What to Do in Dark Days
What can we do in uncertain times when it seems every foundation of civilized society is being destroyed? Adrian Rogers often said, “There are three categories of people in the world. Those who are afraid, those who don't know enough to be afraid, and those who know their Bibles.” And the little book of Habakkuk is particularly valuable in this day!
When we think of dark days and frightening times, we often recall Bible studies in the book of the Revelation—or perhaps Daniel’s prophecy of the” 70th week” and end times.
But there was a prophet whose small, three-chapter book, Adrian Rogers once said, “is perhaps the most pertinent book in the entire Bible for the day and age in which we live,” and this study will focus on it: the book of Habakkuk.
Almost daily some expert will tell us the sky is falling; then another appears saying, “Don’t worry about it at all”—and these are supposed to be “experts”! We don’t know what’s going to happen.
As believers in Christ, we must understand that our faith is not based upon what happens. We must rise above that and fix our sight on something higher.
Why Habakkuk Is So Important Today
The questions our society is asking are the same questions confronting Habakkuk.
- In all of this trouble, where is God?
- In all of the crime, disease, hatred, perversion—has God lost control?
- Or is it that God doesn’t even care?
This causes many to stumble. They say, “I can’t understand!”
Habakkuk faced the same problems, and in his three chapters your eyes will be opened to the richness of this book. How timely it is!
Turn to Habakkuk, found in the Old Testament among the other shorter prophetic books, called the “minor prophets.”
A CLOSER LOOK AT "MINOR PROPHETS"
Habakkuk is among the group of Old Testament authors known as the “minor prophets.” They’re not called “minor” because their writing is of lesser importance. “Minor” refers only to the length of their books, as compared to Isaiah, Jeremiah or Ezekiel, for example.
First, let’s look at the overall theme of Habakkuk. Turn to chapter 2, verse 4.
“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the ________ shall live by his __________.”—KJV
Or, as the New King James has it,
“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
The sinner, high and mighty, is leaning—and about to fall.
The last part of this verse should sound very familiar to you…this theme verse is so important, it’s repeated three times in the New Testament!
You’ll find “the just shall live by faith” in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.
Let’s examine this short book part by part.
Chapter One: Perplexing Problems
Faith doesn’t live by explanations but by promises.
If we are “the just,” living by faith, we will look to God’s promises in His Word, rather than expect an “easy” life. Peace is not the subtraction of problems from life; it is the addition of power to meet those problems. That’s what Habakkuk found, and that’s what you will find today.
Habakkuk faced three problems, and so do we.
The Problem of Heaven’s Silence
Turn to chapter 1:1-2. Habakkuk looked around and said, “God, where are You? Why are You letting all of this happen?”
“The burden, which Habakkuk, the prophet, did see. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and Thou wilt not __________! Even cry out unto Thee of _______________, and Thou wilt not __________!”
Habakkuk had been praying. Would you say that many people in our nation have been praying and crying out to God for the evil we see going on today?_________
A CLOSER LOOK AT “CRY”
Actually, there are two different words used in the above passage for “cry.” The first is a cry for help, like someone sinking who cries, “Help me!” The second word means a shout, almost a scream. Habakkuk is shouting “God, where are You?” not out of irreverence, but at a time of such perplexity. Maybe you’ve felt just like that.
The Problem of Earth’s Sinfulness
Continue reading, verses 3 and 4
3 Why do You show me____________, And cause me to see ____________?
For plundering and violence are before me; There is ___________, and contention arises.
4 Therefore the law is __________________, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Who was surrounding the righteous? ____________________
Do you sometimes feel that the righteous today are surrounded? _____________
Were things getting better as a result of Habakkuk’s outcry to God? __________
Are things getting better in America? __________
Most people feel they are getting worse.
In verse 4 he describes the law as “_________________.” We have never had more lawyers, more judges, or more courtrooms in history, and yet less justice and more lawlessness than ever before. Habakkuk says, “O God! How long am I going to cry to You and You don’t hear? You don’t answer my prayer.”
Jeremiah Enters the Picture
The moral condition of Habakkuk’s day was deplorable. They’d hit the bottom.
Jeremiah the prophet was a contemporary of Habakkuk, and he weighs in with his own report about that day. Turn back to Jeremiah 5:30-31.
30 “An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
31 The prophets ________________ ______________,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people ________ to have it so.
But what will you do in the end?”
Those who were supposed to be speaking for God were telling lies, and the priestswere lording it over God’s people.
It would be bad enough if it were happening and the people rose up against it, but Jeremiah declares, “and my people ___________ to have it so.” Is it the same today? We literally have clergymen today telling us
- sex outside of marriage is both permissible and pleasurable
- sodomy is an alternative lifestyle.
and many pew-fillers are just fine with that! They look upon people who follow biblical standards as bigots. We’ve lost our moral consensus.
While you’re in Jeremiah, turn to 8:12—
“Were they _______________ when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all _______________, neither could they blush.”
We’ve come to the place where people don’t even blush. They appear on television and talk about things that are ungodly, unseemly, unspeakable. We have a generation of “unblushables.”
Dr. Vance Havner said, “Sin that used to slink down back alleys now struts down main streets.” This is how it was in Habakkuk’s time.
The Problem of Hell’s Success
Turn back now to Habakkuk 1:5-6. Here God responds to Habakkuk’s cry for help with the news of what He is about to bring. It is not what Habakkuk had hoped for!
5 “Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I [God] will work a work in your days
Which you would not ______________, though it were told you.
6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans [the Babylonians],
A bitter and hasty nation
Which marches through the breadth of the earth,
To possess ______________ _____________ that are not theirs.”
God says, “You think it’s bad now; it’s going to get worse.” The Babylonians, a wicked, cruel nation, are coming against God’s people and will conquer the land. (This should be a sobering thought for us today.)
This had to be the worst news Habakkuk could get. He can’t understand it.
(v. 5) “which you would not believe, though it were told you.”
In your own words, what is God saying here? _______________________________
Faith does not live by explanations. If you want God to explain everything to you, forget it. He’s not going to do that. He says to Habakkuk, “What good would it do for Me to tell you what I’m going to do? You wouldn’t believe it. You couldn’t understand it.”
Why Won’t God Explain It All To Us?
This is an important question, so let’s pause to examine it.
We’re going to turn to several passages….important passages to grasp in these days.
(1) First, you couldn’t understand it if He did explain it to you.
Turn to Isaiah 55:9:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are _____ _______ higher than ________ ________, and My ________________ than your thoughts.”
Turn to Romans 11:33-34:
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How ________________________ are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For ________ hath _____________ the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His ___________________?
Even the simplest things we don’t understand. No more than you could explain thermodynamics to an ant, could God explain His marvelous, wonderful ways to us.
(2) Second, God is not going to limit Himself to what you could understand.
Turn to John 16:12. Jesus says to His disciples:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but _______ cannot ________ them now.”
We don’t live by explanations.
(3) Third, if God did explain it to us, and we did understand it, we’d try to talk Him into something different! We’d be saying, “Now Lord, I want to tell You, there’s a better way You could do it. That’s not the best way Lord.”
Just because it doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. And just because it doesn’t make sense to you now doesn’t mean that it will not make sense later on. We live by faith, not explanations.
Stunned by God’s Answer to His Question, Habakkuk Asks Another One
We are back now in Habakkuk, chapter 1. Read verses 12-17. Habakkuk recoils at what God has told him. In your own words, describe his reaction. ______________
Perhaps the hardest part for the prophet was that God was going to use a wicked nation to discipline His own people. “Lord, You are a righteous God. How can You let the Babylonians come against us? It doesn’t make sense.”
Habakkuk Thought God Graded On The Curve.
Habakkuk says, “Well, Lord, we may be bad, but we’re not as bad as those Babylonians!
We say the same thing today: “Well, we’re bad, but we’re not as bad as they are; therefore, God’s on our side.” We think God grades on the curve.
Chapter Two: A Proper Perspective
Faith does not live by appearances, but by providence.
If you get your faith from appearances, you’ll be riding a roller coaster. Habakkuk got away and looked back, and God gave him—not an explanation—but a proper perspective.
“I will ___________ upon my watch, and set me upon the ____________, and will ____________ to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” (2:1)
Habakkuk said, “I’m going to stop shouting at God, get quiet, and begin to listen.” Habakkuk had a place where he could get alone with God. That’s when his sighing turned to seeing. In spite of what he could see with his eyes, he saw now by the eyes of faith what God in providence has promised and provided.
God Has Provided…
1. The reliability of Scripture—TRUTH
“And the Lord answered me, and said, ‘____________ the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an __________________ time, but at the ________ it shall speak, and not _______; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’” (2:2-3)
God responds, “Now that you’ve quit shouting at Me, now that you’ve begun to listen, get out your pen. I want you to write a book. Write it for generations to come who will need this.”
“…that he that _____________ may run.”
Many times people run without reading. They don’t know what they’re talking about because they’ve not gotten into the Word of God. If there were ever a time when we need to hear a sure Word from God, this is the hour. And we’re not to run until we read.
2. The resource of the saint—FAITH. Look again at 2:4, the verse we started with.
“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4)
This is the only way to make it in this day. Your resource is faith.
- beyond the physical to the spiritual.
- beyond the present to the future.
- beyond the temporary to the eternal.
Faith is the only thing that will change nations today. The government can’t make us good; only Jesus can do that. Changed lives are the only hope for America, and the Gospel is the only thing that can change lives.
3. The retribution of the sinner—JUDGMENT.
Habakkuk asked, “God, how can You let these ungodly people do what they’re doing?” God says, “I know what I’m doing.” There is a judgment to come.
In your Bible, read chapter 2, verses 5-20 (the end of the chapter). How many times do you see the word “Woe”? _______
Calamity is going to come. “Don’t think for any moment, Habakkuk, that I am soft on sin,” God tells him.
In this passage he speaks against:
- material corruption (v. 6)
- moral corruption (v. 12)
- spiritual corruption (v.19)
4. The reign of the Savior (2:14). It would be good to underscore this verse in your Bible—and commit it to memory. As hard times grow increasingly worse, this verse will comfort to you!
“For the ____________ shall be filled with the __________________ of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (v. 14)
When Habakkuk cried, “Oh God, where are You?” God answered,
“But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (v. 20) “I’ll tell you where I am. I’m in My holy temple, and I’m doing exactly what I have proposed to do and what I will do. I have not lost control. There’s no panic in Heaven.”
Chapter Three: A Profound Praise
Faith doesn’t live by circumstances, but by praise.
Habakkuk begins to praise God, not because the circumstances have been removed, but in the circumstances. In a dark day he’s giving God praise!
If you can’t see God working, it doesn’t mean He’s not working.
Summarizing Chapter Three:
1. Remember God’s glory.
Habakkuk had been asking for a reason, and what he got was a revelation. We don’t need to know why; we need to know Who.
2. Rejoice in God’s goodness.
Look in verses 17-19 of this third chapter, a hymn of faith. This chapter in Habakkuk rivals the Psalms for its poetic beauty and word pictures.
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 _______I will ______________in the Lord,
I will ________ in the God of my salvation.
“If the worst happens, he says, “I'm going to sing,”
3. Rely on God’s grace.
19 The Lord God is my __________________;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
What does it take to make you happy? If your bank account is wiped out, if your goods are confiscated, what’s that going to do to you?
If your joy is rooted in anything that can be touched or tampered with, you have an unstable joy.
We may never know that God is enough until God is all we have, and when we find out that God is all we have, we’ll learn like Habakkuk, that not only is God necessary, God is enough. It may get bad, but God is on His throne. We need to learn to praise in dark days. We need to give thanks as Habakkuk did in dark days.
Chapter One—Habakkuk started out sighing.
Chapter Two—He’s seeing.
Chapter Three—He ends up singing.
Summary of Habakkuk:
Chapter One: We don’t live by explanations. We live by ____________________.
Chapter Two: We don’t live by appearances. We live by ____________________.
Chapter Three: We’re going to praise God, no matter what the circumstances, for
The just shall live by his faith. (2:4)
If you don’t have faith, you have nothing to hold on to. The situation in this world today is going to get increasingly calamitous. There’s going to be chaos and turmoil. The Bible makes it exceeding clear, “in the last days perilous times shall come.” We don’t know specifically what tomorrow will bring. But I want you to know Jesus Christ. Not know about Him. I want you to know Him. I want you to be able to say,
“No matter what happens, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”
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