SERIES – A Conversation with God
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR JUNE 24–30, 2020
Aim: After studying the book of Habakkuk, students should know (1) how to grow from a faith of perplexity and doubt to the height of absolute trust in God; (2) they should respond in faith when they don’t understand what God is doing; (3) know how to wait for God’s answer; (4) to speak words of encouragement over ourselves and woes to our enemy!
After studying the Book of Habakkuk, students will know that God is faithful to His promises. He had a covenant relationship with Israel and He has a covenant relationship with us. He will NOT turn His back on us even though it may seem He has. He has given us wonderful promises but they do not include telling us that we will not see difficult time. He lets us know that we will have difficult times to go through BUT He will go through those difficult times WITH us!
John 16:33 (NKJV) – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 48:11 (NLT) – I will rescue you for my sake — yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols!
Isaiah 43:1-3 (NKJV) – 1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; No, God has not promised us a “rose” garden. But even then, roses do have “thorns.”
In Habakkuk 2, through his complaint, the prophet is seeking a word of good news from Yahweh. He waits and is told to make the message plain in writing so that everyone in need can understand it. The LORD has given him words to speak against the source of their suffering and reminds them to participate in worship. God lets it be known that even though He has allowed the Babylonians to come to power, still He will judge the Babylonians for their doing!
Habakkuk 2 (MSG)
1 What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint.
2 And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
3 This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
4 “Look at that man, bloated by self-importance— full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive.
- Words of Wisdom
God delivered five messages in this second chapter of Habakkuk
- Everyone who reads this will find the strength to move forward into life with hope. No one need to be paralyzed or in despair by what is to come (v. 2)
- It may seem to you that I talk a good game but do nothing. But no! My story is always unfolding. Wait on My timetable, the plot will become visible (v. 3)
- Foolish people, those who live in wickedness, manage their lives in the light of what they can see and what they can understand with their dull minds. Wise people walk through life according to a plan that by faith they believe is sovereignly good.
Their life in Me, with Me, and for Me begins and continues by faith (v. 4).
- I use evil people to further My purpose when I choose to. I owe you no explanation! But be assured I use everything – good and bad, including the devil himself, to advance My story! I will, without fail, hold evil persons and nations accountable for their ugly pride and heinous deeds.
- I call you Habakkuk, and all My genuine followers, to be still and know that I am God. Habakkuk, be silent! You have no part in writing or directing the plot of My story. I do, however, privy you with the call, a weighty and splendid opportunity, to advance My narrative chiefly by remaining faithful to me no matter what trouble comes into your life that confuses and overwhelms you (v. 20).
II. Words of Warning
Romans 1:18 (AMPC) – For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.
Habakkuk 2:5-6a (MGS)
5 “Note well: Money deceives. The arrogant rich don’t last. They are more hungry for wealth than the grave is for cadavers. Like death, they always want more, but the ‘more’ they get is dead bodies. They are cemeteries filled with dead nations, graveyards filled with corpses.
6 Don’t give people like this a second thought. Soon the whole world will be taunting them:
Pay day may not come every Friday – but pay day is coming!
Habakkuk 2:6-8 (MGS)
6 “‘Who do you think you are— getting rich by stealing and extortion? How long do you think you can get away with this?’
7 Indeed, how long before your victims wake up, stand up and make you the victim?
8 You’ve plundered nation after nation. Now you’ll get a taste of your own medicine. All the survivors are out to plunder you, a payback for all your murders and massacres.
A. Woe to the Dishonest.
- What goes around comes around!
- Debts of extortion and theft always come due.
- Fraud within the American corporate life and corrupt governments worldwide will end in woe for the perpetrators and their descendants.
Habakkuk 2:9-11 (MGS)
9 “Who do you think you are— recklessly grabbing and looting, Living it up, acting like king of the mountain, acting above it all, above trials and troubles?
10 You’ve engineered the ruin of your own house. In ruining others you’ve ruined yourself. You’ve undermined your foundations, rotted out your own soul.
11 The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you. The woodwork will step forward with evidence.
B. Woe to the Covetous
- This is coveting for self-display and social gain.
- They never gain what their vanity craves for, their sin lies in their covetous spirit.
- Some may even covet the gifts and power of a Christian brother or sister; not that they might bring more honor to God, but that they themselves might get more honor from men!
Habakkuk 2:12-14 (MGS)
12 “Who do you think you are— building a town by murder, a city with crime?
13 Don’t you know that God-of-the-Angel-Armies makes sure nothing comes of that but ashes, Makes sure the harder you work at that kind of thing, the less you are?
14 Meanwhile the earth fills up with awareness of God’s glory as the waters cover the sea.
C. Woe to the Oppressor
- A warning to America – any person, or nation who builds up a fortune on the blood of others, and establish their stronghold by iniquity will surely be brought down. Past history attests to this fact!
- The footsteps of every industry and every individual life that is being built up by iniquity will be followed by the unerring and overwhelming woe of God.
- God has a greater plan for the earth than the violence it presently suffers.
- God stands against anyone who builds legacies by power and bloodshed.
Habakkuk 2:15-17 (MGS)
15 “Who do you think you are— inviting your neighbors to your drunken parties, Giving them too much to drink, roping them into your sexual orgies?
16 You thought you were having the time of your life. Wrong! It’s a time of disgrace. All the time you were drinking, you were drinking from the cup of God’s wrath.
17 You’ll wake up holding your throbbing head, hung over— hung over from Lebanon violence, Hung over from animal massacres, hung over from murder and mayhem, From multiple violations of place and people.
D. Woe to the Deceiver
- The fourth woe is being “exposed” to the terror of trees and animals. Those who glory in exposing (dominating and shaming) others will be exposed themselves by the nonhuman creation.
- The strength of the shocking image may cause us to miss the point of the image of nakedness in 2:16-17. The violence done to trees, animals, lands and people is the weight of the crime.
- Lebanon is naked of trees, the cities are naked of people, and the land is naked of animals.
- The image of drunken exposure shows the perversion in the Babylonian mind.
- The clear-cutting of the ancient cedar forests of Lebanon demonstrates the Babylonia abusive attitude toward all life!
- When they look for covering, they will find only the memory of the violence they have done to Lebanon. God is angry because he planted the ancient cedars and they belonged to Him.
- God’s intense love for his entire creation causes great anger when that creation is abused!
Romans 8:19-22 (NIV) – 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Habakkuk 2:18-19 (NET Bible)
18 What good is an idol? Why would a craftsman make it? What good is a metal image that gives misleading oracles? Why would its creator place his trust in it and make such mute, worthless things?
19 Woe to the one who says to wood, ‘Wake up!’ he who says to speechless stone, ‘Awake!’ Can it give reliable guidance? It is overlaid with gold and silver; it has no life’s breath inside it.
E. Woe to the Idolater
- The final woe is against trusting in lifeless, breathless, and silent idols. Worshipping anything created by God or made by another person is simply foolish, yet it is done widely in every culture.
- The wisdom of the woe is that idols are dumb!
Exodus 20:1-5 (NIV) – 1 And God spoke all these words 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God
Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV)
“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
- The final word in chapter 2 is that those who live by faith and by God’s plan for His beloved creation will prevail!
- The peaceable kingdom of God will come because “the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”
- GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE!
Isaiah 6:1-3 (NIV) – 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Daniel 7:13-14 (NIV) – 1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
Revelation 4:1-3 (NIV) – 1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Thank God for the ability to encourage yourself.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Be a source of encouragement to those who need to experience God; use words when necessary.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Share with others the value in being a part of the Kingdom of our God and King and the price paid to obtain that Kingdom.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: Be a consistent and persistent giver to allow expansion of God’s Kingdom.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: When in doubt about your walk of faith, exercise your muscle by testing the steps God will put before you as you walk.
NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: I Will Trust in the Lord
SERIES: A Conversation with God
NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT: Habakkuk 1:2-3, 13; Mark 9:24; Habakkuk 2:1, 4; Job 14:14; Job 35:14; Psalm 27:13-14; Habakkuk 3:2-19; Psalm 51:1-3; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 130:5; Psalm 103:2