27 Jun Habakkuk #3 – If God Is Good, Why Is Their Evil (Habakkuk 1:12-2:20)
– Howdy, pastor Mark Driscoll here, wanting to welcome you to the Habakkuk series, honest to God, where a guy brings all of his questions and complaints to God. God actually takes his call, kind of like a call and talk radio show and gives him a series and set of answers. It’s an amazing book that really fits the mood of our times. It’s an honor to teach it to you. And if you’d like to find the entire series or more of my Bible teaching, you can visit Markdriscoll.org. There’s a little book right around the middle called Habakkuk. Please find that, and we’ll be in chapter one and we’re in our month long study, honest to God, looking at the book of Habakkuk. And today the big question, if God is good, why is there evil? That’s the essence of Habakkuk’s question. It’s one of the largest questions that’s ever been asked in the history of the world. Books have been written, debates have been had, various religions and philosophical leaders have engaged this question and will open God’s word to see what he has to say today. And that being the case, some of you are here and you are not yet Christians. Maybe you’re a non-Christian or maybe you’re not even sure. Maybe you believe in God, but you’re not sure about Jesus or you don’t have full confidence in God’s word, and we welcome you. And we want to dive deep into these questions with you. And let me just say that that’s where I started, and that’s where many of us started. Questions about God in the Bible, perhaps even objections about God and the Bible. And I remember some years ago, I had a lot of questions and objections and problems with Christianity and then a philosophical professor who did love the Lord and taught at a state university, walked with me over the course of a few years through a lot of my questions, taking me through all the options. And I hope to serve you. I hope to serve you, to some measure of goodness as he served me. And let me just say, if you’re one of those people that has questions or objections about the Bible and Jesus, he is big enough and they are big enough to handle them, and we love you and we welcome you. Some of you are here and you’re Christians, but you’ve not had a lot of instruction. You’ve not been taught a lot. So you love Jesus, you believe the Bible you’re looking forward to going to heaven. And you’re a little reticent to tell people about your faith, because then they will bring their questions and, or objections, and you’re not exactly sure what the answers are. And so you have a confidence in Jesus, but you don’t have the clarity to articulate why you believe what you believe. I hope that today I can help you in that regard. And some of you are more mature believers. You’ve been Christians a while. You’ve got a lot of teaching and training and studying perhaps even read on your own, and your faith is in a place that is kind of on autopilot. Everything is working. You read your Bible this time, these days. You go to church at this time, you pray and life works. You’ve kind of got it on autopilot, and it works until turbulence comes and the oxygen mask drop and everything is shaking, and the drinks go flying. And all of a sudden you’re in a place that you’ve never been a place where you need new faith. And that’s exactly the story of this man, Habakkuk. He was a mature believer. He did know and love God. All of a sudden turbulence hit his life and he is feeling unstable and uncertain, and so he brings his questions and frustrations to God seeking new faith, to get him through a new trial and a new circumstances. He was in a new season of his life. That being said, this man is brutally honest. And he is in the middle of great distress and frustration. He doesn’t know what God is doing and he is struggling and wrestling to trust in a God that he does not understand. And surrounding him is evil, injustice, violence and tyranny And one of the great things that he exemplifies for us is that it is good to have questions of God, but not accusations of God. And so what we read here in the opening of this section, Habakkuk 1:12-17, it is good, I’ll reiterate that. It’s good to have questions for God, not accusations of God. Accusations of God, “Oh God, I know what you’re doing. I know what you’re thinking, I know what your plan is and I don’t like it. So I’m convening a court, I will hammer the gavel and I will render a verdict, and I find you guilty needing to give an account to me.” I would just encourage you, don’t do that. Instead, it’s good to go to God, not with accusations, but with questions. Questions such as, God, I don’t know what you’re doing God, I don’t understand God, I’m very confused. God, life is very hard. Things are very complicated. I am having a tremendously difficult time, reconciling my experience with your character. That’s exactly what he does. Some of you have gotten stuck because you have accusations of God. You’ll get unstuck if you turn them into questions for God. And he does it here. Here’s his conversation with God. This is basically a line from his journal. He’s letting us peer into his life and relationship with God. He says, “God, are you not from everlasting? Oh Lord, my God.” He says, you’re my God and I know who you are. “My holy one, we shall not die. Oh Lord, you have ordained them.” These bad guys, this horrible people. These evil people that are creating great stress and distress on the earth. It’s one of those days where the bad guys are winning and the quote unquote, good guys are weeping. It feels a lot like our present cultural condition. “And you Oh Rock have established them for reproof. You who are pure eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong. Why do you idly look at traders and remain silent? When the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he.” God, what are you doing? God, it says in your word that you’re good that you see and know all and that you love us. Yet everything that is happening is for our harm, and you don’t seem to involve yourself. How many of you have had this kind of conversation with God? God, it says you can heal, they said it’s cancer. Are you gonna heal or not? God it says you can change hearts, my spouse has walked away from our covenant. When are you going to grab their heart and bring them home? God, you have the ability to take a wayward child and redirect them toward you and me. I raised these kids to know and love you. They have rebelled against you, they have rejected me. God, when are you going to get invested and involved and turn them around? God, how come at my job, they fired me and I’m the one who does all the work? And my boss got a raise with what I lost. God, why is it that it seems like when I do the right thing, I lose, I suffer, I pay a price. What motive or incentive is there to continue to do what is right when it does not profit me and those who do wrong, they defeat me. That’s the essence of his question. He says, “You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. He brings all of them up with a hook, he drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his dragnet, So he rejoices and is glad.” What he’s saying is, you know what? God, you know down here, we kind of all feel like fish. And if you’ve ever been fishing, throw a hook in the line and it goes in the water and then the fish comes up and gets reeled in and clubbed over the head. How many of you feel like that? Like, “Hey, that’s just explains my life right there. Hey, look, I’m going boating. Oh no, I’m not. I’m clubbed over the head and now I’m a meal. It feels like a dragnet has come and just pull this off. How many of you feel that way about culture right now? Where things are going socially, morally, politically, it just feels like a net has captured us all and is just dragging us toward death. And we’re all just fish in the net and there’s no way to get out of it and it’s not gonna a good place. Hypothetically, some of you may feel that way. If you watch the news, I assure you, you will get there. Amen? That’s where we are. You’re like, “How do I get out of this net that is dragging me toward death with all the other fish?” He talks about the bad guys. “Therefore he sacrifices to his net.” This guy worships himself, he worships his job. He worships his strength, “and makes offerings to his dragnet for, by them, he lives in luxuries, his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?” He’s passionate. He’s very passionate. God can handle you. Okay? Some of you are very emotional. I’m emotional for a living. I mean, I’m a professional. Some of us are very emotional, we’re very passionate. We feel things very deeply. Let me tell you this, God can handle you. So you go to God and you tell him what you’re thinking and feeling. And let me tell you this, when you meet with God, you’re not gonna shock him. “God, I’m frustrated.” Like, “What? I had no idea. When you were throwing stuff and cursing, I thought you were fine.” God sees, God hears, God knows. God knows your heart, God knows your mind, God knows. So when you meet with God, you’re not bringing information to God that God doesn’t know, you’re inviting God into your situation, your frustration. So when we meet with God, it’s not to inform God it’s to invite God. That’s exactly what he’s doing. And what we learned from Habakkuk’s example, when he meets with God is number one, next slide, please. It’s important to accept reality. Some of you don’t live in reality, right? Some of you drive by it, but you don’t pump the brakes. You don’t live in reality. To deal with life, it’s helpful to live in reality. I oftentimes have this conversation with a marriage couple that’s in crisis. How’s it going? One will say great, the other will say horrible. One of them is not living in reality, amen? Or maybe they’re both not living in reality. It’s important to live in reality, but we have this culture where everything is supposed to be okay. Let me just cure you of that, amen? Let me just cure of that. How are you doing? You’re doing great. How’s everything? Fine. It’s bad, but it’ll get better. When God closes a door, he opens a window. The setback is the beginning of your comeback. I’ve had one guy tell me all of that while I laughed at him aloud. I don’t believe that. Okay? I believe in reality. I don’t believe in greeting card statements. I don’t believe in fortune cookie, pithy encouragements. I don’t believe in self-help, I need God’s help. That’s how bad it is. I deal with reality. Here’s what Habakkuk does, he looks at the situation. He looks at what’s going on and he uses some strong words to explain it. These are actual words that he uses to explain the world in which he lived and the experiences which he is having. Evil. We’ve lost that word. It’s really important to retain that word. Oh, well they’re not evil, they just have a different perspective. They do and their perspective is evil. We need to keep that word. It’s wrong, just good luck saying that. In our world, you know what you’re doing is wrong. There’s only one thing that’s wrong, and that’s for you to tell me that I’m wrong. No, that’s wrong. That’s wrong. That’s wrong. The question is, does God have a right to say no? Yes, God has a right to say no. Someone said all loving God would never say no. Really? ‘Cause a loving parent sure does. And God’s a Father, we’re pretty crazy kids, and if you never tell your kid, no, you hate him, and you’re gonna be at their funeral. God loves us enough to sometimes say, “No, that’s wrong, knock it off. I’ll pull out the wooden spoon and it’s come all the way down from heaven. It’s really gonna hurt, okay?” It says that some people are traitors. They will say that they belong to God, but they betray God. Traitors, these are people that you thought loved you and they betrayed you. They turned on you, even Jesus had a Judas. Wicked. We don’t use that word at all. We didn’t believe in that word. Well, that’s a big word. Yeah. Very important, wicked. Certain things are wicked. Certain people are wicked. Certain ideas are wicked. Meaning they are echoing Satan, they’re not echoing God. They lead to death not to life. They hurt, they don’t help. Rejoices and is glad. Now these people do these things and they get kazoos and cakes and throw parties and have parades. Can you imagine a world where people do wicked nasty things and have parades to celebrate? I know we can’t fathom that, but just in your imagination, conceive of a world where people do nasty things and throw parades. Okay? That being said rejoice and is glad, they get happy when they’re hurting people. They get happy when they’re conquering people. Some people are evil. Some people are like, “Everybody’s got a good heart.” No they don’t. That’s why you have a lock on your door. That’s why you have a gun in your drawer, right? That’s why you moved to Arizona so that you could shoot them if they come to your house. Okay? They live in luxury and they’re rich. How many of you, you work really hard, and the people that seem to have a lot more money, they didn’t get it in honorable ways, right? In our celebrity culture, you don’t need to have any character, create anything, help anyone or do anything to get rich. You just need to not wear enough clothes, take a photo of yourself and put it on the internet and then cash your check. It’s a weird, weird world. It’s a weird, weird world where sometimes the people that are living the most lavish lifestyles are some of the least godly people. Have you felt this? And you’re like, “God, what’s the deal? I love you. I serve you.” And how many of you know right now, if you just go public for team Jesus, lean over the plate and take one for the team. I love Jesus, I believe the whole Bible, and I want to live according to the biblical convictions. It will not increase your income. Are you aware of that? If you’re not aware of that, just feel tested and then tell me how it goes. That’s how it works. Yet, if you disobeyed God, you disavow God, you disregard God, oftentimes it’s very profitable. And these are people who are mercilessly killing, that’s what he says. They’re killing their kids, they’re killing their neighbors, they’re killing anyone who stands in their way. These people are wood chippers and they just keep loading up one human being after the other and running them through. That’s the way this world feels, right? This is not a loving, safe, healthy, joyful place to be. Some of you I’ve even talked to you. I love you, we’re glad to have you. You’re struggling with the concept of having children and bringing them into this world. It’s good to accept reality. You need to accept reality. You don’t have to be fine and everything’s not okay. And some of you are emotionally reticent to go to that place because you’re like, “Well, then I’m gonna freak out. I will for sure. I’m freaking out just thinking about thinking about it. That’s how freaked out I am.” Right? So how do you solve that problem of reality? His second thing is, remember God’s character. Your life has one of two options for a gravitational center around which everything orbits. Number one, your experience. Number two, the character of God. Those are the only two options you’ve got for the gravitational center of your life. If the gravitational center of your life, is your experiences, is in your feelings and your perspectives, you are in trouble. This is where when times are good, you are good. When times are bad, you are bad that even your view and perspective of God will just shift with your circumstances. Things are good, God is good. Things are bad, God is bad. I am struggling, God has left me, God hates me, I’m not a Christian, God doesn’t forgive me. Oh, I feel good, Okay, God loves me. God’s near to me, Jesus care. You’re gonna be an emotional roller coaster for all of your life. You’re gonna feel sick all the time, and eventually you’re just gonna walk away from Jesus to get off that ride, or God will be the center, the gravitational center of your existence. What you feel, what you experience, what you consider, what you want, what you desire will be interpreted in light of God’s character. It’ll be that unchanging gravitational center around which everything else orbits. Sometimes when we are feeling, we need to start thinking about who God is. And he reminds himself, “Okay, who’s God?” So when it feels like life is a snow globe and it gets shook and everything goes up, you got to say, okay, where’s God? Who’s God? And he tells us who God is, he says, God is eternal. He uses the language of everlasting. This is in God’s relation to time in history. That you and I live in time, we’re bound by time, we exist in time. We have a beginning and our life is chronologically experienced. God is eternal, he has no beginning or end. For us, this is impossible to fully conceive. This is a dimension or realm of reality in which we do not have access, but the God who created time, the God who lives apart from time is the God who rules over time, and the God who enters into time and the God who works in human history. When he’s showing us here with the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, this godless nation to which Habakkuk is referring is that God rules over all human history. You need to know that, you need to trust that. Kings and kingdoms, nations and rulers, people and movements come and go and God rules over them all That just because something is out of your hand does not mean it is out of his hand. That ultimately our God is over history and he is moving it all forward toward a destiny. In addition, he says that God is sovereign. He uses the language of Lord, that means the highest authority. That means that there is no one alongside of God. There is no one comparable to God. There is no one equal to God. There is no one like God. And when God wills, decrees and determines something, there is no one who can thwart God. That is good news. I’ll let you in on a little secret. It doesn’t matter how mighty, as long as we believe in the Almighty. The Almighty always beats the mighty and our God is Almighty. He is the Lord, he is the highest authority. There is no one above him, there is no one alongside of him. And Habakkuk is saying, “You rule over time and I know you’re in charge.” Number three, your personal. He’s not just a force, he’s a Father. He’s a dad who loves you. Says, this is my God. This is the same language that Jesus uses from the cross. My God, this is the same language I want you to use. My God. You’re not just eternal in this tremendous ruling force, your heart is that of a loving Father and you’re my God. You know every hair on my head, you know every longing of my heart, you know every fear of my mind, you know every day in my life. You’re the dad who knows and loves me. That’s amazing that God is so big that he can rule over all, and so intimate that he has a relationship that is personal, it’s affectionate, it’s present and it’s consistent. This is the goodness of God. If God is only in control, but he’s not good. Then we have the God of Islam. We have a God who is dictatorial and domineering, but not a dad. He is also holy. Habakkuk says that he is the holy one, and he says, quote, “Your eyes are pure than those to see evil and cannot look at wrong.” God is good. God is only good. God is always good. God is not evil. God is not evil. That is what he is saying. And when we look at life, we see good and evil, and we ask, is this a projection of God? No, it is a rejection of God. God is good, not evil. God is holy, not unholy. God is pure, not impure. You cannot allow your experience to define God, you allow God to interpret your experience. All that is not holy is against God, it is rebellious. It is in war against God. God is holy, God is good. Some of you know, some of you believe, some of you trust that God is powerful. That God is strong and God is in control, but if you do not believe that God is holy and God is good, you will not run to him, you will run from him. He’s also foreknowing, you have ordained, God knows the future. God not only knows the future, God rules the future. The Bible, when it was written, it was prophetic in nature in that, about 25% of this book was predicting future events in great historic detail because God knows the future, God rules the future, God is Lord over the future, and history is ultimately his story. That’s what it is. And by foreknowledge, what that means is God knows what is coming. God understands and ordains, meaning that he brings everything according to his purposes. Now you and I, to be sure we have something called free will. We make choices and we make decisions, but we make them my dear friend on a ship over which the Lord Jesus is the captain. There can be mutiny on the ship, there can be rebellion on the ship, there can be insurrection on the ship, but trust this, our good savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is at the helm, history is his ship. It will go in his direction as he is fore ordained, and he will safely get us to the port of his eternal kingdom. And in that promise, we can trust. We can trust. Ultimately, he says, you have ordained. What that means is, God knows tomorrow. You don’t need to know tomorrow, you need to trust the one who does. Things that you and I are experiencing are things that God already knows. I’ll give a admittedly limited illustration. So Gracie and I next month we’ll be married 25 years, which means I’m blessed, and she’s got a high pain tolerance. We’ve been together 25 years. And we kind of like to watch the same shows, and for us, it’s sort of that suspenseful drama, and if a bad guy gets killed, we’re pretty fired up. That’s the shows we watch. ‘Cause we read the Bible, we know the end and we’re getting ready, that’s all. So that being the case, we watch certain shows together and we wait for the other, so that we can enjoy it together. This is not a confession, this is an admission of guilt publicly, okay? I was on the road a while back traveling. I don’t remember where I was teaching, preaching, something. And I’m sitting in the hotel room, I’m just super tired. And I flip through the channels, just want my mind to get a break, and there’s one of our shows. The ones that we record and watch together, and I watched it. And Grace didn’t. ‘Cause she’s godly and I’m in process. So I watched it and then I get home and Grace is like, “Oh, let’s watch our show, our shows is on, we recorded it, let’s watch it. It’s gonna be great.” And we sat down and I was like, “Yeah, yay. Let’s watch the show, I’m so excited.” We’re watching the show and she’s like, “Oh my gosh, Oh fast forward through the commercials.” She’s like, “Why are you not freaking out? Why are you not?” And as I said, “I hate to tell you, I’ve already seen this episode.” “I’ve already seen this episode.” How many of you, the second time you watched the show, it’s not as emotionally stressful? Experience that? Or like a sporting event. Right?
– [Congregant] Yeah.
– You record it. “You know, I’m gonna go home and watch it,” and your friends are like, “Oh, they lost 24-7.” You’re like, “What? Come on.” Once you know the end, it changes the whole middle. Amen?
– [Congregation] Yeah.
– Every thing that you’re experiencing is an episode that God has already watched. That’s what foreknowledge means. So you’re in the middle of and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, God. Help.” He’s like, “I’ve seen this episode. It’ll be fine.” “How do you know?” “I’ve watched the whole season. I Netflix binged, I’ve seen all of this.” And faith is not knowing, but knowing the one who knows. Okay? That’s what he does. And he says, the God is a judge, he uses the word judgment. Some of you are justice people. My wife said, amen, I married a justice girl. Some of you are not justice people. You hear like God is sending people to heaven, you’re like, “He can’t do that, he’s loving, he’s nice. He’s kind, God can’t do that. Some justice people are like, “For sure, yeah. Yup, people are kindling, I’m fine with that.” Some of you are justice people and you don’t mind justice. How many of you don’t mind justice at all? You’re like, “Oh, guilty guy went to jail.” “Yay, go get the rest of them.” “People are going to hell.” “Cool. I don’t want to be with them anyways.” That’s a little cavalier, but how many of you are justice people? How many of you, you get frustrated when there’s no justice? You’re like, “Hey man, they stole, they didn’t repay. They’re guilty, they got off scot-free. What they’re saying is a lie, that’s not true. How come they don’t get justice?” God is a God of judgment. The Bible says that God has appointed a day upon which he will judge the world. That everyone will die. No one will give an account to a mirror, everyone will give an account to Jesus. He says in John five, that the Father has entrusted all judgment to the Son. No one is getting away with anything. God is keeping an account of everything. Some people think, “Well, God, hasn’t shown up and judge me, maybe there is no God, or maybe he doesn’t see me, or maybe he doesn’t care and maybe he grades on a curve.” Or maybe you’re just stacking your kindling for the fire, and he just hasn’t lit the match yet. God is a God of judgment. God has a right to say, no. God has a right to say you were wrong. God has a right to say, I love you, and if you don’t repent, relent and return, then you will burn. This isn’t said anymore. For this reason, fear of you, fear of you leaving, fear of you not giving, fear of you complaining, fear of you rebelling. I love you. My job is to tell the truth and your job is to make a decision. And it’s God’s job to judge. He will judge me, if I don’t tell you the truth and he will judge you, if you don’t receive it. In addition, God is creator, he said, “You make mankind.” Here’s a big statement. What it means is, we come from God, we belong to God. We will die and return to God. We will give an account to God that God is the gravitational center. That he is creator, that we are created. That all that we have and are is only to orbit around him. It only makes sense in relationship to him, it ultimately belongs to him. That God is creator. Now, this is an amazing set of statements about God. This is a man who is weeping and crying. He is mourning, he is frustrated, he is confused. He looks out at the world and then he reads the word, and he asks, “If you were the God of the world then where are you at work in the world?” That’s his question. Some of you have had that, some of you have that. Some of you it’s political. Some of you it’s financial. Some of you it’s very personal and practical, but as you look at your life or you look at the world, you wonder, God, if you are who you say you are, why are things the way they are? That’s it, that’s where it’s at. Accept the reality, remind yourself of who God is, and then his next point is incredibly helpful. This is the pivot point in the book. Meet with God. Meet with God. For me, this literally looks like scheduling time, silence, solitude, get my Bible, get my journal, get in my Jeep, go up in the mountains, get out of town. Let God know I’ve got a meeting scheduled. Let my wife and kids and everybody else know, pray for me. I’m gonna go get with the Lord. I want to talk to the Lord honestly and openly as he did. I want to hear from the Lord clearly, as he did. Certain things are not sinful, but they’re not helpful if they’re taking the place of going to God. Some of you freak out, some of you call friends, some of you post on social media, some of you pour yourself a drink, Some of you surf the internet, some of you watch TV. And the whole time God is like, we need to meet. We need to meet. We need to get together here. You need to talk to me. When’s the last time you got extended time to meet with God? To be really honest and to receive a word from God. And when you meet with God, if you want to receive a word from God, the best way to guarantee that happens, is to open the word of God. Here’s who I am, here’s where I’m at, here’s what I’m feeling, here’s what I’m struggling with, here’s what I’m fearful of. Okay, Lord, I’m gonna open your word and I want to receive a word from God, so I’m gonna open the word of God. God, we’re gonna meet together. We’re gonna work this out together. What’s amazing is that God is going to answer him after he’s met with God. I have never had one of these moments with God that I regretted or walked away without feeling hope. My wife can tell when I need these moments, because I have the spiritual gift of freaking out. Do any of you have the spiritual gift to freaking out? I could freak out. I’m really good at freaking out. Sometimes my wife would just look at me, she’s like, “You need to go away.” Now, what I appreciate is, she’s not saying forever. I appreciate that. What she’s saying is you need to go get time with God. There’s nobody you can talk to, there’s nobody you could meet with that’s gonna resolve or fix this. This is a God-sized problem, and you need a meeting with God. We’re heading into a monsoon season. I was flying in last night with my daughter, we went to Alaska for a few days as a fun daddy date, we’re flying back in and pilot comes on, “It’s monsoon season, enjoy the lightening and the turbulence.” We’re in a plane, right? And as you fly in, you see, okay, the storm is rolled in and here’s the thunder, here’s the rain, and here comes the strikes of lightning. And it’s amazing and it’s powerful. And it’s a little bit scary because if you’re walking around with an umbrella, you could be the lightning rod, amen? Here’s the point, when storms roll in, when monsoon season hits in your life, God has to be your lightning rod. Some of you keep blowing up friends and family. You want them to be your lightning rod. “I’m overwhelmed, I’m freaked out.” And they’re just like, “I can’t talk to you about this anymore. I don’t think I can help. In fact, I’m on fire and you blow me up with this issue. I can’t handle this much intensity.” God is the best lightning rod. When the storms hit, when the monsoon comes, when the lightning strikes, when you are frustrated, when you don’t know what to say or do, and all of that energy continues to be unleashed, get to God, he’s a great lightening rod. He’ll ground out the storm so that you don’t blow anyone or anything up, amen? Some of you, this is a word from God and your spouse appreciates it, okay? I, in the past have done this to Grace, When I try to make her my lightning rod, I put her in God’s place and I expect her to absorb all that I am experiencing, and as a result, I harm our relationship because she was not built for that. That’s what I need God for. That being said, here’s his meeting with God, “I will take my stand in my watch post and station myself on the tower.” He’s literally gonna go up. This is like a military outpost where you’re trying to get a different perspective and survey the land. “And look out to see what he will say to me and what he will answer concerning my complaint.” Here’s his meeting with God. Number one, get away. Get away. You’ve got laundry in your house, you got dishes at your house. The dog is shedding, the phone is ringing. The pool is turning green, at least at my house. And as a result, there’s a lot of distractions. Amen? And you’re watching the TV and surfing the internet and checking your phone, turn all technology off. Just so you know, there’s no cell coverage in heaven. When you get there, you won’t need it. You’ll be fine without it for a little while. My wife says, amen, the rest of you need to pray about that. You need to turn your phone off, turn your TV off, turn your radio off. You need to get out of your house. Find a quiet place to go, get away to get with God. Sometimes the reason we don’t hear God is the gods of hurry, worry, and busy are so overwhelming toward us, that they drown out the voice of God. So get away. Number two, be patient. What he says is I’m gonna get away and I’m gonna wait for God to talk to me. We don’t know when that might happen. How many of you like me, you’re not patient? Patients is a class I have flunked every year. It’s a class that I’m not very good in, so I keep retaking the class. I’m the guy who yells at the microwave, that’s me. That’s me. If you’re on the freeway going the speed limit, I wonder what is wrong with you? That’s me. That’s me. We planted a church and I was like, “Why do we not have seven already?” Because it’s been 15 minutes, that’s why. Everything that I want to happen, I want it to be like, God, I spoke it and it came into existence. I still wish I could do that, burrito, woo. you know, whatever. I really like burritos and I could use one right now. I’m not gonna lie to ya. The answer is always Jesus or burrito, whatever your struggles are, those are the two answers. So, can I get an amen? So yeah, Alright. So, at the end of the day, if you’re an impatient person, what God is saying is be patient. Now, here’s what happens. This is why you and I, we are impatient. We’re like, “God, I want an answer.” And God’s like, “I want a relationship,” but God, “I’m very busy, give me an answer.” God’s like, “I’m very important, give me a relationship.” “But God, if you would give me an answer, then my life would go better.” And God would tell you, “If I told you what I’m gonna do, I’m not sure you’d sleep tonight. So how about, I don’t tell you what I’m gonna do, but I tell you who I am and I work on the relationship. You don’t need to know the future, you just need to know who I am and that I go with you.” Took my 13 year old daughter to Alaska for a little daddy fun day, and the reason that she wasn’t stressed is because her daddy went with her. Whatever you’re heading into your Father goes before you, sometimes you don’t need an answer, you need a relationship with one who loves you and goes with you and if he knows what is gonna happen, you don’t need to know what is going to happen, you just need to take the hand and walk with the one who knows what’s going to happen. That’s patients. Oftentimes we want answers when God wants relationship. And oftentimes what we don’t need is an answer, we need the presence of God. Third thing, get away, be patient, be quiet. Habakkuk says, “I’m gonna stop talking and I’m gonna start listening.” Let’s stop talking, start listening. This is where you pray and then you’re done. Lord, I’m listening. You open the scriptures, Lord, speak to me. Holy Spirit reveal to me. God, I’m here to meet, I’m quiet. What I love is, he gets above. This is literally a physical and a spiritual change of perspective. It’s amazing in the Bible, sometimes when people meet with God, they go to a high place, they go up on a mountain. It’s literally to change their perspective. If you’re hiking and you’re out in the wilderness, let’s say up around Flag or Sedona or Payson or something like that, and you’re a little disoriented. I don’t know where I’m at, and I don’t remember where to go. What you do is you find the high place and then that changes your perspective. And then you see the topography. You’re like, “Okay, here’s where I’ve come from, here’s where I’m at, here’s where I need to go.” Oftentimes in life, we get seasons where we’re just kind of lost in the woods. I’m like, “God, I don’t know where I’m supposed to go here. I am confused.” Get above it, look down on it. Get God’s perspective. That’s what Habakkuk is doing. The easiest way to do that is literally to get away with God and to open the word of God, to get the perspective of God. That being said, there’s an analogy that some years ago, some old preachers would use, I find it helpful. I’ve shared it with you before, but it’s really served me well, I’ll share it again. It comes from, is it knitting or weaving? Weaving. I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m not an expert on either of those activities, right? Like nothing I’m wearing have I knitted or woven? I’ll just tell you that. Okay? So when it comes to weaving this old analogy and I’ve seen my grandma, my mom, my daughters do some weaving. So you get all the threads and they need to be assembled by someone who’s a craftsman and has a vision of symmetry in order and beauty. So what do they use to hold all of the threads? A loom and they’re knitting, they’re pulling everything together. Now, if you look from under the loom, you pick it up. When you look at it from the bottom, what does it look like? It’s a disaster. That’s a good interpretation of what you experience. It’s a mess, there’s no picture, there’s no coherence, there’s no beauty. I see threads, I see colors, I see knots. I don’t see like any indication that anyone knows what the heck they’re doing. This is ugly, this makes no sense. This is a waste of time and money and energy. That’s how life feels under the loom. God are you here? Are you doing anything? All I see is an absolute disaster. Get above the loom, the perspective changes. Oh, that’s beautiful, I see how that all goes together. Boy, someone really knows what they’re doing here. I see beauty and I see symmetry, I see intentionality. All of us live under the loom. All of us live under the loom. And when we meet with God, we open the word of God. We’re in the presence of God. He’s gracious enough to sometimes give us a moment to look down on the loom from his perspective. Oh, so that’s why that happened, and that’s how that works with that and yeah, that was something that was cut off but then it was knotted and now it’s connected and it’s beautiful and God, you knew exactly what you’re doing, I should have been trusting you the whole time. Let me tell you this, the Lord Jesus is alive and well. He’s high and exalted, he’s seated on a throne. He’s on the other side of the loom. He’s knitting together history, including your life and destiny, he knows exactly what he is doing. And when you were seated with him, you will be smiling and rejoicing because your faith will be signed, but between now and then you need to trust him. You need to trust him. That’s what happens when Habakkuk meets with God. And then when he meets with God, he is told to open the word of God and study the kingdom of God. I’ve got a lot of texts today, I’m gonna roll through the second half fairly quickly, Habakkuk 2:2-5, “And the Lord answered me,” here’s what I want you to know. If you will be honest with God, if you will meet with God, if you will open the word of God, God will meet with you. And God will give you a response. It may not be exactly what you were wanting, but it’ll be exactly what you were needing. “And the Lord answered me, write the vision, make it plain on tablets.” He’s giving Habakkuk a vision for the kingdom that is written in the word of God, “so that he may run who reads it for still the vision awaits its appointed time.” It’s not yet time, but the time is coming. “It hastens to the end, it will not lie.” God says you can trust me. When I tell you that the King Jesus is coming and the kingdom of Jesus is coming, it is coming at the appointed time. That is my time, not your time. Trust me in the meantime, that’s what he’s saying. “Behold, his soul is puffed up. He’s talking about the arrogant person,” the self righteous person, the self-sufficient person. “It is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by faith.” Do not trust yourself, trust God. Do not trust what you see, trust that he sees what you do not see. Do not trust in what you think you know, trust the one who knows all. It is pride, faith in me or trust faith in him and the righteous live by faith. We trust God till we see God, we trust what God is doing until we see what God has done. “More over wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wild as Sheol, like death he never has enough. He gathers for himself, all nations and collects as his own all people.” God meets with Habakkuk, and he says, “Dear son, there are two things, there is culture and there is kingdom.” And when you look out at culture, when you look out at culture, he has these markers, addiction, wine is a traitor. Pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, anxiety and stress trying to be Lord over my own life, and greed, only wanting to profit myself, by causing pain to others. We are two and a half thousand years removed from this experience, but because the human heart and the human condition and the culture that emanates from us is unchanged, we have the same experience. We have this arrogant notion that we are highly of old people, that they were primitive, that we are advanced. We are just as proud, we’re just as arrogant, we’re just as self-righteous, we’re just as drunk. We’re just as rebellious, we’re just as needy, we’re just as foolish as anyone has ever been. History is not a line of evolution upward, it is a circle, it is a cul-de-sac and every foolish generation drives around it thinking that they’re making progress, doing the same stupid things as their parents and their grandparents and their great grandparents. And that’s a fact Jack, that’s the way that it is. And what he says here is the only way out is faith. If you look out at the culture and you read the word of God, you’ll have nothing but despair and frustration and hopelessness. And the question is, are things going to change? Will it ever get better? He says, yes, there is. You need a vision for the kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus is a King, he rules and reigns over a kingdom that he taught us to pray, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We’re waiting by faith, the second coming of our King, the Lord Jesus, we’re awaiting the coming of his kingdom. We’re waiting the justice and judgment. We’re waiting the day when fools are not winning and worshipers are not weeping, and we wait by faith until we see that day. That’s exactly what he’s telling him. He’s saying son, look at the kingdom, look at the culture. When you look at the culture, you will have grief, when you look at the kingdom, you will have hope. Here’s what I want you to know, if you are a Christian my dear friend, you are a citizen of the kingdom, not of the culture. This world is not your home. This world in its wisdom does not know God. The world and all of it’s foolishness is passing away. What that means is this life is lived in enemy territory. We are not to retreat, we’re not to surrender. We are not to wave a white flag. We are not to join the enemies team. We are to keep our eyes on our King. We are to keep our feet moving toward his kingdom. And ultimately by faith, we trust that our King is coming, that his kingdom is coming and all of the shenanigans, the foolery, the nonsense, the evil, the injustice, the oppression, the self righteousness and the false hope that absolutely grips this fallen, corrupted, horrific world will be broken when the King returns and the kingdom is unveil. That’s the hope, that’s the hope. If you lose sight of the King and the kingdom, you will lose hope in this life. Our hope is not in you or me or us, but in him. And it’s not in the world, it’s the world we don’t see the world that is coming, that’s where the hope lies. When you know the end, you live differently until the end. Jesus wins and everyone with him is to throw a party forever, that’s called the kingdom of God. So then there’s more, what do you do in the meantime? ‘Cause I just told you, it’s gonna be awesome, at some very distant point perhaps in the long future. So you’re like, “Okay, well between now and then, what do I do?” That’s why Christians read books on the rapture. They’re like, “Can we leave yet? Are we done? It sounds awesome. Where do I get my one way ticket? Come on, first class to Jesus, woo-hoo. What do you do in the meantime? In the meantime, it’s life. What do you do? So I don’t know about you, heaven? When I was really young, people talk to me about heaven I’d be like, “Oh, I don’t know, I’ve got a life to live.” Now that I’m on the other side, it’s not even half time in my life. The band has taken the field. I’m closer to heaven than I am to my mother’s womb. I’m like, “Sounds awesome, can’t wait to get there. Since I’m already most of the way there, if you come now, Jesus that’s awesome.” What do you do in the meantime? Worship and taunt. How many of you weren’t expecting the second one? Worship includes taunting. People mock God. God is not to be mocked. Taunting is kind of a little bit, sort of a bit like mocking the other team. How many of you were jocks or you’re athletes or you’re not athletes, but you’re fans and you go to games and what happens is their team takes the field your team takes the field. For your team you’re cheering, for their team your jeering. And what happens at these games, and I’ll read this to you and I’ll explain it. Habakkuk 2:6-8, here’s what God says, “Shall not all these take up their taunt,” he teach him how to taunt, “against him with scoffing and riddles.” Okay, let me explain this to you, ’cause you wouldn’t understand this in seminary, but if your dad hung drywall like my dad and your dad drove a truck and wore boots and watched sporting events and yelled at them, this would make perfect sense, so let me explain this to you. So you guys help me, what happens at a sporting event, two teams take the field, the outcome is undetermined. You’re in the middle of it. You’re rooting for your team and you’re jeering their team, while you’re cheering your team. And what happens is they play music, the worst music of all time. Because it’s music we can all sing along with. And so you, help me okay, so let’s say it’s a baseball game, the pitcher goes in, gets totally lit up, gets just shellacked. The coach comes out, takes the ball, sends him into the bullpen, head’s down, his mom turns the game off, it’s that bad right? On the loudspeakers comes this song, I cannot sing it, so please help me. ♪ Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey ♪ ♪ Goodbye. ♪ That’s a taunt. That’s a taunt. How about this one? This is the special one, all of you hockey fans. We could tell because you don’t have teeth or books, we could tell you’re hockey fans. Well, that was true and insensitive. All of your hockey fans okay? So when your team is on the ice and their team is on the ice, they play Queen. Queen, you know the song? What’s the song? All of you Christian school kids are like, “I don’t know, I don’t know.” It’s on something called the internet, you can search for it. What happens is the song from Queen plays. ♪ We will, we will ♪ ♪ Rock you ♪ Not impressive, not impressive at all. We gotta do that again, okay? ♪ We will, we will ♪ ♪ Rock you. ♪ Okay, that’s a taunt, that makes you feel better like we’re gonna win, you’re gonna lose, and we know it because we’re singing the Queen song. That’s how it is, that’s a taunt. And so what God is saying is between the time that you get a vision for the kingdom and you get an entrance into the kingdom is the time for singing until you see the victory of team Jesus. And part of that is we sing to glorify God. It’s an act of faith. We’re professing things that have not yet come into existence. It’s also to heal us and to give us hope. But in addition, it is to proclaim to the powers, principalities and spirits, to the dark and demonic forces at work in this world that we trust in Jesus, that we believe in Jesus, that we’re waiting for Jesus, that Jesus will win. That Jesus will reign and that everyone and everything that stands in his way will ultimately be defeated and conquered and team Jesus wins in the end. That’s what we say when we worship. That being said, it’s a series of five woes. When God woes you, you are in trouble, amen? And what a woe is, it is a prophetic utterance that unless you turn from sin and trust in him, then what you are sowing, you are reaping. Like a boomerang, what you are sending, you will be receiving. This shows that God sees and knows all, and no one is getting away with anything that God is keeping account of everything. “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own.” People are stealing things that are not their own. It could be blue collar where he breaks the window and take it. It could be white collar where you figure out a way to fudge the books. “And loads himself up with pledges.” You’re indebted to others, others are indebted to you, and you know that you’re not good for any of this. “Will not your debtors suddenly arise and then those who awake will be making you tremble. You will be spoiled for them.” He goes on to say, “Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the people shall plunder for you for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.” Here’s what he’s saying. Everyone who rebels against God and collects all of their stuff, they’re just getting it organized for your inheritance. Then ultimately God will take everything that has been taken and he will give it to his children, it’s a promise. It’s something for you and I to understand that we do not store up our treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, we store up our treasure in heaven. That ultimately this life is very short and eternity is very long and God’s gifts are very generous, and you and I need to know that this is as bad as it gets. And for us, if you’re a Christian, let me tell you this, this is as close to hell as you’ll ever be. Amen? If you’re a non-Christian, this is this close to heaven as you’ll ever be. My job is to tell the truth, your job is to make a decision. Are you on or off team Jesus? Then if you’re on team Jesus, ultimately he’s coming back, everything belongs to him. He’ll take it all back and distribute it to his kids. He’s generous with his inheritance. He goes on next, woe. “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, sets his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm. You’ve devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples, you have forfeited your life for the stone will cry out from the wall and the beam from the woodwork to respond. What he’s saying is, when a bird wants to be safe, they find the highest tree and that’s where they set up their nest. Today, we would call it attorneys, security detail. We would set up our finances with a team of lawyers and PR help and the staff, and we try to get ourselves as high up as we can. And when Jesus comes back, it doesn’t matter how high your nest is. He is above you and you will give an account to him. That ultimately there is no one who is beyond the justice of God, there is no one beyond the reach of God. There is no one beyond account to God. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, how strong you are, how powerful you are, how many dollars you’ve got in the bank, or how many lawyers you’ve got on speed dial. Ultimately, when Jesus comes, none of that helps you in any way. The next woe. “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity. Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that people labor merely for fire and nations worry themselves for nothing for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” what he says is son, you look out right now, all you’re gonna see is tyranny, injustice, oppression, evil, war, cities are marked by violence. Nations are marked by violence, but when Jesus comes all there will be, is viable teaching, there will be truth where there is lies. There will be life where there is death. There will be healing where there is brokenness. When the King comes, this will be dealt with in an instant. The next woe. “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink.” How relevant is this? Not everything that stays in Vegas is ultimately factual. Some things that happen in Vegas, go to Jesus. We tend to have this myth that I can drink, sleep around, do what I want. We’ve got a whole nation of single people dating, relating, and fornicating. And everybody thinks God hasn’t shown up and said or done anything, must not be a problem. Here’s what God says, “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink and pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness. You will have your fill of shame instead of glory.” Right now, there are certain things that are glorified that are shameful. There are certain things that are paraded, it should be repented of. “Drink yourself and show your uncircumcision.” I would explain what that means, but I have to fire myself, but that’s pretty strong language. “The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you.” That’s the cup of judgment. “And utter shame will come upon your glory. The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you as will the destruction of the beasts that are terrified of them for the blood of man and violence of the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.” There’s a lot of people right now saying either there is no God or he doesn’t care because I drink what I want, I do what I want. I sleep with whom I want and we celebrate it. So God must tolerate it. Woe, the day is coming. It’s important to take our sin as seriously as our God does. God is love, and he loves his kids enough to warn them of harm. And this has God’s way of warning us, that the way of the world is the way of death and that when Jesus returns, and the kingdom is unveiled, these things won’t be happening. Nobody’s drunk in the kingdom. Nobody’s living with their boyfriend or girlfriend or boyfriend and girlfriend in the kingdom. No one is stealing from one another in the kingdom. No one is beating one another in the kingdom. No one is robbing one another in the kingdom. If we are citizens of the kingdom, as we live in the culture, we need to live by the values of the kingdom, not the corruption of the culture. It continues. “What profit is an idol, when its maker is shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies?” We would call it perspective, he would call it lies. “For its maker trust in his own creation, when he makes speechless idols. Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, awake to a silent stone, arise, can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver and there’s no breath in it at all.” Here’s what he’s saying. We’re all continually on the ceasingly, passionate worshipers. You were made as a worshiper. You pour yourself out. You devote yourself to someone or something that is the center of your life, the source of your identity. It is the place of your hope. And it is one of two things, it’s the creator or the created. If it’s the creator, you are a worshiper. If it’s the created, you’re an idolater. It’s one of the great themes of scripture. And what we do is we live for someone or something that is created. We live for our spouse and we destroy them. We live for our children and we destroy them. We live for our job and it destroys us. We think that whose name is on our genes and what car that we drive and how big our house is, and whether it’s in Scottsdale or Buckeye actually determines our value. The result is that we pour ourselves out. We offer ourselves as a sacrifice. We lay our health, our joy, our relationships, our time with God and our integrity on the altar to be slaughtered. So that the created thing that we live for and long for gets all of our devotion and affection. And the real God comes along and says, an idol is a good thing in God’s place, which makes it a bad thing. My wife is a treasure, my children are a joy. This church is a blessing, my job is a gift. And if I make any good things, God things, I destroy all things. Idolatry is where you live for someone or something other than Jesus. And, or you use Jesus to get someone or something. We don’t worship God to get something, we worship God because to us, he’s everything. So what do you do? “But the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before him.” God says, how about if I get the last word? In our day, I don’t know about you, it’s so frustrating. Something happens and then everyone’s got their interpretation of what happened. You could turn on three news channels and get four opinions of what just happened. I don’t even know what happened. Because everyone wants to have the last word. God gets the last word. When Jesus comes back, he’ll say, “This was right, this was wrong. They’re Christian, they’re not. I accept this, I reject that.” Some of you would be like, “I have something to say.” Actually, you don’t. The only person that gets the last word is God, everybody else is to be silent. That he sits in his holy temple, above the loom. He sees and knows exactly what he’s doing. I’m way over time but that doesn’t mean anything. What I want to do now… That’s not a repentance, that’s just an acknowledgement. Here’s how I view it. If you’re gonna get up, if you’re gonna get into your car, if you’re gonna get dressed, if you’re gonna come to a building where the air conditioning is broken and I’m sweating like Mike Tyson in a spelling bee, then I want to make it worth your time. So give me a few more minutes, and what I mean by that is hours. So lastly, here’s the question that Habakkuk has. This is one of the great questions in all of human history. If God is all powerful, all knowing and all good, why is there suffering and evil? If this were a test you were taking, you could check one of these boxes. A, there is no God, that’s atheism, there’s no God. Oftentimes this position is arrived at through pain. After the Holocaust, Israel became one of the most atheistic nations on the earth. I don’t know if you knew that? After the Holocaust, there were a lot of Jewish people who said, because of what we suffered, we have come to the conclusion, there is no God. That may be an answer but that’s not a comfort. That’s why people who hold the atheistic position, they become depressed and suicidal oftentimes. One of the greatest atheistic philosophers in the history of the world, I’m quoting from memory. He says, life is brutish, nasty and short, what’s so what? That may be an answer but it’s not a comfort. One of the great atheistic philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche at the end of his life, lost his mind and was tended to by his Christian mother, who kept hers. God is not all powerful, we’ll call that finite godism. God wants to help but he just can’t. He’s like the soldier that went into battle and he lost the war. He’s like the firefighter that ran into the building, but he couldn’t rescue those who were in flames. God is good, God cares, God tries but he lacks the strength. He’s finite, he’s not infinite. He’s limited, he’s not unlimited. That may be an answer but it’s not a comfort. That means the Satan demons and evil are more powerful than God. God is not all knowing, God’s like us. I’ll call this evolutionary godism. There’s a false Christian teaching called open theism that says, God’s like us, he’s in history. Here he comes, he doesn’t know what’s gonna happen. He’s really overwhelmed, he’s surprised, he’s shocked, he’s learning. He’s doing his best. History is a tennis game, and he doesn’t know where the ball is coming from. He’s just responding as best as he’s able, but he can’t. He can’t win because he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know the future. He doesn’t know what’s gonna happen. Habakkuk just told us the exact opposite. Habakkuk has told us, there is a God, he’s powerful and he knows the future and he four ordains the future. Someone say, God is not good, this is pantheism or panentheism. All is God or all is in God. This is the God of Star Wars. The force, the force is good and evil, right? How many of you have seen that? Eastern religious symbol, it’s a circle part black part white, the yin and yang. The good and evil are part of the same hole. That’s not the God of the Bible. God is good not evil. God is light not darkness. God is only an altogether good. He says, God, you’re the holy one. Someone said there’s no suffering and evil. Buddhist would say there’s no suffering. Some who I would call subjectivist or pluralist. I’m using a lot of big isms today. They would say, well, there’s not right and wrong, there’s just perspective and interpretation and cultural valuation. And you have your truth and I have my truth and you have your right and I have my right and you have your wrong and I have my wrong, and who are you to say that anyone’s right or wrong? And God says, I do. I made you and I declared and decreed good and evil, right and wrong, darkness and light. And there is my son and there is Satan and there is a difference and they lead to life or death. So here’s the Christian answer with what’s left of my voice. Here’s Habakkuk’s answer. Habakkuk told us, there is a God who’s powerful, knows all, is good. There is suffering and evil, and this is the conclusion that God brings him to. God is not done yet to live by faith and not by sight. That’s biblical Christianity. Live by faith not by sight because God is not done yet. In the middle of a movie, it would be wrong of you to stand up and say, I know where this ends, I hate the story. Wait to see what happens. Usually in every good film, there’s a surprise ending and aha moment. Didn’t see that coming, it all worked out, that was amazing. That’s the story of the Bible. And we see the beginning of the unveiling of the King and the kingdom and the way that he works at the cross of Jesus. Jesus is humble, other people are proud. Jesus is holy, other people are unholy. Jesus is obedient, other people are disobedient. Jesus is poor, other people are rich. Jesus is a virgin, other people are not, and it looks like they are winning and he is losing. His friend betrays him. He has falsely accused, falsely tried, falsely judged, wrongly beaten, executed. The worst thing was done to the best person in the history of the world. It looks like evil is winning. It looks like the kingdom of God is losing. It looks like all hope is lost and then God dies. And the skies grew dark and the women are weeping and the followers are befuddled and hope is gone. Darkness covers the land. And then the King comes and Jesus conquers Satan, sin, death, hell and the wrath of God. Jesus walks away from his tomb in triumph and victory. Here’s our King marching in his victory. Here’s our King marching in his majesty. Here’s our King marching in his glory. And he ascends into heaven and he is alive and well today. I promise you, as certain as you sit in that seat, he sits on his throne. He sees all, he knows all, he is coming again to judge the living and the dead. When the King comes, your faith will be sight. When the King comes, your hopes will be fulfilled. Your joys will be satisfied and all the tears will be wiped from your eyes. That King is coming and that kingdom is coming. And until we see him, we trust him because the righteous live by faith. Lord Jesus, thank you so much that I get to teach your word. It’s amazing. God, we need to hear from you. If all we hear from is this world, we have no hope. When we hear from you, we have hope. Lord God, please infuse these dear people whom I love with hope that there is a King, that there is a kingdom. That there’s a great reversal. There’s a surprise ending. There’s an aha moment. And until we see it by faith, we need to trust it. Holy Spirit, for those who are here and they have questions or objections, please give them faith in the Lord Jesus. For those who are here, Lord God and they have felt fearful to be open about their faith. I pray that they would have confidence that you will be their defender and help them to explain the hope that we have, even in the face of opposition, Lord, for those who are mature believers, and they find that they’re in a turbulent season, I pray that they would grow in faith in a deeper and newer and fresher way. Lord, for all who are struggling or suffering, those who are fearful or frustrated, God, we don’t need answers, we need your presence. Holy Spirit, we invite your presence. We invite you to be in our midst. We pray that you would create this to be a holy place where we might enjoy your good presence. Would you heal our hurts? Would you fix our fears? Would you release our burdens? And Lord, as we come to take communion, remember the victory of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. As we come to sing, God, we sing so that you could get glory. We sing that we would have hope and we sing as a proclamation against the powers, principalities and spirits against the demonic and evil forces at work in the world that are mocking our God. As we worship, we mock them in the name of Jesus, amen.