Sunday, January 08, 2006

God Is Always in Control - John Reisinger

God not only has a plan, but He also carries out that plan. The second principle is that God is always in total control of all things and is constantly at work in accomplishing His plan (Hab. 1:1-11; Isa. 10:5,6).

Sometimes God's plan calls for revival and there will be a day of Pentecost when thousands of souls will be swept into the Kingdom of God. There are other times that His plan calls for judgment. Isaiah calls God's judgment His 'strange work," but it is nonetheless God's work. Just as there will be a day of Pentecost when thousands are saved, so there will be a day of judgment when a universal flood sweeps nearly the whole human race into everlasting damnation. We must see that God is just as much the author of one as He is the other. Whether it is Pentecost or whether it is the flood, whether they are the events of Acts 2 or the events of Genesis 6, God is in total control and is working out His own plan. The rain and full harvest as well as the draught and empty barns are from the hand of the same sovereign God. We must learn to praise Him under both circumstances (Hab. 3:17-19).

Silence of God

The first text of scripture we want to look at to show this truth is in the book of Habakkuk. The book of Habakkuk was written primarily to give us the biblical perspective of history. The prophet deals with a problem very much in evidence today. He tackles the question, "How can a holy God allow wicked men to triumph over the righteous?" Wicked men do triumph, and it is usually at the expense of the righteous. We could put the question another way, "Why does God sometimes appear to be deaf to the prayers of His people when they cry to Him in time of trouble and confusion?" Let us look at the text for our answers:

The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are those that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to posess the dwelling places that are not theirs. Habakkuk 1:1-6

As you read this, notice in verse 2 that Habakkuk is praying to God and accusing Him of either not hearing or not answering his cries. Habakkuk is pleading for God to send revival, but instead of revival it appears that God does nothing and even allows things to get worse. Habakkuk looks around and sees violence, corruption, and injustice on every hand, and God doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. Habakkuk wants revival to come, but all he sees is increasing lawlessness.

Verse 3 states that God forces Habakkuk to look at the awful situation. It is as if God insists that he see and acknowledge the violence on every hand. "I see injustice; I see wickedness in all areas of society; I hear men blaspheming God; and worst of all, it appears that God is doing nothing." In verse 4 Habakkuk concludes that "Therefore that law is slack." He describes the society as one controlled by lawlessness, where the wicked man, if he has enough money, can get away with anything. Habakkuk is describing a situation exactly like the lawless society of today. In the first four verses you see his accusation against God, and "accusation" is the correct word to use. Habakkuk is accusing God of either being deaf or else not powerful enough to hear and answer his prayers. God appears to be eithe unable or unwilling to do anything about the awful situation in society, and Habakkuk seems to be wasting his time praying.

In verse 5 God answers Habakkuk, and His answer is harder to understand than His silence. Now remember, Habakkuk is praying about God's own covenant people. He is talking about the nation of Israel. I want you to particularly notice in verse 5 where God says, "I will work a work in your days." Then in verse 6 God says, "Lo, I raise up the Chaldeans." God responds to Habakkuk and, in effect, says, "I am very much at work, and I am not deaf, blind, or helpless." Verse 5 is very amusing: God says, "When I tell you what the work is which I am doing, you will not believe me," and sure enough, when God tells Habakkuk what He was about to do, poor Habakkuk is more upset than he was before. He was first perplexed by God's apparent inactivity, but now his major problem is with God's announced activity. God's purposes seem worse than His silence. Exactly what was God about to do? At that very moment God was strengthening the Chaldean nation and moving them to invade the nation of Israel. The Chaldeans would be God's instrument of chastisement upon Israel; that is clear from the text. The Chaldeans are coming and God Himself is responsible for sending them.


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