Family Bible Study lesson for July 25: Encouraged By Faithful Hope : Friday, July 9, 2004
July 9 2004 by Phyllis Elvington

Family Bible Study lesson for July 25: Encouraged By Faithful Hope : Friday, July 9, 2004
Friday, July 9, 2004

Family Bible Study lesson for July 25: Encouraged By Faithful Hope

By Phyllis Elvington
Habakkuk 1:2-6, 12-13; 2:2-4,18-20; 3:17-19a

Unless you have been there, it is hard for someone to understand the magnitude of the loss of a spouse. When I think back on May of 1992, there are two images from Terry's death that are very vividly etched into my memory.

The first image is of me lying prostrate on that cold hospital floor right outside the emergency room where the doctors were doing everything they could to keep my precious husband of 17 years alive. I do not remember the people around me. I just remember praying over and over and over again, "Lord, if it is your will, please let Terry live."

It was not within God's will. Two short hours after Terry fell from the roof of his mother's house - he died.

The second image that I remember so clearly is riding from the church to the grave in the front seat of the funeral limousine. I was holding John Mark, 2, in my lap, while my other arm was around Matthew, our 6-year-old. One verse from the book of Job kept going through my head, "Yea, though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."

At that moment - and even to this very day - I do not understand why God did not divinely intervene and save my Terry. It was in His power, because God is omnipotent, but it was not in His will.

Today, just as I did 12 years ago, I cling to the hope God promises in Jer. 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Violence abounds

Habakkuk 1:2-4

Habakkuk loved God with all his heart, but he could not understand God's plans.

When God revealed His plans to use the evil Babylonians to punish Judah for their sins, Habakkuk was left with a multitude of unanswered questions.

Was God not listening? Did God not care about His people? Where was He when they needed Him the most?

Like Habakkuk, the best thing we can do when we don't understand is go directly to God in prayer.

God is at work

Habakkuk 1:5-6

When Habakkuk prayed, God answered. The problem for Habakkuk, however, is the same problem we deal with when we experience difficulties.

Habakkuk thought that because he couldn't see God at work, that God must not be doing anything about his situation. In fact, God was working in a much larger realm than Habakkuk was requesting - and in a different way than Habakkuk expected.

The righteous suffer

Habakkuk 1:12-13

Bad things do happen to good people. If God protected believers from everything that is painful and allowed only unbelievers to suffer, then He would not be the God our Bible describes in John 3:16 and Romans 5:8.

Romans 2:11 explains, "For God shows no partiality." Matthew 5:45 states, "...for He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

Live by faith

Habakkuk 2:2-4,18-20

Habakkuk began his oracle with the question: "O, Lord, how long ..." God answered him, "If it seem slow, wait for it" (v.3).

Our viewpoint is not God's viewpoint. Even when we cannot see His hand at work, we can trust Him completely to do what is best for us. (See Isaiah 55:8-9.)

Hope in God

Habakkuk 3:17-19a

Habakkuk demonstrated the same kind of hope in God that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in Daniel 3.

These three believers told King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace. Then they added that even if He didn't deliver them, they would still remain faithful to Him.

Habakkuk declared that regardless of the circumstances, his hope was in the living God.

7/9/2004 12:00:00 AM by Phyllis Elvington | with 0 comments

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