Introduction: 485 years ago an Augustinian monk in Germany stumbled onto Romans 1:17. He had read it many times before but this time he finally understood. The just shall live by faith. He underlined the word faith and in the margin of his Bible wrote the famous words that were to be echoed throughout the rest of his life and the centuries after. Those words were 'Sola Fide', or faith alone, and the man was Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation. We all owe a debt to this man who not only believed the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, but also preached it faithfully not regarding his own life. We still remember that when asked to deny his faith he would not. 'Here I stand', Luther declared. And in God's providence we stand here because he stood there. But the Christian church at large has strayed from many of the reforms that were sparked by Luther's discovery of 'Faith Alone'. As a result wickedness is once again rampant in the church. We also remember Jonathan Edwards. The man who sparked the Great Awakening in our own country 223 years after Luther with the sermon entitled, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God'. In that sermon Edwards preached that God is Holy, Sovereign, and Just. But He also preached in that sermon that the way to escape God's anger is through faith alone. A great revival swept through the colonies that called the church away from its sin. But now 262 years later we have drifted back to the same worldliness that was in the church in Luther's day and in Edwards' day. What does this have to do with Habakkuk? Habakkuk lived in a time like ours. He looked back on the lives of Heroes of the faith. Perhaps he looked back on Josiah the young King who just a few years before had rediscovered the Law and led Israel in a great revival.
I. The Times Of Habakuk
A. The Reforms of King Josiah I Kings 13:1-2, 33-34
1. Removed the Idols and Altars
2. Repaired the Temple
3. Recovered the Law
4. Reinstituted the Passover
B. The drifting of the people of God
1. Replace God
2. Renovate the church
3. Remove the Word of God
4. Repudiate the ordinances instituted by Christ
C. The need for a modern Reformation
1. Return to God
2. Reverence the place of Worship
3. Rediscover God's Word
4. Regard the ordinances as meaningful
II. The questions of Habakkuk
A. Why Do Good Things Happen To Bad People?
B. Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?
C. The relevance of these questions for today. Questions taken from: James Montgomery Boice, The Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), pp. 75-76
1. Questions from the past century
a. Evolution or Creation?
b. Is the Bible the word of God?
2. Modern Personal Questions
a. Who am I?
b. Why am I here?
c. What is the meaning of life?
3. Modern Historical Questions
a. What is History?
b. What is God's involvement in history?
c. Why is there evil in history?
d. Why doesn't God do something about wickedness?
e. How can I believe in a loving, personal God when He allows bad things to happen to me?
III. The praises of Habakkuk
A. God is Holy
B. God is Sovereign
C. God is Just
D. God is Gracious to those who trust in Him
Conclusion: The times of Habakkuk are remarkably similar to the times we live in. We both remember the reforms of our ancestors. We both live in societies that seem to have forgotten those reforms. We both ask the questions, 'Why do the wicked prosper?', and 'Why do God's people suffer?' But we also have the same God who is Holy, sovereign, just, and gracious. We both have the same Gospel, 'The just shall live by faith alone.' To God alone be the glory. Amen.