Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Work Faithfully. Wait Patiently."
Work Faithfully. Wait Patiently. – PRAYER POINTS
These written prayers, are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.
Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:12-14)
Why does the Lord allow wicked people to have such prominence in his world?
When God comforts and encourages Habakkuk, he gives him a glorious picture of the future, and that pictures gives Habakkuk profound hope for the present.
PRAYER: Father, I confess that at times I am tempted to not only grieve over wickednedness, but to complain, question, and doubt you. When I do so, please take me back to the cross. No one grieving over that wickedness and that moment, saw any purpose in it. And yet you were accomplishing the most glorious of purposes...the salvation of mankind.
We cannot always understand the sovereign purposes of God in history, but we can always be confident of this -- no matter how dark the night, our God rules over the nations of men, and he is working in all things to build his eternal kingdom for his glory and our good.
PRAYER: Lord, as I review the history of the world, including the history recorded in your Holy Word, grant me insight and understanding to more clearly see the unfolding of your plan and purposes. And when your purposes remain a perplexing mystery, draw me to be thanful for what I do know about you and what you’ve done, rather than mistrust you because of what I don’t know.
All of the selfish, self-promoting, self-advancing, self-glorifying works done in this world will be for nothing. All those who seek their own fame in this world and not the fame of Christ will be forgotten, like Babylon before them. At best they will be relegated to the history books, admired only for what they once were.
PRAYER: Father, as I grow in the fear of God – loving righteousness and hating iniquity – keep me from a self-righteous, critical condemnation of those who crave glory, fame, and exaltation in this world. Remind me that it is only your grace that makes me otherwise. Prompt me to grieve and to pray over the plight of these so deceived and lost. Open my my heart to why Jesus came – to seek and to save the lost!
This kingdom is characterized by the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. That is, the Lord will not only be known about, but he will be known for who he truly is; he will be known in his glory.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I ask that the Holy Spirit would enrich my personal, experiential knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Deepen my understanding of his eternal glory, his incarnation, his sacrifice and resurrection, his exaltation and reign, and his imminent return. In so doing, open my eyes to a more glorious awareness of what it means to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done”; for it is who you are that defines your rule, your reign, and your kingdom.
What is the extent of this kingdom? It’s throughout the earth.
And not just here and there throughout the earth, but the earth will be filled with this knowledge. Not partially, but fully. Every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
PRAYER: Lord, we know and believe that you are enthroned in the heavens, and that your kingdom rules over all. We also know that there are those all around us, as well as distant peoples, tribes, and nations that have absolutely no saving knowledge of the gospel of the kingdom. Please show us guide us, and empower us to make your gospel and your kingdom known. Help us to know how to pray, serve, give, and participate in the advance of your kingdom throughout the earth.
How do we live as those who desire and pray for Christ’s kingdom to come but, like Habakkuk, are aware of the many ways in which it hasn’t yet?
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
First, work faithfully and wait patiently in this church.
Second, work faithfully and wait patiently in your families.
Third, work faithfully and wait patiently in your neighborhoods.
PRAYER: Lord, please give each of us specific, personal and practical ways to apply and abound in each of these opportunities and responsibilities. With those to whom we’re joined, help us to identify one way to work faithfully, and consistently in each area. And empower us to wait patiently, by waiting peacefully, joyfully, and confidently.
“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.” Habakkuk 2:3
PRAYER: Father, may we be among those who through faith and patience inherit your promise that...the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!
OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
The prophet Habakkuk witnessed the moral decay of the nations and prophesied of coming judgement. In the midst of injustice, Habakkuk cries out to the Lord for justice. Accordingly, God graciously comforts his people by giving them a glorious vision of the future: God will establish his kingdom. This kingdom has been inaugurated by the person and work of Christ who offers salvation for all nations. Although not yet fully consummated, God’s people should work faithfully and wait patiently in full assurance of hope for the coming kingdom.
- Josh argues that the Israelite’s situation is not that different from our situation. To better understand the modern-day relevance of this passage, what are some similarities between our situation and Israel’s situation? How does this affect your reading of the passage?
- Habakkuk tells us that apart from the Lord, the nations labor in vain and weary themselves for nothing. Consider your motives, heart, and attitude. How can you encourage one another to labor with the right motives?
- Even in the face of opposition, God assures his people that he will establish his kingdom. How does this future hope affect our actions in the present? How should this affect our view of and reaction to our present suffering?
- Habakkuk 2:14 says that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord”. How is this knowledge revealed in Christ?
- Josh gave us two pointed categories for application: work faithfully and wait patiently. In addition to his suggestions, how can you work faithfully and wait patiently? How might you do this as a community group?