Silence Before Him a Sermon on Habakkuk 2:2-20

This Sunday I was able to preach on Habakkuk 2:2-20. It was a very sobering text.


Silence Before Him
Habakkuk 2:2-20 by Rob Nash Preached on 3/3/2019


Good morning. I am Pastor Rob, and it is great to get share with you God’s word. Have you seen this in the news this week?
  1. Mega Church Pastor Brought Down
  2. Venezuelans risk dangerous trek as official borders remain shut
  3. Syrian War: Chlorine likely used
  4. Measles Exposure possible at Midway Airport
  5. Man arrested for attack on conservative at UC Berkeley
  6. Florida man critically injured after a shocking hit and run rollover crash
  7. Man 33 convicted of murder at 13
Injustice is all around us. People suffer. How do we deal with suffering and injustice? Where is God in all of this? At your lowest points in life have you ever asked, “How long oh God? How long do I have to wait? Why is this happening? Why God? Why?”  Have you ever been there? You may be there today.  
Habakkuk was. The prophet Habakkuk wrote a book in the Bible 2,600 years ago beginning with questions just like that. He lived among a people of God who were unrighteous, wicked, and perverse. In the middle of trouble and trust, they did not trust God.
If you missed last week, you are joining us for a three-week study of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was a prophet. That means he spoke for God. That was his job. We know very little about him. He was most likely a contemporary of a few other prophets like Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, Nahum. His book is three chapters long. He wrote it around the early 600’s before Christ was born. Assyria was the superpower at the time. Assyria conquered the northern tribes of Israel. Apostate Judah was all that was left of God’s people. The country was torn up not only by enemies outside the country but enemies within. God’s people were abandoning His Word left and right. They embraced greed, sacrificed children, and converted God’s temple into a place of sexualized idol worship.  
In chapter 1 you see what was happening. There was  
  1. Iniquity v. 3
  2. Wrongdoing v. 3
  3. Destruction v. 3
  4. Strife v. 3
  5. Contention v. 3
  6. The Law was paralyzed v. 4
  7. Justice was stopped and perverted v. 4, 13
  8. The Wicked surrounded and swallowed up the righteous v. 4, 13
How long must this go on” was Habakkuk’s plea. God audibly answers him. He promises to take care of Habakkuk’s concern. He says, “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
If the book stopped there, it would be an entirely different book. We would conclude that things would be great. God will do wonderful things, astounding things. Yay! However, God goes on to say this wonder and astonishment is not a pleasant thing. He is going to raise up another nation, not just any nation, but one that is worse to discipline His people: Babylon.  
Habakkuk knows wickedness, perversion, violence, and destruction, but Babylon’s evil will be many, many, many times worse. They are going to reshape what is left of God’s nation; they are going to slash, burn, and deport.  
To get a feel of the weight of God’s words, years later he will share a similar word but this time to Jerusalem through the prophet Jeremiah. If you have your Bibles turn to Jeremiah chapter 32 starting at verse 27.
27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city [Jerusalem] into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. 31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin (32:27-35).
Jeremiah would get to see this judgment fulfilled as Babylon wiped out his country. Habakkuk, I am not sure did. He heard about it. It was coming. God keeps His word. Moreover, it was going to be astounding. It would make him wonder. It would lead him to question, why?
Habakkuk replies to God in verse 13 of chapter one,
13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?

Why? Why do you idly look? Why do you remain silent? Why? Why God, why? Can you imagine Habakkuk’s voice pleading? Maybe you have your own pleas. Habakkuk doesn’t want things to get worse. He doesn’t want to see suffering. He knows God can do whatever he pleases. Why this? Why does it have to be through a path of humiliation, pain, and suffering?
Chapter 2 begins with Habakkuk stating,
2 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he [God] will say to me.
This morning we get God’s answer to Habakkuk’s complaint. I have asked Toby Klint to read Habakkuk 2:2-20. Please come up here right now Toby. We will be reading from the English Standard Version of the Bible version. We have a tradition of standing when God’s word is preached. Would you stand with me now, if you are able?
2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.  3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it it will surely come; it will not delay. 4  “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. 5  “Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.” 6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!” 7  Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them. 8  Because you have plundered many nations all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them. 9  “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! 10  You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. 11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond. 12  “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! 13  Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? 14  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 15  “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness! 16  You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory! 17 The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them. 18  “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! 19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. 20  But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
Thank you. Let’s pray.
God, I need your power. Help me to capture the heart of what you are saying and speak to the hearts of your people. We can get sick and tired of all the hardship in the world. We just can’t deal with it at times. We disengage, ignore, give up, and sometimes, when things are bad, complain. I certainly complain to those close to me. I want you close. However, I don’t want to complain to you. We wrestle with the hard parts of life. We want to see your “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:4). Meet us in the moments when justice seems non-existent and righteousness like a mirage. Deal with our weary and frail hearts. Oh, Lord, break down the walls of resentment and bitterness and anger and fear and apathy. Spur us to run from evil and unbelief. Silence the noise in our minds and open our ears to your holy and perfect Word. In your precious name Jesus, we pray, AMEN.
You may be seated.
If you have your Bibles, I encourage you to follow along.  Verse 2 begins,
2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets...
You are going to hear God’s word written down on tablets not iPads, but literal tablets of stone. God speaks a message to Habakkuk in the same way he spoke to the leader and prophet Moses on Mount Sinai. Here is a message directly from God.  Brothers and sisters take note. What is the message? God shares five woes, two facts, and one response. Let’s walk back through the text this morning and talk about each. That is the outline for us if you are taking notes, five woes, two facts, and one response.
FIVE WOES: What is a WOE
The first thing I want to deal with in the text are the five woes. I don’t want to assume we know something we don’t. What is a “woe”? Is it what we say to stop a horse? “Woah nelly.” No. That is W-o-a-h. Habakkuk speaks of W-O-E. What is that? It is a word of judgment and justice. Who speaks these woes in chapter 2? God says it is the people whom the Chaldeans were persecuting. God is going to raise up people for a season, and then raise up other people to punish the punishers. What is the tone the woe? Verse 2 tells us that it is a “Taunting.” One commentator pointed out this woe is more like an AH HAH or AH!  
It reminds me of little kids making fun of the one who just got caught by mom or dad doing something they shouldn’t. Haha! There are five Ah Hahs in this passage.  
God hears Habakkuk’s complaint and doesn’t reprimand him. He addresses his heart with a promise of action. There is a degree of comfort in that. Isn’t there? God is okay with Habakkuk’s questions and concerns. I think it is healthy to acknowledge what goes on inside of us to God rather than stuff it, avoid it or deny it. God says, in a sense, to Habakkuk’s complaint, “You don’t tolerate injustice, I will not tolerate injustice either.” Even though He is raising up a wicked nation for judgment, they will be held accountable. They are responsible and not puppets or robots or innocent parties.
God does what he pleases. Mysteriously, God can exalt a nation against another nation and then another nation against that nation. Kings and Queens have followers, security guards, money, and power. They can push a button or pick up a phone and destroy a nation. All their power combined throughout time is nothing compared to God’s. Proverbs 21 states, “The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Pr. 21:1). God is going to raise up Babylon to bring judgment on Israel and Judah and then He will bring judgment on Babylon and do so justly. God is perfect and good and sovereign.
When will this take place?  Look at verse 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. What God is talking about has not happened. It awaits the appointed time. When is that? It is when Babylon falls. Babylon was in modern day Iraq. However, they are not there anymore. They rose in power over the Assyrians around 605 BC. That is before Habakkuk writes. In 586 BC Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. The Babylonian empire crumbles in 539 BC. You might remember the saying “the writing is on the wall?” That comes from that time that the Babylonian king Belshazzar was partying with some guests. He sees a bodiless hand write four words Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin. No one could not understand their meaning. He asked for Daniel, the prophet and advisor, for interpretive help. The translation was one of judgment. His days are numbered. According to Jewish tradition, he died that very night, October 12, 539 BC. He disguised himself as someone else and went out of his room. After some time he came back. He had given orders to cut off the head of anyone trying to enter his room. So his servants did just that. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.  
Habakkuk would have to wait for all of this, Judah was an autonomous state living in sin. Babylon had not vanquished Judah. We don’t know how long it would take. We do know the prophecy does not lie because God doesn’t lie. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.  
In verse four we see a contrast before Habakkuk. There is the righteous who live by faith and the unrighteous who are puffed up in pride. They did have faith, faith in themselves. These Babylonians were arrogant.  God points out ironically their future punishment through these five woes. Their punishments match their crimes.
  1. The Babylonians are greedy - God will turn them over to other people’s greed, ironic (v. 6-8).  
  2. They are violent - God will send violence on them, ironic (v. 9-11).
  3. The third Woe conflates the first two woes (v. 12-14) - We hear about building a town with blood and founding a city on iniquity! Babylon will receive a commensurate punishment for their greed, violence, and sin.
  4. In the fourth woe - We see they promote drunkenness for the purpose of sexual immorality (v. 15-17). These verses hint of far worse evil that I cannot mention publically.Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness! 16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory!   
    Verses 15 and 16 are astounding. God will bring the smack down on Babylon. What they have done to others will be done to them. God will not tolerate or accept people using their positions of power and control to take advantage of the weak. God will bring vengeance and justice once and for all to the abusers. He will strip them and bring utter shame on their morally bankrupt glory. He is going to give them a drink they can never forget, a cup of wrath contrasting their cup of debauchery. The violence they exerted on others, is going to be poured out on them. This is not going to be pretty. Habakkuk is concerned about God doing nothing. He doesn’t have to be. God sees all and will bring about swift retribution. He will not be idle.
    1. If that is not all, in the final woe, we get to verses 18-20 we see a word against idolatry. Babylon worshiped idols. What is so wrong about that? Isn’t it just make-believe? Worship is a big deal. It is not simply a social construct, habit, performance, or superstition. Worship matters to God. Whom we worship matters; it is of utmost importance.
    One example of this is from Exodus 20. God gives His top ten commands. The first four deal with God. The first show how important worship is. The number one command is this,
    3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
    The number two command is this,
    4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
    Whom you serve, obey, love, and hate reflects whom or what you worship. The Chaldeans will be people of pride, greed, violence, sexual immorality, and idolatry. They would be rebels. God’s law was written on the hearts of all men. To worship, obey, and serve some created thing is wrong no matter who your parents were. God would eventually raise a rebellion to deal with the Babylonian rebellion. He sees and works. He will bring judgment and justice on these proud, arrogant, and puffed up people. God is faithful. It will happen, Habakkuk. It hastens to the end. God doesn’t lie.
    Embedded in these five woes are at least two facts about God. God is glorious, and God is Great. God is glorious.
    God is glorious. Look at verse 14.
    For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
    VERSE 13
    That word “For” is a word of reason. It points backward. What does it point to? Let’s look at verse 13. The verse before it questions,
    Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?
    What do you think that means? I had no idea at first glance. Then I looked up commentaries, and they all pointed me to Jeremiah 51. Remember Jeremiah was a contemporary of Habakkuk. He lived at the time that Babylon was destroying Jerusalem. He saw God fulfill some of Habakkuk. In chapter 51 Jeremiah pronounces punishment on Babylon, writing,
    58 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”

    The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”
    Where have we heard that before? Those words sound similar to Habakkuk 2 verse 13, don’t they? God will bring all of Babylon’s efforts to naught that they and everyone else will know God. Was this just a saying, threat, or did it really happen? The Greek historian Herodotus, who lived between 484-425 BC, comments in his Histories that the city of Babylon was known for its great wall. He claimed it was 56 miles long, 80 feet wide, and 320 feet high. This wall was an ancient Wonder of the World. Where is it? It is rubble. 51:58 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.” God destroyed it by His judgment as he said in Jeremiah 51. This godless futility leads back to verse 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
    One day everyone will know God and His glory. Either in this life or in the end before God. This reminds me of Philippians 2. In Philippians 2 we get a picture of that day in relation to Jesus and the Father’s glory. Paul writes,
    9 Therefore God has highly exalted him [Jesus]and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Everyone will know God. Every knee will bow, and every tongue confess. Right now we have fools who say God doesn’t exist and their version of history and reality is better than the one God revealed. God will make it plain one day. He has promised that. All will confess the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That much is sure. God doesn’t lie.

    The knowledge of God will be like the waters cover the sea. How much does water cover the sea? Completely. No part is not covered. It is complete.
    What is this glory? The Hebrew word for glory is “Kabode.” It means to honor and splendor. God is going to make His honor and splendor known to everyone. The fourth book of the Bible agrees,
    “...all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Num. 14:21). The prophet Moses wanted to see God’s glory. He asked God to show him His glory. He already met God in a burning bush. He saw God work in 10 plagues. He experienced God in the parting of the Red Sea and a pillar of fire. God spoke to him giving him the Ten Commandments. He wanted more. He wanted to see God’s glory. This is how God answered,
    19 ... “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
    Moses encountered God that day. He saw part of God’s glory in such a way that his face shone. The glory of God visited the Tabernacle he built for worship. When Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem God’s glory descended on it. In all cases, God’s glory faded away into the annals of history. But not forever.
    The Apostle Paul says God’s glory appeared again on the earth 600 years after Habakkuk. He writes we see the “...light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Jesus displayed God’s glory like none other. If you long to know God the Father, look to the Son.

    Sometimes it seems like God is still far off. In a sense, He is removed. He is not present like He will be. Nor are we what we will be. One day friends “...the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” At that point, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father. God doesn’t lie.
    One day everyone will know who is in charge and it is not them. We hand out Super Bowl rings, championships, medals, cups, and Oscars, but one day God will gets all splendor, honor, and glory. He is glorious, and there is no one like him.
    The second fact I see here is He is great. God is glorious, and God is great.  
    Look at verse 20. “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
    Habakkuk pointed out that God was holy in chapter one. Here we find God points out His temple is holy. Where is His temple? The temple of Israel is in Jerusalem. Is that where God is? Habakkuk knows that the temple is messed up. God is there? It was at one time the grand palace of the Ark of the Covenant, with gold, cedar, and national sacrifices. Solomon used the finest materials and obeyed God’s specifications to honor God. Is God is there? It had lost its luster. It was converted to a house of idol worship. I don’t think God is referring to the temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 11 verse 4 helps us identify where God is.
    What does it say?
    The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    God is on His throne. The real temple is in heaven. Jerusalem is a copy of the heavenly one. The real one is holy regardless of what the priests did or did not do. It is holy because God is holy. Habakkuk knew that.
    What is holiness? Holy means sacred set apart, and consecrated. Holiness is opposed to evil. One day God will have everyone give an account for their moral choices. How can God do that from heaven? He can because He is great. He has all power and reigns supreme. He is in the heavens, yet sees all and controls all and stands outside time and space. Heaven doesn’t hold Him back or limit Him. How can He do that? He is great. There is no one greater. Habakkuk 2 reveals these two facts God is glorious and great.
    BE QUITE - ONE Response
    So what? What is the one thing we are to do? BE QUIET. Do you remember the context? Habakkuk was suffering. He was in anguish over what he was seeing. To him, it looks like God doesn’t care. God responds in an unlikely way. He is going to raise up an evil to conquer evil. Then He will bring punishment on that evil. We get to chapter 2, and Habakkuk says,
    2 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say.
    Habakkuk has a posture of waiting, looking, and listening. That is what God commanded in Verse 20
    But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
    Habakkuk had a jump start on this command. This message to Habakkuk was to be read abroad. God wants the hearer to be silent before the Lord.
    God sees all. His judgment is coming. “It hastens to the end.” Justice is at hand. He is great and glorious. Be quiet. There is a time for prayer, a time for singing, a time for pontificating, and a time for action. There is also a time for silence. Be quiet.
    What do you think of silence? Is it awkward? Do you like to fill in that quiet space in conversation? I do at times. Sometimes I treasure quiet. Katie, my wife, may not believe that. I think of the time when the baby is sleeping, shhhhh. “Be quiet the baby is sleeping.” When mom is taking a nap. “SHHHH mom is sleeping.” When we are taking a test.” Shhh.” Habakkuk’s world is blowing up. The Babylonians world will blow up soon. That is what God is promising to Habakkuk. Shhh. In verse 20 God is saying, “Shhh! Be quiet. Take note. I have their number. I have power and can do whatever I please. I will keep my promise. SHHHH.” I do not lie.
    Let all the earth keep silence before him. I think it is good to go to God with our questions. God has answers. He has all the answers. He may give you only a partial one. He may have you just wait in silence. However, He is glorious, and He is great. He is just, and He is good. He does not lie.
    The hush of the moment for Job and Habakkuk is a hush for us. Trust in Him in your troubles and triumphs; the righteous will live by faith. Where is your faith? Where is your righteousness?
    Paul helps us. He understands righteousness living by faith. He writes in Galatians this,  
    11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law,

    11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law,
    for “The righteous shall live by faith.” ... [This is a  quote from Habakkuk 2:4]
    13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—
    Paul is saying that our faith justifies us not our righteous obedience. If we are honest, we are not that righteous. We are not that faithful. We have doubts, and we disobey. We sin. God came to seek and save the lost. He lived, died, and rose to forgive sin. He came to give us hope in Him. He came to give us power over sin. God’s offers us His righteousness, His holiness, and His perfection through the blood of Jesus in our place. That is what we celebrate in the Lord’s supper on the first of the month.
    Where are you with God? Do you shake your fist at him for the injustice? God knows. He hears. He sees. He will act. Justice will come. He is great, and He is glorious. Hear how He treats Babylon. He will bring about judgment. SHHH. Know He is God.
    Maybe you in an entirely different position. You relate to the Babylonians more than Habakkuk. You feel the weight of your sin, and you need help. In the silence of the moment run to God for mercy. Do it today. He recorded this as a foretaste of the justice that awaits all who never repent of their sin or trust in Him. He offers mercy to all through Jesus. Your sin is not too big for Him. Turn from it today in the silence of the moment.
    Maybe your life is going great. Praise God. Friends, God’s judgment is coming. It will be far worse than His judgment executed on Babylon. It is unrelenting and real and imminent. Every time a person dies they are ushered into a courtroom where they stand before God on their merit, which is not good. Alternatively, they can stand on Christ’s merit which is free and pure and full of love. Worship God for His glorious and great grace that saved you and consider how you can run and share this good news in the hush of the moment. Do you believe in this justice? Do you believe this book? Do you really believe it? Today matters, tomorrow matters, but eternity matters a whole lot more. If you believe this. If I believe this, how will it change our prayers, our investments of time, and allocations of money? God’s Word hastens to its end. God does not lie.  
    Back to those of you who relate to Habakkuk, I think in the midst of suffering our focus can move us from questions downward and inward. Depression can eclipse hope. The scriptures give us a perspective to look up and out.
    We have talked about the five woes, two facts about God, and one call for us to be quiet. Hope is here in these moments. The trials won’t last. Paul puts it this way,  
    2 Cor. 1;-
    8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus,…..16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

    Jesus said we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33),
    There are going to be
    1. Pastor Brought Down
    2. dangerous treks and borders remain shut
    3. Wars and chemical weapons
    4. Disease
    5. Violence
    However, we are to take heart he also has said, he has overcome the world. Justice and judgment will come. It will roll down like mighty water and righteousness like a never-ending stream. God is great and glorious. He doesn’t lie. We are one day closer to meeting our maker. Let us take a moment to be silent before him and before communion.

    Let’s Pray.

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