When God is Silent (Hab 1:1-4)
Tension: What does Habakkuk complain God is silent about?
Resolution: that though God could help, he does not, though God makes him see evil, he does nothing, though his Word should change the hearts of unbelievers, it does not.
Exegetical Idea: Habakkuk complains that God is silent in that though God could help, he does not, though God makes him see evil, he does nothing, though his Word should change hearts, it does not.
Theological Idea: Godly complaint is assured of God’s love in Christ and so questions why faith is not yet sight honestly.
Big Idea: When we are certain of Christ’s love for us, we are free to ask God honestly why he seems silent.
The world handles suffering in one of two ways:
Ignore that it exists - numb itself.
Get blown away by it.
Habakkuk has a freedom to ask God honest questions
God does not answer (2)
How long will I cry for help and you do not hear?
Will I cry violence and you will not save
God makes Habakkuk see evil (3)
Iniquity - power
Make me see it, make me look at it (progression of thought)
Destruction and violence before me
Strife and contention arising
God’s law seems to do nothing (4)
The law goes numb
Justice does not go out - Inversion of God’s redemptive promises (Ps 17:2)
Wicked cutting off the righteous
Justice is bent out of shape
Cycle of evil
Habakkuk shows this unusual freedom to ask honest questions about God’s absence and silence. Most of us cannot imagine this. Why does Habakkuk have such a freedom?
Illustration: Will God ask me to go through this again? (Nancy Guthrie’s story)
Habakkuk only has this freedom to ask honest questions because he is certain of God’s love for him.
Habakkuk - name means embrace
God has the capacity to save
If God makes Habakkuk see evil, he can solve it
God can cut off the wicked
Hab 1:12, 2:5
When we lose sight of God’s love fo us, we stop asking tough questions, because we think that God will smite us. But Habakkuk is utterly certain of God’s love for him and so feels free to bring his questions to God honestly.
When we ask God those questions we are actually reminding ourselves of his love for us. Saying it out loud reminds us that God does love us.
Habakkuk can ask honest questions about God’s absence, because he is certain of God’s love for him. Most of us cannot imagine asking the questions that Habakkuk can ask, because we cannot imagine being loved by God like Habakkuk can.
But we have far greater reasons to know that God loves us:
1 John 4:8-10
1 Timothy 1:14-16
Big Idea Reveal: When we are certain of Christ’s love for us, we are free to ask honest questions about his silence.
Believing God loves you will help you not to be trite about yours or others’ suffering.
Believing God loves you will lift you up and keep you from getting destroyed by suffering.
Believing that God loves you will give you the strength to ask honest questions about God. It will give you the strength to ask God to show himself, to ask God to show him to you, to seek him.