August 22, 2015
This week is the last of George’s three messages on “Faith” and is titled….
“The Focus of Faith.”
To begin this study let’s look at George’s review of the first two messages.
A. In this series we have considered – ‘The Function of Faith’, ‘The Foundation of Faith’ and this morning it will be the ‘Focus of Faith.’ The theme of the Book of Habakkuk is ‘Faith That Overcomes.’
B. Habakkuk’s journey goes from:-
· Chapter 1 where he is worrying about the situation of God’s people and the apparent inactivity of God on their behalf, to
· Chapter 2 where he is watching and waiting to see what God will do.
· Then finally, in Chapter 3, Habakkuk reaches a place where he is worshipping.
C. It is during the time of watching/waiting that God gives Habakkuk 3 Assurances to refocus his perspective & give him a foundation for his faith that will encourage him not to give up on God. These 3 Assurances are in:-
· Habakkuk 2:4 – Assurance of God’s Grace,
· Habakkuk 2:14 – Assurance of God’s Glory, &
· Habakkuk 2:20 – Assurance of God’s Governance.
D. From worrying to waiting/watching Habakkuk comes ultimately to a place of worshipping. Habakkuk 3:17-19.
Has it been helpful reviewing? Does anything stand out as you think about the last two weeks? Share your thoughts in your group.
2. Habakkuk’s Change.
Why did Habakkuk change from worrying, Habakkuk 1:2-4 to worshipping? Habakkuk 3:17-19. What changed his focus to a ‘Focus of Faith?’
Read Habakkuk 3:17-19. How could Habakkuk rejoice verse v.18 with the thought of all the devastating things he mentions in v.17 happening?
Let’s look at what George said….
A. Habakkuk came to understand that whereas his circumstances were variable, God was not. God was the fixed reference point of his situation. Instead of questions which conveyed uncertainty about God, Habakkuk now realizes that in every circumstance it is God who is the one certainty.
1. His love is certain. 2. His grace is certain. 3. His glory is certain. 4. His governance is certain. 5. His presence is certain. 6. His provision for his people is certain.
B. Habakkuk realized that while circumstances change, God doesn’t. It is for this reason that he says, “Hey! So what if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, & there is no fruit on the vines; so what if the labour of the olive fails & the field yields no food…” So what if the natural order is completely out of whack, nature has gone crazy…”Yet will I rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
C. From chap 1 to chap 3, the focus of Habakkuk’s Faith has moved. No longer is he focussed on the garden; he is now focussed on the Gardener! No longer is he focussed on the vineyard; he is now focussed on the Vinedresser! No longer is he focussed on the sheep; he is now focussed on the Shepherd!
3. Our Response
A. God Is In Control.
Read what the following men of faith say about trials. Discuss in your group their results.
· Paul. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, Romans 5:3-5, 8:28.
· James. James 1:2-4.
· Peter. 1 Peter 1:6-7. 4:12-13.
· Joseph. Genesis 50:19-20.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. With the above passages in mind discuss how this is possible.
B. We Can’t Do This On Our Own.
Read George’s words below and discuss how the Holy Spirit makes it possible.
‘The issue of thankfulness amidst adversity is always going to be a challenge for us, because it goes against our natural inclinations.
But this is precisely the point – thankfulness amidst adversity isn’t a natural response, it is a Spirit guided & Spirit enabled response.
Thankfulness is the response of a faith that is inspired & empowered by the Holy Spirit.
It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that provides the focus for faith, to enable thanksgiving & joy in the face of adversity.’
C. Your Response.
What is your response? Can you join with (the paraphrase of) Habakkuk’s response?
‘I don’t care if all of nature goes crazy. I don’t care if nothing’s right in the whole world, I’m going to love God & rejoice in God. My circumstances may have gone crazy, but my joy is not in my circumstances, my joy is in my Saviour’.
Share with your group your answer.
Finish with a time of giving thanks of the great God we have.