My Life as a Christian

Lecture #2: The Call to the Ministry (Last Session)

In this session, Pastor Spurgeon concludes the lecture, The Call to the Ministry, with the following observation from his personal experience as the head of Pastors College:

“I do not set myself up to judge whether a man shall enter the ministry or not, but my examination merely aims at answering the question whether this institution shall help him, or leave him to his own resources…My heart has always leaned to the kindest side, but duty to the churches has compelled me to judge with sever discrimination. After hearing what the candidate has had to say, having read his testimonials and seen his replies to question, when I have felt convinced that the Lord had not called him, I have been obliged to tell him so.

“Young brethren apply who earnestly desire to enter the ministry, but it is painfully apparent that their main motive is an ambitious desire to shine among men. These men are from a common point of view to be commended for aspiring, but then the pulpit is never to be the ladder by which ambition is to climb.

“Men who since conversion have betrayed great feebleness of mind and are readily led to embrace strange doctrines or to fall into evil company and gross sin, I never can find it in my heart to encourage to enter the ministry, let their professions be what they may. Let them, if truly penitent, keep in the rear ranks. Unstable as water they will not excel.  So, too those who cannot endure hardness, but are for the kid-gloved order, I refer elsewhere. We want soldiers, not fops, earnest laborers, not genteel loiterers.

“I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry because they had failed in everything else. My answer generally is, “Yes, I see, you have failed in everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has specially endowed you for his service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very best of men; and not those who cannot do anything else.

“We have occasionally had applications at which, perhaps, you would be amazed, from men who are evidently fluent enough, and who answer all our questions very well, except those upon their doctrinal views…I mention it because it illustrates our conviction that men are not called into ministry who have no knowledge and no definite belief. When a young fellow say that they have not made up their minds upon theology, they ought to go back to the Sunday-school until they have. For a man to come shuffling into a college, pretending that he holds his mind open to any form of truth, and that he is eminently receptive, but has not settled in his mind such things as whether God has an election of grace, or whether he loves his people to the end, seems to me to be a perfect monstrosity.”

Here ends, lecture #2.

 

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My Life as a Christian

Lecture #2: The Call to the Ministry (First Session)

Our professor, Charles Spurgeon, just finished his lecture #1, two days ago. Today, he is bringing us his second lecture which he has entitled, “The Call to the Ministry.” This lecture will be divided into three sessions. The first one is more of an introduction. In the second session, the professor will lecture on 5 essentials to be considered in ascertaining a call to the ministry. He will conclude the lecture in the third session by sharing his personal experiences to aspirants for the ministry.

“Any Christian has a right to disseminate the gospel who has the ability to do so; and more, he not only has the right, but it is his duty to do so as long as he lives (Rev. 22:17). The propagation of the gospel is left, not to a few, but to all the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the measure of grace entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit, each man is bound to minister in his day and generation, both to the church and among unbelievers.

“Indeed, this question goes beyond men, and even includes the whole of the other sex; whether believers are male or female, they are all bound, when enabled by divine grace, to exert themselves to the service, however, need not take the particular form of preaching-certainly, in some cases it must not, as for instance in the case of females, who public teaching is expressly prohibited (1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:34).

“I do not, however, in this lecture allude to occasional preaching, or any other form of ministry common to all the saints, but to the work and office of the bishopric (pastor), in which is included both teaching and bearing rule in the church, which requires dedication of a man’s entire life to spiritual work, and separation from every secular calling (2 Tim. 2:4); and entitles the man to cast himself for temporal supplies upon the church of God, since he gives up all his time, energies, and endeavors, for the  good of those over whom he presides (1 Cor. 9:11; 1 Tim. 5:18).

Professor Spurgeon then goes no to highlight the importance of God’s call to ministry rather than self-calling, so to speak. He writes, “No man may intrude into the sheepfold as an under-shepherd; he must have an eye to the chief Shepherd, and wait his beck and command. Or ever a man stands forth as God’s ambassador, he must wait for the call from above; and if he does not so, but rushes into the sacred office, the Lord will say of him and others like him, “I sent them not, neither commanded them; therefore, they shall not profit this people at all, says the Lord,” (Jer. 23:32).”

Spurgeon at this juncture cites instances of prophets Isaiah (Is.6:8), Jeremiah (Jer. 1:4-10), Ezekiel (Ezk. 2:1-3; 3:1-4), and Daniel who had been called into ministry by God. He then applies the truths regarding the calling of these prophets to the present day. “In the present dispensation, the priesthood is common to all the saints; but to prophecy, or what is analogous to be moved by the Holy Ghost to give oneself up wholly to the proclamation of the gospel, is, as a matter of fact, the gift and calling of only a comparatively small number; and surely these need to be sure of the rightfulness of their position as were the prophets; and yet how can they justify their office, except by a similar call?”

“Brethren, I trust you may be able one day to speak of the flock over whom “the Holy Ghost has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28), and I pray that every one of you may be able to say with the apostle of the Gentiles, that your ministry is not of man, neither by man, but that you have received it of the Lord (Gal. 1:1). In you may that ancient promise be fulfilled, “I will give them pastors according to mine heart,” (Jer. 3:15)…As the Lord Jesus went up to the Mount and called to him whom he would, and then sent them forth to preach (Mark 3:13), even so may he select you, call you upward to commune with himself, and send you forth as his elect servants to bless both the church and the world.”

The first session of this lecture ends here…

 

 

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My Life as a Christian

The Minister’s Self-Watch: Be sure you are converted

     It has been some time since our last class.  It seems our professor, Pastor Spurgeon, was tied up with other equally important assignments but now is back and is bringing his second lecture which he has entitled, “The Minster’s Self-Watch.”

     In this lecture, Spurgeon discusses the need for constant self-evaluation of a minister or a pastor. Of course, this is to be done by the grace of God. He opens with this profound thought:

     “It is true that the Lord can work with the faultiest kind of instrumentality, to be useful in conversion; and he can even work without agents, as he does when he saves men without a preacher at all, applying the word directly by his Holy Spirit; but we cannot regard God’s absolutely sovereign acts a rule for our action…This is a practical truth for our guidance, when the Lord makes exceptions, they do but prove the rule.”

     By this Spurgeon emphasizes on the need for a minister or God’s servant to prepare themselves, by God grace, for service every day. There is no room for neglecting this responsibility on pretext that God can use anything, even that which man intends for evil, to accomplish good (Genesis 50:19).

     Spurgeon goes on to illustrate how negligence of our both spiritual and physical preparation for God’s service can ruin even the good things we would like to accomplish for God as he writes: “It will be in vain for me to stock my library, or organize societies, or project schemes, if I neglect the culture of myself; for books, and agencies, and systems, are only remotely the instruments of my holy calling; my own spirit, soul and body are my nearest machinery for sacred service; my spiritual faculties, and my inner life, are my battle axe and weapons of war.”

     Professor Spurgeon goes on to list the following important points.

First, “It should be one of our first cares that we ourselves be saved men…How horrible to be preacher of the gospel and yet to be unconverted… Unconverted ministry involves the most unnatural relationships. A graceless pastor is a blind man elected into a professorship of optics.” Spurgeon has a great sense of humor but here he drives home a very important truth.

     Spurgeon then quotes from “Reformed Pastor” by Richard Baxter and writes: “Believe it, brethren, God never saved any man for being a preacher, nor because he was an able preacher; but because he was a justified, sanctified man, and consequently faithful in his Master’s work. Take heed, therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade others to be, and believe that which you persuade them daily to believe, and have heartily entertained that Christ and Spirit which you offer unto others.”

     While asserting the need for a preacher to be a converted man, Spurgeon still accepts the fact that: “The word of an unconverted man may be blessed to the conversion of souls, since the Lord, while he disowns the man, will still honor his own truth.”

     Oh, it’s already time! Professor Spurgeon will stop here for today. May God grant us the grace to reflect on these matters and instill in us the hunger to seek to be his better instruments through His grace alone. 

 


 

 

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Christianity and Society

The Man Named Epaphras

Lately, I have been studying the Epistle to Colossians and one character that has caught my attention in the study is the man named Epaphras.

Epaphras got converted when he went to hear Apostle Paul preaching in Ephesus.  Thereafter, he went home in Colossae and planted a church. Later, the Colossian church was faced with the problem of false teachers and Epaphras immediately went to Rome to meet Paul and seek assistance on how to address the problem (1:7-8; Acts 19:10).

The interesting thing with this man, however, is that he still remains a little known figure despite “working hard for the church at Colossae” (4:13). Unless, you take you time to critically study the epistle, you will never know how important Epaphras was to the Colossian church.

This is how things can go in our service for the Lord sometimes. We might give out our best and keep things moving by the grace of God but still remain little known figures. This should never discourage us since it is all about Christ and not us.  All the glory should go to him alone. As John Baptist once remarked, “Let him increase while we decrease” (John 3:30).

Therefore, never be bothered so much about getting a credit for your service unto the Lord because the truth is that you will not always get it. All the same continue to serve the Lord faithfully and seek to bring all the glory to Him like Epaphras the unsung hero did.

 

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Christianity and theology

Is it right to Critique Prayer?

The Infant Samuel at Prayer - Sir Joshua Reynolds

Lord, teach us to pray

Recently, I have been reading “When Grace Comes Alive” by Terry L. Johnson. The book has been of great help and blessing to me so today I would like to share this excerpt from the book regarding how we should perceive prayer. I hope you will learn something from it and it will also be of great blessing to you.

“We need not to make the mistake of thinking that we need no instruction on prayer, except for perhaps a few hints on technique. Prayer is sometimes seen as being so intensely personal as to be beyond the evaluation of others. ‘Some Christians resent the analysis of prayer,’ notes Dereck Thomas. Prayer is what we do when we pour out our hearts to god. How could such a thing be critiqued? How could it be done wrongly? How could it be improved? They act as though, Thomas continues, ‘some sacred ground is violated when we begin to dissect prayer under a spiritual microscope.’ Yet, the disciples asked, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ They perceived their need of instruction. Jesus responded with teaching on the place, the form, and the content (or words) of prayer. Apparently we need to be taught all of these things.

Why? Why is it not enough for us merely to say whatever is on our hearts, whenever and wherever we feel like it? Because with respect to prayer and worship, when left to ourselves, we never get it right. We don’t know how to pray. We don’t know what to say or how to say it. Why? To answer that we have to go ‘back to the garden’ and reacquaint ourselves with the givens of human nature. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit we’ve been off the bushes with them, hiding from God. We are separated from God and alienated from Him (Col. 1:21). We are ‘enemies’ (Rom. 5:10). We are ‘without God in the world’ (Eph. 2:12).

Because this is so, we have no natural inclination to pray. God is light, but as Jesus said, by nature we are lovers of the darkness and haters of the light (John 3:19, 20). We have a natural aversion to God. We don’t like Him. We don’t want to have to deal with Him. We don’t seek Him (Rom. 3:10). We refuse to honor or serve Him (Rom. 1:18ff). Even as redeemed people the dregs of our old nature continue to weigh us down with this antipathy.  We have to haul our bodies out of bed and drag them into prayer closet because fallen human nature, the remnants of which still plague us, resists contact with God. It wants to flee from God, not draw near to Him in prayer…

It matters to Him what we think about Him. It matters to Him how we pray to Him. Again, one might have thought that the truly important thing is that we pray. Just so long as we are sincere, so long as we try, so long as we pray on occasion, that’s all that matters. Given how busy and distracted we are, God should be pleased with any concept of Himself which we might have. He’s not pleased with any prayers that we might offer. We might think that it ought not matter to God, but it does. He is not pleased to receive any scraps of religious interest that we might offer to Him. He requires that we think of Him rightly, and that we approach Him rightly. Consequently, we must be taught. We need instruction. If we are wise we will realize with the Apostle Paul that ‘we do not know how to pray as we should’ (Rom. 8:26). With the disciples we will ask, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’ © Terry L. Johnson.

Amen and Amen!

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My Reflections on the Defense of the Faith

One thing I know for sure is that God cannot be defended by you and me. He is capable of defending himself and he can do it better than any of us. However, at times God uses people like you and me. Believe you me, there are times when God calls us to “Contended for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). This realization has led me to believe that there ought to be a thin line dividing these two truths. My prayer is that God will always open my eyes to discern the battles he is calling me to fight and those fights I ought to leave to Him alone. Believe you me, this will never be an easy task but I know His grace will always be sufficient.

I also pray that God will grant me the grace to march to the battle he has called me to fight even though my fellow soldiers in the Christian Army stand aloof and are hesitant to march on. Believe you me, not every Christian will be convinced and convicted to fight all the battles that God calls you to fight. There are various reasons for that. R.C. Sproul points out one.

“I’ve seen it again and again. Someone recognizes false teaching and arises to resist it. But instead of supporting the courageous person who wants to uphold Christ’s truth, other Christians call for that person to be silent. Fearing hostility from the culture or the wider body of professing Christians, many believers turn the guns inward and silence their fellow believer for the sake of peace. Yet peace that is won at the expense of the truth is no peace at all. Of course, so far as it depends upon us, we are to live peaceably with all (Rom. 12:18). But when God’s truth is attacked we must draw a line in the sand. Like Daniel of old, we must be willing to face the lions if that’s what it takes to guard the truth (Dan. 6).”

So whatever  the reason that other Christians might have to avoid some battles, but if God has called me to fight that battle, I pray that His grace should always go with me. May I always be comforted in the fact that I am not alone rather He is with me as I fight.

Another thing I always pray for when I am on duty as a Christian soldier is to fight graciously out of love. I think that’s what differentiates the Christian army from any other army in the world.   The aim of our fight is love for God and love for fellow man and because of this goal we battle graciously.  I know sometimes when my fallen human nature rules, I end up fighting brutally; however, I always beseech the Lord that I should fight with grace. Of course, the other camp might hardly appreciate the grace in my strategy of the battle; however, if God approves that there is grace in my fight, then all is well with my soul.

Last but not least, I pray that God will give the courage to fight on when fellow Christian soldiers stand in my way. You know, it is one thing to have fellow Christian soldiers hesitating to join you in the fight and it is totally another thing to have fellow Christian soldiers standing in your way as you fight. Sometimes it even gets worse because the fellow soldier s turn their guns on you and fire. It’s really sad, very sad!

In such cases, I pray that I will not be bitter but I will appreciate the truth as William Cowper once observed that “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”  I pray that I should be able to say as Joseph said “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for God” (Genesis 50:20).  Believe you me, not all Christians will hear the trumpet when God calls you to fight. There will be some who will think you are crazy and they will even shoot at you. Please pray for a forgiving heart and remain faithful to the Master as you onward march to the battlefield.

So, may all Christian soldiers  join Sabine Baring-Gould ( 1834-1924) and shout out:

 

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,

with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;

forward into battle see his banners go!

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;

brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.

We are not divided, all one body we,

one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

 

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,

but the church of Jesus constant will remain.

Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;

             We haveChrist’s own promise, and that cannot fail.

      

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BUILD WISELY, BUILD ON THE ROCK

Sand Dunes

Not knowing Christ as the Savior is building on sand

Life is described with many similes. Some have described it as a drama; some have said it is like a journey. Those who are acquainted with roller coasters have likened it to roller coasters. Others have preferred to describe life as a race. These and many other similes are given to life depending on how one views life.

Christ also has his own metaphor of describing life. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus  likens our day to day life with the art of building. As a matter of fact, he says that all of us are builders. He also goes on to categorize the builders into two namely wise and foolish builders.
This is what he says,
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it has its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash.”
On sand. This can mean many things, but to sum it up, we would say that anything that controls and drives our lives apart from Christ is sand. Anything that stops us from making Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of our life is sand. To some, it might be fame. There are people today that are driven by fame. In everything they do, they value fame more than anything else, and this in the end leaves Christ having no room in their lives.
To some the sand can be wealth and riches. To them nothing, not even Jesus, matters more than riches and wealth. Different philosophies and ideologies that you hold dear to but oppose God’s Word are also sand. The list is endless. Those who have built on this sand should know that a day is coming when the rains will fall, streams rise, and the winds blow against their houses, and the houses will be crashed into pieces.
On the rock. The rock is none other than Christ. Those who have built their house on the rock are those who have believed in Jesus. These people can be assured that all will be well on the day when the rain will come, streams rise, and the winds blow against their buildings. Their houses will remain unshakable, and they will gladly sing: “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Finally, the day when rains will fall and the streams rise, and the winds blow against your building. This is the day when each one of us will depart this earth and stand in front of the great judge, the God of heaven and earth, and give an account of what you did with Jesus Christ. One important question will be posed to each one of us: Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and does Jesus know you as his? Our response will reveal whether we built our house on the sand or on the rock. So, build wisely, build on the rock and His grace is sufficient to enable us build on the rock.
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Christianity and theology

God Opposes the Proud…

The Bible is very clear on the sin of pride. God hates pride. One of the reasons why God resists pride is because it blinds ones eyes to the fact that only God deserves all the glory and honor. This fact is demonstrated clearly in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

The detailed account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s life is recorded in the book of Daniel chapters 1 through 4. As you ransack these chapters, you will find out the devastating consequences that pride can bring in ones life. Nebuchadnezzar was too proud to acknowledge that God is exalted above his creation and has no equal in this world.

God, at first, showed his greatness to Nebuchadnezzar when the Lord, through, Daniel was able to tell and interpret the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had one night. All the magicians in Babylon who were also the servants of the gods of Babylon failed to tell and interpret the dream. But Daniel after praying to his God, the Lord revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel. After seeing this, the king acknowledged; “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings.”

However, due to pride, Nebuchadnezzar failed to live according to his confession. Some time later, he set up an image which he forced everybody in Babylon to worship. But the three friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to worship. Nebuchadnezzar was furious with what the three did; he ordered them to be thrown in a fiery furnace. But the Lord saved them; they never got burnt by the fire. Nebuchadnezzar again acknowledged that The Lord is the most high and great are his signs and wonders.

But pride was still at work in the king’s life, and God send a warning to him in a dream (Daniel 4:4-17). In interpreting the dream, Daniel advised Nebuchadnezzar to repent of his sin of pride. The king was, further, advised to swallow his pride and admit that there is no one like the Lord in the whole world. Contrary, to the warning, Nebuchadnezzar continued to be puffed up with pride.

Then came a pay day for the king. A year after Daniel’s advice to the king, Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his palace and was praising himself for setting up a great kingdom. “What a mighty and great kingdom I have built with my own hands,” he thought. As he was doing that, a voice came from heaven and told him that because of his pride, God would humble him by driving him away from the people to live with wild animals. He would eat grass like cattle until he would acknowledge that God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.

This really happened. For seven years Nebuchadnezzar ate grass like a cow, his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. After the seven years, God restored sanity to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingship was restored too.

Nebuchadnezzar then praised God and admitted: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the king of heaven, because everything he does is right and his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble,” (Daniel 4:37).

One major lesson stands out in this story of Nebuchadnezzar. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). May we learn from Christ the Savior true humility.  May God’s grace be sufficient for us to know our place and humble ourselves before him for all the glory and honor belongs to Him and Him alone.

 

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Wonders alone not enough

How do you define true servants of God?  There is one thing that I would like to warn us not to use as a sole basis for determining true servants of God namely wonders.

Sometimes, we judge true servants of God by wonders. If they perform some wonders, we conclude they are true ‘men of God.’ We then drop our guard and stop examining the spirits as advised in 1 John 4:1.

I know that we cannot put God in a box, but I also know, basing on Scripture, that wonders and signs alone are not enough to guarantee that one is a true servant of God.

Please consider these two statements from Christ. The first statement He made referring to our time today. The other one, He made to refer to what will happen on the Day of Judgment.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:24, 25).

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many might works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Jesus already warned us. We need not to drop our guard and by His grace we ought to stay watchful.

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Christianity and theology

God is sovereign, so what?

Habakkuk

The Book of Habakkuk

There is a song that was done by one of our local musicians, Lucius Banda. In the song, the musician asks this question: “You who believe that God ordained everything that comes to pass in this world, tell me, did God really ordain that we should suffer?”

I believe that many share this musician’s concerns. Of course, we may understand that God is not the source of the evil that goes in this world, but we still wonder why He allows evil in this world.

This is the same struggle that Prophet Habakkuk experienced. He knew that God is sovereign. By saying that God is sovereign, we, basically, mean that God is in full control of what happens in heaven and on earth. He carries out all that he wills and nothing can stop His plans. In other words, when we say that God is sovereign, we mean that God is God.

Now it is easier to say and believe that God is sovereign when things are going on alright but in hard and difficult times, our theology is tested. Habakkuk also struggled with the truth of God’s sovereignty when his nation, Judah, experienced evil and violence.

It is believed that the book of Habakkuk was written just before the people of Judah were taken into captivity in Babylon. It was written at the time when one of the evil kings of Judah, Jehoiakim was ruling and this is believed to be between 609-598 B.C. During this time, the kingdom of Judah experienced moral and spiritual decay. People were breaking the Covenant law of God as they willed. Everyone did as he pleased. Violence and injustice prevailed in the land and Habakkuk cried to the Lord in 1:1-4:

O, LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will you not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife, and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth; for the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

In other words, Habakkuk was saying, God you are good and sovereign, but why do you allow evil, injustice, violence and destruction to occur in this land. How long should I cry for help, Lord?

Then the Lord gave a response in 1:5-11. In summary, God tells Habakkuk that He is not just sitting idle looking at evil in the land of Judah rather He is raising up the Chaldeans or the Babylonians whom He will use to punish the Kingdom of Judah.

Now, the mere mentioning of Chaldeans or Babylonians did not please Habakkuk because these people were even more evil than the people of Judah. Habakkuk did not hesitate but to question God’s wisdom regarding this development. He reminded God that He is too holy to look at evil, why would he then allow an evil nation of Chaldeans to punish God’s own people of Judah?

It is interesting that God did not answer all the questions of Habakkuk. God just told Habakkuk that after He has used the Chaldeans to punish Judah, He would later destroy the Chaldeans and turn their glory into shame (Habakkuk 2:16). God also assured Habakkuk that through what He would do to Judah and the Chaldeans the earth would be filled with the knowledge of His glory (2:14).

After this response from the Lord, Habakkuk was humbled by God’s greatness. He learned that God’s ways are not our ways. He also reaffirmed, in his heart, that indeed God is in full control of whatever goes on in heaven and on earth hence he turned into prayer and worshipped God (3:1-16). Again, notice that Habakkuk worshipped God even though all his questions were not answered. Towards the end of his book, Habakkuk shares with us what a true understanding of God’s sovereignty will do in our lives.

Habakkuk 3:2

Habakkuk 3:2

First, an understanding that God is sovereign will bring joy in our lives even though we are passing through hard times. Hear what Habakkuk says in 3: 17, 18:

Though the fig tree should not blossom Nor fruit be on the vines, The produce of the olive fail And the fields yield no food, The flock be cut off from the fold And there be no herd in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

This is what the realization of God’s Sovereignty does in our life. It brings us joy in the midst of hardship because we realize that God is bigger than our challenges. We can rejoice in the midst of those harsh times because in all things, God works the good of those who love Him and of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

This is the uniqueness of Christianity. The joy in our hearts does not depend on what is surrounding us but it comes from our faith in God. The storms may rage, but our joy remains steadfast because God perfectly holds the whole world in his hands.

Secondly, when we understand that God is sovereign, we are filled with strength. This is what Habakkuk says in 3: 19:

GOD, the Lord, is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places

While some people when they hear that God is in control of everything in heaven and on earth tend to believe that then there is no need to do anything but just seat and watch what God is up to, those who fully understand God’s sovereignty are filled with strength and have a reason to spring into action because they know that God is guiding their steps and He will use them to achieve His intended purpose.

God is in full control. Let this truth give us a reason to go on in life without being discouraged. Let’s know that as God’s children we are not lost in the midst of confusion or hardship we may find ourselves in. Rather, we should be courageous and strong by knowing that even in that confusion and hardship, God’s strong hand is leading us as that Hymn writer wrote:

Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

I would like to wrap up with the story of a man named William Cowper. This man was a Christian poet and a composer of hymns but he often struggled with depression. One day at the age of 32, he struggled with a very serious depression and he thought of committing suicide. He took poison, but it didn’t work. He then tried to fall on a knife, but the blade of the knife broke. Two weeks later he tried to hang himself but was rescued before dying.

Then one morning, not knowing what to do, Cowper turned to the Bible and read the entire book of Romans. After reading it, he composed the famous hymn, God moves in a mysterious way. I would like you to pay so much attention to what the third and fourth verses of the hymn say:

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

That’s our sovereign God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Behind a frowning providence, he hides a smiling face. This is why I love the fact that He is sovereign.

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