Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Old New Testament Truth

I am teaching Sunday School for our class tomorrow. Our teacher called me Friday and asked if would sub. I enjoy teaching Sunday School and I think Lifeway's material is helpful for the instructor if used correctly. I hear a lot of complaints about Lifeway's materials and when I ask the critics about it, I find they are usually using the material differently that for what it was intended. Anyway...I digress...

The lesson is on Habakkuk (the whole book). Not that I think the whole book of Habakkuk can be covered in an hour, but one could do a quick survery of it. That is what this lesson is about. It essentially teaches the student that while it seems God is not doing anything, He is working and believers must place their trust in that.

Habakkuk is a great little book. It begins with Habakkuk registering a complaint with God. He says, "I see evil reigning in the lives of the people of God. It makes me angry. Why are you not doing anything about it?"

God responds to Habakkuk and says, "I am doing something. I am doing something that you would not believe even if you knew it. I am going to use the Babylonians to punish my people because they are living the way they are."

Habakkuk essentially says, "You are going to do WHAT!?! The Babylonians!?! How can you use these evil people to discipline the people of God??" After he asked God these questions he essentially says "I will wait to hear from you."

God responds by saying, "I am God and the righteous person will trust Me." (Hab. 2:4).

The book concludes with chapter 3, which is a Hebrew poem/hymn, which is summed up in the last few verses.

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places. (Hab. 3:17-19, NASB)

These verses sum up the lesson found in Habakkuk. No matter how bad things seems to be, God is working and His people must trust that He is working. This is a message that is directly appliciable to believers today from a book that is mostly neglected.

One last lesson which is an important one from the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk 2:4 says,
Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

This is an Old Testament truth that the New Testament utilizes again and again. Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 each quote this verse from Habakkuk. The righteous person basing their life in faith has been they way of God's people from the beginning. Habakkuk shows us that.


Mark said...

I enjoyed teaching this lesson. It has been fun teaching these "minor" prophets.

Rolland said...

I agree. I think the Minor Prophets have much to say to us today. It is a shame we do not know them better. I am doing a personal, in-depth study in Obadiah and it has been very intersting. I hope to go through all the Minor Prophets in-depth so when I am done, I will have a place where my research is consolodated and I will have a series of sermons ready to preach.

Anyway, I think this Sunday School quarter has been a good one. Interesting how they scheduled this one to be in the summer.

Mark said...

Yes, when everyone is on vacation. I will miss a few weeks due to mission trips and covering for the music pastor while he is on choir trips.

I am currently doing a slow, slow read through Isaiah. I think I could do 5 sermons out of chapter 5 alone.