• Tony Birkhead

Week 2- Faith Requires



Hanging On Requires Faith in What You’re Hanging On To!

INTRODUCTION

How do we really hang on when nothing seems to make sense? I am sure we have all seen the cute quotes and pictures of cats hanging onto the end of a branch with the caption of “just hang on”. But what if you’re not sure you can trust the branch? What is required if we’re really going to hang on?

KEY SCRIPTURE

Habakkuk 1:2-11

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. 5 “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. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. 8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; 9 they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. 10 They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. 11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

In your past experience, how has waiting on God’s timing affected your attitudes toward God and the circumstances?

How would you describe Habakkuk’s mood in this passage? What seems to be his driving passion here?

Describe a time when you’ve had similar feelings. In those moments, did you have this kind of frank and raw conversation with God? Why or why not?

How would you respond if you asked God to answer your prayer and He did, but not the way you wanted Him to?

When people suffer because of violence and injustice, how do you feel? God used the ungodly Babylonians to punish Israel. How does God speak to Christians through the actions of pagans nowadays?

MOVING FORWARD

  • When have you been perplexed about why God allowed something to happen?

  • What happens to your faith when God doesn’t answer the way you want?

  • Name a few ways to encourage each other when things don’t make sense?

PRAY TOGETHER

Now take the next few minutes to have an honest personal conversation with God about your struggles, remember...God has broad shoulders and a loving spirit. He is interested in what you have to say! (Pray silently for a few minutes, then pray together as a group)

COMMENTARY

Habakkuk 1:1-11

1:1 Oracle is a prophetic proclamation, literally a “lifting up [of voice].” “Burden” (KJV) is another meaning of massa’, though it does not fit the present context well.

1:2-4 Habakkuk lamented to God (how long?) about overt violence... injustice, and oppression during Jehoiakim’s reign. King Josiah (640-609 b.c.) promoted God’s law (2Ki 23:24), but his son and successor Jehoiakim (609-598 b.c.) based his reign on injustice (Jer 22:13) so that God’s law (Hb torah) ceased to be honored.

1:5-6 God responded that He would punish the sins of Judah through an invasion by the Chaldeans (the Babylonians).

1:7 The so-called justice of these invaders was human (from themselves) rather than divine.

1:8 Comparisons with predatory animals ( leopards... wolves, and an eagle) illustrate the speed, brutality, and efficiency of the Babylonian military machine.

1:9 Violence (Hb chamas) is the punishment Judah will receive for its own violence (vv. 2-3).

1:10-11 The mighty Babylonian army scoffed at all opposition. The phrase “their strength is their god” suggests they worshiped their own military power (v. 16), though the verse possibly means that they attributed their strength to their national god Marduk.

1:1 Oracle is a prophetic proclamation, literally a “lifting up [of voice].” “Burden” (KJV) is another meaning of massa’, though it does not fit the present context well.

#HangingOn #Habakkuk #Faith

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