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Habakuk 1-Final

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Introduction

A. James Johnson case

I can't help but be drawn to the trail of James Johnson, a 21 young black man, held for 3 years, charged with the 2004 rape and murder of 17-year-old Brittany Willis, a white Hunt High School graduate whose body was found at a construction site.

Even though there was a confession by Kenneth Meeks, in which he claims to be the sole person responsible for Willis' death and the confession was completely independent and voluntary plus DNA clears him; Johnson was still being charged. Thank God, on 09-24-07 he was released pending a special prosecutor's intervention. It is amazing how only after the NAACP got involve that he was released.........

B. Justice for the Jena 6

In another case which has captured my attention involves the lives of six young black men being ruined by Jim Crow justice in Jena, Louisiana. Even though the district attorney prosecuting the case in this small Louisiana town Jena abruptly reduced attempted-murder charges against one of the black high school student accused of attacking a white student, continues to keep Mychal Bell locked up. Its obvious that the charges were excessive and part of a pattern of uneven justice in the town. Mychal Bell, 16, a former Jena High School football star, and five other black students had been facing the potential of up to 100 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy and other charges for the December beating of the white student, who was knocked unconscious but not hospitalized.

Mychal Bell was released on mere $40,000 bail on 9-27-07 only after a national uproar.

C. Michael Byron Nifong

Though the victim were white in Michael Byron Nifong case, goes to prove how much damage a dishonest prosecutor can cause. The 17-page complaint accuses him of breaking four rules of professional conduct when speaking to reporters about the high-profile case. One of the rules Nifong was charged with breaking forbids "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The bar said that when DNA testing failed to find any evidence that any lacrosse player raped the accuser, Nifong told a reporter the players might have used a condom.

D. Many societal evils

But, there are other issues of the day that disturb me that are not tied necessarily to the judicial system:

1. Same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions and domestic partnerships

"Each individual's journey through life is unique. Some will make this journey alone, others in loving relationships - maybe in marriage or other forms of commitment. We need to ponder our own choices and try to understand the choices of others. Love has many shapes and colors and is not finite. It can not be measured or defined in terms of sexual orientation."

2. Katrina_ August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, destroying lives, leveling homes and leaving thousands of survivors with the same story: We lost everything. One year later, many still coped with Katrina's devastation. Some had moved forward, but for others recovery was at a standstill.

3. Greenspan, Kissinger: Oil Drives U.S. in Iraq, Iran Alan Greenspan had acknowledged what is blindingly obvious to those who live in the reality-based world: the Iraq War was largely about oil.

There are many more disturbing problems in our society that I could talk about, but these are just a few that occur over and over again and you may think as so many others do that "God is silent when it comes to stopping them or doing anything about them". This is the same complaint that the prophet Habakkuk had over 2600 years ago, when he complained that God was silent.

I must tell you that the message of the Book of Habakkuk really comes alive in light of the events just mentioned. I can think of no book of the Bible more directly applicable to this time. God's Word had an answer for Habakkuk and it has an answer for us today. Let me take you to a passage of scripture that I believe addresses the issue of the apparent silence of God when everything around us is getting worse and worse. Turn to the book of Habakkuk, chapter 1 for an answer to the title of our message "Is God really silent today?". Habakkuk is around Jonah, Micah, Nahum and before Zephaniah. The first chapter of the Book of Habakkuk is dominated by the protests of the prophet. He is greatly distressed by the sins of his nation, and even more distressed that God seems to be doing nothing about it. Habakkuk accuses God of failing to do His job, as the prophet perceives it.

Sermon

Is God Really Silent?

v.1

So he begins in verse 1, with the oracle or (burden) which Habakkuk the prophet did see. And it begins with, a cry unto the LORD. Now.... Habakkuk had a very beautiful and close relationship with GOD. The word Habakkuk means 'Embracer'. And Habakkuk embraced the LORD and was embraced by the LORD.

So it begins with a prayer unto the Lord:

v.2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. (KJV Habakkuk 1:1-4)

So the complaint is against GOD,.....because of the deteriorating conditions of the country, the land. It is a time in the history of the Nation when idolatry has grown and immorality is widespread. There are great injustices. And seems as though the tide of evil is not being stemmed by GOD. '...LORD how long will I cry unto YOU about these things that are taking place and YOU don't answer, YOU don't hear, YOU don't respond...... GOD there is such horrible deterioration in the land. There is such moral corruption. There is such an overwhelming tide of evil ......and the whole Nation is just going down so rapidly. .....And GOD YOU don't seem to be doing anything about it. We pray, we cry unto YOU, but it seems like evil is prevailing....and that the evil persons are prevailing. And as a result '...righteous judgment no longer precede or come out perverted.'

In chapter one Habakkuk is complaining of the great spiritual declension or deterioration in the land of Judah, Southern Israel. And of course Habakkuk is prophesying of Babylon's coming invasion and being used as a rod of God to punish God's people.

The affect of the moral declension of the nation is reflected in the judicial system...so that the law is slack...and justice does not go forth. There is a direct relationship between the moral deterioration in society and the ineffectiveness or breakdown in the judicial system. So that the law is slacked, and judgment does not go forth.

I am deeply concern about our judicial system. I'm thinking of the recent blanket commutation of the sentences of ALL of the death row inmates by Illinois outgoing Governor George Ryan. His decision affects 167 death row inmates; even those who have admitted to committing the crime - triple, double and a seven-persons murderer- including his wife and son...... Something's wrong with the judicial system...that it is so cumbersome...that he would commute the sentence of someone who has confessed to their crime.....that is the mark of a declining moral state, a weakness of a nation.

When a body gets so sick that it can no longer purge itself of its' poisons ... that body will soon die. And when we become so weak within our judicial system that we cannot purge ourselves of the poisons within the society, ...you can be sure that that society hasn't long to live.

'....it seems like evil is prevailing over the righteous ...' It would seem that the humanistic liberal concepts are being embraced by the majority of the people. That those that would dare to stand up for morality and righteousness and pure living are considered as archaic, Victorian and all of the others names that they call us.

I recently hear of a case where a lady was carjacked at gunpoint. She gave up the car and reported the incident to the police. It was located days later on the streets of Philadelphia...wrecked. The police notified her that they had located her car and was towing it into their pound. When she went to pick up her car they had a bill for her of over a hundred dollars for towing and storage. Something's wrong with a system like that. She victimized twice. The victim is treated as the criminal while the criminal is treated as the victim. Something's wrong.

...And so the prophet Habakkuk sees all of these things. He cries out unto the LORD, but it seems like the GOD isn't doing anything about, it seems like things are just getting worse, there's no change. It seems like the Nation is just sliding down more rapidly all the time. And so he's distraught '..he saids LORD please... I'd just as soon You'd not show me anything else...I can't take it' I've just about gotten to that place myself! .....LORD this whole corrupted system seems to be worse all the time and YOU'RE not doing anything about it. LORD I cry unto YOU...... How long shall I cry, and YOU don't seem to hear me?

And so the LORD responded to Habakkkuk,.... verse 5. And He said:

"Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because {I am} doing something in your days-- You would not believe if you were told."

Now the prophet was saying GOD please don't show me anything else because the whole thing is deteriorating so rapidly and You're doing nothing about it. And God in essence responded, ' I am doing something'. I am working. I'm doing a work in your day and if it were told to you, you wouldn't believe it! The prophet more or less said 'try me...and the LORD went on!'

"For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. 1:7 "They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves. 1:8 "Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping {down} to devour. 1:9 "All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces {moves} forward. They collect captives like sand. 1:10 "They mock at kings And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress And heap up rubble to capture it. 1:11 "Then they will sweep through {like} the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god." "

So ...the LORD said .. (my paraphase)I am working and what I'm doing is I'm gathering the Babylonian Nation, the Chaldeans. And they're going to come with their swift army and they're going to move through the breath of this land, and conquer it and destroy the houses of this people....And so He predicts the impending invasion and victory of Babylon over Judah. But, then He said...when they have conquered, then they're going to make a mistake and they're to attribute the fact that they're have been able to conquer Judah to their god being superior to the GOD of Israel.

Now... when GOD revealed His plan to Habakkuk to use the evil nation of Babylon....as an instrument to bring defeat to God's people, to destroy their land....it was true Habakkuk couldn't believe it. As GOD said, I am working, but if it were told to you, you would not believe it.

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The Lord explained to Habakkuk that the Babylonians would punish Israel for her

sins. God not only used the circumstances of history to reveal Himself, He also used the

harsh circumstances of the exile to draw His people closer to Him. So we can see that God does use evil people as a rod of judgment to chastise His people. Is it possible that 911 was God chastening of America as Farrwell said? Jerry Falwell's comments 45 minutes into Thursday morning's 700 Club broadcast regarding the terrorist attack: "The ACLU has got to take a lot of blame for this ... I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way-all of them who have tried to secularize America-I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" Falwell's rationale is that the secularization of America has provoked God "to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."

I. The silence of God is one of the most difficult things that the believer has to contend with.

II. The God of Love Permit Evil

III. God Will Punish Sin

a. God Will Not Let Sin Go Unpunished

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