kids right now, that are just so incredibly painful. You don't even want people to know because it's just overwhelming, and you're embarrassed, you're ashamed. You don't know what to do. Your kids are not responding the way you want them to. Some of you are walking through a difficulty in a relationship right now. This is never where you thought you would find yourself. You had no idea that you would ever be in a place that would be this painful. Some of you are just navigating the difficulty of a health diagnosis that is so overwhelming, and you've been told some things by some experts that you never thought you would hear, and you're wondering if there's any hope at all. I realize every time we gather, there are stories of struggle represented all around the room, there are stories of difficulty that are just hard to comprehend. And you want to believe that God is faithful, but right now it just doesn't feel that way. And you're wondering, God, where are you in all of this. And then the danger for us, in those seasons of struggle, in those moments of difficulty, in those times of great pain, the danger for us is that we become so focused and so locked in on what is happening right now in front of us, that we can't see the forest through the trees. And we forget all that God is done, and we start to question whether he is even faithful at all.

George Wright: 15:24 Habakkuk here, is reminding us that God's faithfulness in the past, is intended to give us the faith that we need in the present. We look back, so that we can live today by faith. Please hear me, there's also a danger in looking back, because at times we can look back and become so consumed with the faithfulness of God in the past, that we lose sight of the fact that God is calling us to live by faith in his faithfulness today. The call is to look back so that we can look ahead, not to look back so that we can wish things we're now the way that they used to be. No, what we see here is that we are to remember that God is in control, God is sovereign. So that we can be reminded, God is at work today. God has done great things in the past, that should fuel our faith for today as we rest in the promises for the future.

George Wright: 16:36 Habakkuk chapter 1 verse 5 we looked at this a couple of weeks ago, God says to Habakkuk, "I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." And it's a new work, Habakkuk, I'm doing something new. I'm doing something that you've never seen before, and my past faithfulness shows you that I will be faithful today as I do this new work. I'm not just the God of your past, I'm the God of your present, I'm the God of your future, and I am doing a work today that is greater than you can comprehend. I'm calling you to live by faith now, today, not to be stuck in the works of the past. Let my past faithfulness empower you to live by faith today.

George Wright: 17:28 This is a theme that shows up all throughout the scripture. In fact, all throughout the New Testament, we see this theme all throughout the New Testament. We're told to look back, remember the works of God, remember what God did for his people, remember what God has done. The apostle Paul uses this theme all throughout his letters, look back to see what God has done so that you can be empowered to live by faith today. Look back at the good news of what has already been accomplished so that you can live by faith today, Paul is continually pointing to the church and saying, look at the good news of the gospel, look at the finished work of Christ, look at what God has done for you that invites you into new life and fuels you to live by faith today. Look through the lens of the gospel over and over again, that's the theme for the apostle Paul.

George Wright: 18:25 I'm going to show this to you in Philippians, the Book of Philippians. Just keep your finger in Habakkuk, and turnover to the book of Philippians in the New Testament. We're going to see a few examples of this. God has done a tremendous work, don't lose sight of that tremendous work, let that tremendous work fuel your faith as you follow him. Philippians 1:6, the scripture says, "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." This is incredibly good news, God always finishes what he starts. If you are in Christ, you are a new creation. God has begun a new work in your life, and he is continuing to work in your life for your growth, for your sanctification, that you would be conformed and molded to be more like Christ, he who began a good work in you. Look back at that work that began, look back at what God has started in your life, and trust as you live by faith today that God always finishes what he starts. He is doing something great in you. Look back to live by faith today.

George Wright: 19:55 Jump down to Philippians 2, Philippians two beginning in verse 8, the apostle Paul is given this beautiful narrative of the gospel and what Christ has done for us. And he says, beginning in verse 8, "Being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Look back and see what God has done. Paul is saying, look back and see the faithfulness of God through the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. And then verse 9, "Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father." We look back to see what God has done, so that we can see what God is now doing, and we can rest assured in the promises of what he will do. Look at God's faithfulness, see God's present faithfulness, and recognize the promise of his future faithfulness. That's what the scripture is showing us over and over again.

George Wright: 21:15 Philippians chapter 3, look at verses 12 through 14. Philippians 3 beginning in verse 12, this is so good, so helpful, what the apostle Paul writes, "Not that I have already obtained this, or I'm already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." I live by faith because of his faithfulness towards me, Paul is saying. And then he says this, "Brothers, I do not consider that I've made it my own, but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." This is so good, God's past faithfulness propels me forward in faith in his faithfulness now. As long as I am alive, I know that God is not finished with me yet. As long as there is breath in my lungs, I recognize that God is doing a work in me, and his past faithfulness shows me this. I'm not stuck where I was, I'm moving into what he wants me to be. I'm not captive by my past, I am captivated by my future. I'm not resting in my past, I'm reaching for my present calling in faith today. I look back, so that I can live by faith in what God is calling me to do as I press on in this call of Christ Jesus.

George Wright: 23:04 Philippians chapter 4, one more, verses 8 and 9, before we go back to Habakkuk. Philippians chapter 4 verses 8 and 9, Paul says, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think on these things. Remember, and what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things and the God of peace will be with you." I love this, don't miss this. Paul is saying, think about what you are thinking about. All right? Think about what you're thinking about. Think about what God has done, and recognize through what God has done, he is calling you into something new. So live out his faithfulness for you, practice these things, live in light of the gospel, live in light of the finished work of Christ, live in light of what God has already done. Let his past faithfulness empower you to live by faithfulness today. We look back to look ahead. We look back to remember that we would live by faith today.

George Wright: 24:41 As we go back to Habakkuk chapter 3 verse 19, we see that this is the song of Habakkuk's heart. This
incredible outpouring and expression of worship from a man who was in a crisis of faith, wrestling with God, arguing with God, struggling with God. He's now pouring out his heart in worship, declaring the faithfulness of God. Look at verse 19 again, "God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. All of Habakkuk 3 is written as a song. And Habakkuk is saying, I sing in worship to remember what God has done, so that I can be empowered to live by faith today and the mission that God has called me to.

George Wright: 25:49 Habakkuk is showing us what worship is to be all about. Worship is not a performance, we know that. Worship is not something for our entertainment, we know that. What is worship all about? Worship is a gift from God that is intended to bring us back to the faithfulness of God so that we can remember who he is, and remember who we are, and be fueled to live the mission that God has called us to today. That's what worship is all about. It's intended to lift our eyes off of our current uncertainty and our difficult circumstances, to put them on the certainty of who God is in our unchanging faithful God and what he has done for us. I love this quote about worship from Pastor John Piper, he writes, "The inner essence of worship is to know God truly, and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by valuing God, treasuring God, prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things. And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips, and demonstrable acts of love and serving others for the sake of Christ." Live in light of what God has done, his past faithfulness is an indicator of his present and future faithfulness. Lift your eyes, and see the faithfulness of God. Look up out of the weeds, and see the faithfulness of God. Look at what God has done, so that you can live by faith today.

George Wright: 27:50 Lift your voice and worship, Habakkuk is showing us, so that you will be empowered to step out on faith into the work that God is doing today. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. How many times have you been in a tough situation, and all of a sudden a song of worship comes to your mind, changes everything that you think about. How many times have you been walking through a difficult season, and a song comes on your phone, or your iPod, or your radio, or whatever you may use, and you are encouraged, your soul is lifted, as you're reminded of the faithfulness of God. He who began a good work in you. God finishes what he starts. Look back to look ahead, and to live by faith today.

George Wright: 28:50 I want to just close simply by reading one more time from Habakkuk chapter 1, that real foundational
statement that God gives to Habakkuk, and that God speaks to his followers. I believe this is so important, and I believe this is so relevant for us today. Habakkuk chapter 1 verse 5, what does God say? "Look among the nations, and see." Do you want to see my faithfulness on display? Don't just look at Shandon. Don't just look in your community. You'll just look in the state of South Carolina. Don't just look around America. Look around the world. Look at God's global mission. See what God is doing all around the world. This is why we are so passionate about the nations. Look among the nations and see, wonder and be astounded. Don't you want to live in the wonder of God at work? Don't you want to live astonished at what God is doing? Don't you want to live in such a way that it's not just going through the motions, the humdrum of life? Don't you want to see the power of God? "Look among the nations and see." And God says, "For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Shandon, I believe this is a promise of God for us today. Look and see God at work, God is doing more in our midst than we can even imagine or comprehend. God is at work for his glory, God is at work ultimately for our good. The question is, will we lift our eyes above ourselves? Will we look and see what God is doing? Will we trust through his past faithfulness? And oh how faithful he has been to us at Shandon. Will we trust through his past faithfulness, that he is fueling us to live by faith today? There is a new work that God is inviting us to be a part of for his glory, and for our good, will we believe it? Will we fix our eyes on Jesus above all else, and will we follow him in faith wherever he wants us to go? God is faithful, and he wants to reminds you of his past faithfulness, so that you can be empowered to live by faith today.

George Wright: 31:47 As we close our time this morning, I recognize that you may be here relatively new to church, or maybe you're coming back to church for the first time in a while. Maybe all of this is just foreign language to you, and you're not sure where you stand with it all. Here's what we want you to know. If you're here wondering about your relationship with God, or are wondering if God even wants a relationship with you. We believe with all of our hearts, the reason you are here today is because God is pursuing you with his love and his grace. You're not here because someone just invited you, you're not just here randomly, you're not just here because you might have experienced something at Best Week Ever. No, we believe you are here because God is pursuing you with his love and grace, and he wants you to have a personal story of his faithfulness, and the way that happens is for you to trust your life to Jesus Christ. If you want a story of God's faithfulness for your life, it begins when you trust your life to Jesus Christ. We know some of you here today, potentially, have never done that, and know that you need a relationship with God through what Christ has done for you. I want to have a word of prayer, and we want to give you that opportunity to trust and the faithfulness of our God, in the finished work of the cross of Christ, that invites us into new life, a new work for God's glory and our [inaudible].

George Wright: 33:26 Would you pray with me? Father God, we are so thankful for the faithfulness that you have demonstrated to us over and over and over again. God, the faithfulness that you have demonstrated to your church here at Shandon is absolutely amazing. The history of what you have done to demonstrate your work and your faithfulness over and over again is such a gift. I pray, Lord God, that we would not lose sight of it. And I pray that as we remember your faithfulness, that we would recognize that your past faithfulness is intended to be the fuel for our faith today. That we would trust you, that we would live by faith knowing that our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I pray that we as a church would say, yes, we will live by faith. Look at all that God has done, and look at this incredible promise that God is doing something now in our day that is more than we could possibly imagine. For your glory, God, and for our good, I pray that you would give us the faith to follow you wherever you lea. And Lord, there is some among us now who are beginning to hear of your faithfulness, perhaps have heard of your faithfulness for a long time now. But they've never experienced your faithfulness in a personal way, because they've kept you at an arm's length, they've kept their distance. Perhaps they're here today and they felt unworthy, and they've never really felt like the church was for them, and yet for some reason they're here. Lord, we believe that you're pursuing them with your love and your grace. I pray that today they would see the incredible gift of your love through Jesus Christ, and recognize what you have done for them to give them a story of your faithfulness. I pray for those who recognize their need for the savior, and realize today is the day that they need to trust and follow Jesus. Oh Lord, even in the quietness of their heart right now. I pray that you would give them the faith to say, Jesus, I'm ready to follow you, I am ready to walk in your faithfulness. I'm ready to receive the incredible work that you have done through the cross, and the power of your resurrection. I need my sin to be forgiven, and I'm trusting that you will forgive my sin. I'm trusting that in the power of your grace and mercy towards me, you're inviting me into a new life, a new story, a story that is your faithfulness. And so I thank you and I trust you. Oh Lord, how grateful we are for the incredible work that you have done, even this week, Best Week Ever. What an amazing display of your faithfulness to your people. I pray, Lord, as we look back on your faithfulness, we would remember that you are empowering us to live by faith. Because in Christ there is no question, the best truly is yet to come. So use us for your glory. This is our prayer, we love you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206