Dealing With Life Problems

We all face multiple challenges and problems in life. So the question is: How do you deal with life problems? Every one of us have by far has a pattern on dealing with life problems. That is developed by our influence and past problem solving patterns. When a problem comes into your life, what is the pattern you follow to find a solution? Do you go panic or do you go to your friends?

Well this morning I want to give you a simple biblical pattern to deal with life problems.

DEALING WITH LIFE PROBLEMS

Habakkuk 1:12-2-20

Historical Background

Last week we saw the problem of Habakkuk from chapter 1. The problem he was battling with is: Israel is in sin, conditions are bad around him but why is God inactive? Why does God not hear his cry? Finally when God does answer, why does He answer saying that the Babylonians are going to defeat Judah and take them captive?

Habakkuk was perplexed with the condition of Israel and then could not believe that the Babylonians would attack Judah. However, in verse 12 he starts arriving at some kind of an answer. The answer he arrives at gives us ways to deal with our life problems.

HOW TO DEAL WITH A PROBLEM IN YOUR LIFE?

1. STEP BACK

If you are going through a life problem presently, take a step back from your problem. If all you are thinking about is the problem and you talk about it, deal it by yourself, you are bound to get discouraged and bitter. Instead of pondering around with the problem, take a step back from your life problem.

Habakkuk finally backs away from the problem and focuses on what he does know. And in his mind he is saying, “Now maybe if I start with what I do know about God, I can come to some conclusion about what I don’t know.”

Habakkuk 1:12 Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, youwill never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.

Now Habakkuk is stepping back from his problem and he is concentrating on God.

If you have a problem to do in mathematics and all you have are five unknowns you can’t really do the problem. But if you back up and take four things that you do know you can figure out what the unknown one is. So this is his method. He starts by saying this: First of all let me back off from the problem and look at God, the solid ground. See the perspective of God he gets.

Habakkuk’s Perspective On God.

a. God Is Eternal

Habakkuk 1:12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?

Habakkuk’s God is different than the God of the Babylonians. Back in verse 11 and he’s been thinking about the Babylonians god. Habakkuk 1:11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god.

When the Babylonians come down and wipe out Israel they would think their own god enabled them to do. If they are thinking about their God, Habakkuk says let me think about my God. Habakkuk 1:12 Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God is eternal, from everlasting. He’s not like the god of the Babylonians or any nation. He is God from eternity to eternity. That much I know.

I’ll tell you there’s nothing more reassuring in the times of trouble in our life than to stand back and say, “One thing I know that my God is eternal.” What do you mean? Habakkuk is saying in essence my God came before history. My God is over history. He is the eternal One. His throne, His realm, His rule is outside time all together.

I look around in my life and see all the difficulties and I just step back and say, “My God is much bigger than the problems that I face today.”

Habakkuk 1:12 Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One…..

b. God Is Self-Existent

In the original text it is Jehovah. And Jehovah was the name of God that meant the I Am, the eternally existing One.

Habakkuk is saying is the second thing I know about my God He is self-existent. He always was and He always will be. You remember that God said to Moses, “Moses go and tell your people that I Am hath sent you.” The word I Am is YAHWEH. I Am means I Am the absolute self-existing one. I do not depend on anything for My existence.

God is not only eternal, He’s self-existent.

What else he knows about God? Habakkuk 12:1 Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One…..

c. God Is Holy

He says, “I know something else about my God, my God is Holy.” That’s an absolute. He’s sure not only of God’s eternal existence, but God is perfectly righteous and holy.

To put it another way it goes like this: God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Habakkuk must have thought can a God so holy ever do anything wrong? Absolutely impossible! So he is determined that his God is eternal, that He is self-existent, and that he is holy.

Habakkuk 1:12 Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, youwill never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.

d. God Is Almighty

God is all powerful. He sovereignty in action. God is omnipotent, El Shaddai the almighty one. Habakkuk says God has absolute power.

My God is in control, He is sovereign. He is the almighty one. He is mightier than the Babylonians.

Then he knows something else about his God and he says it with a tremendous amount of courage.

e. God Is Faithful

Habakkuk 1:12 Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.

Why did Habakkuk say that you (Judah) will not die? Because God is faithful. He knew that and he said, “We shall not die.”

What do you mean faithful? Well you see God is a God of promise. God had a promise an unconditional covenant with Israel, and so Habakkuk remembers, “We’re not going to die, my God is a faithful God.” He’s remembering the Abrahamic covenant.

See how Habakkuk tackles the problem? This is the best advice to face and attack a problem. Back off and stop and think about the God that you know.

Habakkuk’s New Problem

Habakkuk 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

How could God use the wicked to judge the righteous?

Can God use the wicked Babylonians as our judge? How could a holy God use an unholy instrument? I don’t know how He does, but He does it all the time. Did you know that? You know that every time He uses me or you He’s using an unholy instrument? I mean if all he had to work with was holy instruments He’d be extremely restricted.

Habakkuk says, “I don’t know why You’re using the Babylonians. I don’t know why they deserve to get off the hook and we not, but I do know one thing, God, You hate sin and you don’t ever do anything wrong.”

In Habakkuk 1:13-17, Habakkuk compares the Babylonians like fishermen. They are just going out and scooping up all kinds of people. They are worshipping the net that the catch the fish with. You see they made a God out of their own might They were so proud, yet God is using them.

You look around the world today and you say, “Why is the wicked prospering? They seem to be getting away with their wicked schemes.”

Well God’s got a good answer for him in Chapter 2.

But even in doing that another problem pops into his mind. Habakkuk 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

How could God use the wicked Babylonians as our judge? Can a holy God use an unholy instrument? I don’t know how He does, but He does it all the time. Did you know that? You know that every time He uses me or you He’s using an unholy instrument? I mean if all he had to work with was holy instruments He’d be extremely restricted.

Habakkuk says, “I don’t know why You’re using the Babylonians. I don’t know why they deserve to get off the hook and we not, but I do know one thing, God, You hate sin and you don’t ever do anything wrong.”

Habakkuk 1:13-17

13Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? 14You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. 15The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. 16Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. 17Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?

Habakkuk compares the Babylonians like fishermen. They are just going out and scooping up all kinds of people. They are worshipping the net that the catch the fish with. You see they made a God out of their own might They were so proud, yet God is using them.

V17 he asks, “Are you going to keep on allowing this, God?” You look around the world today and you say, “Why is the wicked prospering? They seem to be getting away with their wicked schemes.” “I admit I’m not the best guy in the world, but so and so is a lot worse than me and look at the job he’s got, look at the money he’s making. Look at him. He beats his wife, doesn’t go to church, doesn’t love God, making money like crazy. Here am I Lord, I love you, I serve you, I give to you. But I am not seeing any prosperity. But why do my wicked friend prosper?”

Well God’s got a good answer for him in Chapter 2. In Chapter 1 the prophet gets no answer. But in chapter 2 even when the prophet gets the answer, he is comforted. Because he has gone away from the problem and he is now concentrating on God.

He said, ” I don’t understand all the problems, Lord, but I understand You.” In Chapter 2 verse 1 you have the second great principle in solving problems.

2. WAIT

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts….

You just back off and stand around until God answers. You know the problem with us is not that we don’t get answers from God, it’s that we don’t get them when we think we have to have them. So Habakkuk backs up and he says, “I’m going to stand here, God, and I’m going to set myself on a tower and I’m going wait until I see the answer.”

See the last part of the verse: Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the rampart. I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

He’s saying, “God, I’m going to stand here and I’m going to wait for your answer and then God, I’m going to try to think of something to say when You tell me how dumb I was not to trust You.

He does a fantastic thing. He backs away from the problem, he stands on firm ground, he waits, and then the third thing he does he commits the problem to God.

3. COMMIT THE PROBLEM TO GOD

What a principle. Commit thy way unto whom? Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.

God is in the business of solving problems. Now there’s only a single approach to any problem. Start with a God you know, trust Him, wait until you get the answer and commit your problem to him. And you know what happens? In verse 2, the answer comes. And all the way through the 2ndChapter we have the answer. I just want to pick up the two dimensions of the answer very quickly.

God’s Answer To Man’s Life Problem

It’s a two-fold answer. The first part is an answer of judgment and the second part is an answer of salvation. Every problem man has is for these two reasons: Judgement of God and Salvation of God.

Habakkuk asked why do you let sin go unjudged and he asked why the Babylonians get off the hook? Why is Israel being punished? And now in the answer God gives him an answer. He says there’s going to be judgment and there’s going to be salvation.

Now again all through the Bible you’ll find these two connected. All through the Bible when God meets out judgment it’s always followed by grace or salvation, always.

THE TWO-FOLD ANSWER OF GOD

1. JUDGMENT

There is going to be judgement. Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.

Habakkuk 2:3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Now what is He saying? On the rest of the Chapter we know what the vision is. God is saying, “Habakkuk, the Babylonians are going to be judged. They are only doing what they’re doing for an appointed time and just like Israel was judged they’re going to be judged for their sin. Only, you want to know something, Habakkuk, it’s going to be infinitely worse because they’re going to be totally completely wiped off the face of the earth.” That’s exactly what happened. So God says there’s coming judgment on the Babylonians.

The Babylonians whom I’m going to raise up, as he said in Chapter 1, to punish Israel will themselves be destroyed utterly and completely. The greatness of the Babylonians will be very short lived. It won’t last very long at all. God’s got a time schedule, it’s going to end very soon.

God Will Judge Sin

And so God says, “I’m going to judge the Babylonians, but not only that, not only does this whole Chapter talk about judgment on the Chaldeans but it talks about the fact that God is going to judge sin no matter whose involved.” And in effect God is saying this: “My moral judgment will fall whether it’s on Israel or Babylonians or anybody else that sins. It doesn’t matter who.” God always punishes sin. You break the moral order and judgment and wrath fall just that simple.

And so we see then that God punishes sin no matter who. The only issue is when He does it and how He does it. And then through the Chapter God lists the sins of the Chaldeans, for which He’s going to punish them. And there all so typical sins of Israel and there all so typical sins of people today. We’ll just highlight them.

The Sin Of The Babylonians

Habakkuk 2:5 ..indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples.

a. Love of wine. V3

b. Pride. V3

c. Greed. V3

Greedy as the grave. You see death is never satisfied, likewise their greed was never satisfied. Self-gratification. They keep stuffing it and stuffing it and it’s got just as much room as before they stuffed it.

d. Extortion/oppression. V6

e. Desire for war/violence. V8

f. Luring others for attack. V15

g. Idol worship. V19

Babylon’s sins will be punished. God says, “Then there are sins for which I will punish Israel.” Malachi lists those sins.

The Sin Of Israel

a. Ingratitude. Malachi 1:1-5

b. Faithlessness. Malachi 2:10-12

c. Marrying a nonbeliever. Malachi 2:13-16

d. Delight in Evil. Malachi 2:17

e. Injustice. Malachi 3:5-6

f. Tightfisted in Tithes. Malachi 3:7-12

g. Weary in well doing. Malachi 3:13-15

God was not going to tolerate sin whether it was Israel’s sin or the sin of the Babylonians or whether it’s your sin or my sin.

God did judge Israel with the Babylonian in 586 BC. Israel was taken away into captivity. Didn’t last very long. Around 530 the Babylonians were wiped out. The Medio-Persian Empire came along and flattened that great world empire of Babylon. So God judged Israel and he judged the Babylonians.

He’s going to judge you. It’s inevitable if you don’t know Jesus Christ, if you do not know God’s way of escape. He’s not going to judge me. You say, “Why, are you better than me?” No, I’m probably worse. Why isn’t He going to judge you? Because I have had someone who took my judgment, Jesus Christ.

There’s no judgment to them who are in Christ Jesus. And so God says there’s judgment on the Babylonians and there’s judgment on sin. God will judge sin. But He doesn’t stop at judgment. He ends up with salvation.

2. SALVATION

There is salvation available.

Now in these two verses you have the two dimensions of salvation.

a. Individual Salvation

Habakkuk 2:4 “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.

You see there’s only two possible attitudes in this life: faith or unbelief. You either believe God or you don’t believe Him. You either have faith in Him or you don’t have faith in Him. Either you view your life in terms of God or your outlook is based on a rejection of God. You can either withdraw yourself from faith, or you can live by faith in God. The person who draws away from God got a problem. But on the other hand that soul who lives by faith is justified for the just live by faith.

The just, the righteous shall live by faith, but the man who draws back from faith in God is unrighteous. There are only two options for man: either I take the word of God and I live by it, or I don’t and I live by my own rules. Faith means I take the word of God and I act upon it. It means that I base my whole life on God to live by faith.

b. Future Salvation

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The glory of the garden, the purpose of creation will be established when Christ comes and rules this world. The whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.

Conclusion

What’s the controlling principle in your life? Is it faith in God, is it or is it calculation or worldly wisdom or human reason? What is the basis of your life? Is it the word of God? Salvation comes to those who live by faith and the first instant you put your faith in God you receive the great eternal gift of salvation. It’s just that simple.

In conclusion, if you are going through a challenging life problem today, the primary way to deal with it is to be a child of God. Move from the life problem and look at God, wait in the presence of God.

Sermon Series on Habakkuk

  1. KNOWING GOD’S WAYS. Habakkuk 1:1-11
  2. DEALING WITH LIFE PROBLEMS. Habakkuk 1:12-2:20
  3. PRAYING IN DIFFICULT TIMES. Habakkuk 3:1-19