June 13, 2021 | Rick Atchley

Hard Faith

This three week study using the book of Habakkuk explores the kind of faith that is hard to come by, and the kind of faith that will sustain you when hard times come by.


Discussion Questions


WatchListen

Welcome To The Hills, if you're in person at interracial, Worth South Lake Campus or watching online. I'm particularly glad you're with us today because we're beginning a series that I think has a significant impact for your faith development. But first, I want to say thank you. I announced last Sunday that my wife and I were celebrating our 40th anniversary. We took a trip, we had a wonderful time and during the week, we received so many

Any thoughtful Expressions words of kindness and affirmation notes, text emails. It was really really sweet. There was only one awkward thing about it and that is we got several comments of y'all don't look old enough to have been married for 40 years. What's your secret? You see, I've reached that stage in life, for almost every compliment I get is followed by, for someone your age, any nice thing. The doctor says to me for someone your age, I played golf last week with the stranger on the

Dean told he said you really hit the ball. Well for someone your age. Well, it's true. That when you get to a certain age you have to take in mind. How can I appropriately? Stay as healthy as possible. So let me tell you what I've done. I started at workout program for someone my age that I think will help you too so I started by getting to 5-pound potato sacks and here was the go to hold them arms fully extended out.

For one solid minute, it was hard, a stranger chest cavities, your abs, but I got after two weeks for I could do that for one minute. Then I graduated to a 10-pound potato sack, same thing only this time, it took about two months, but I got to where I can, hold it out straight for one minute. Then I went to a 20-pound potato sack and I don't want to tell you how long it took but got to where I could hold it out for one straight minute. Now. Here's

Next thing you do put a potato in each sack. Okay, that makes it a lot harder.

The point is you never reach a stage in life where you don't need to try to stay as fit as you can and you never reach a stage in life where you don't need to exercise your faith.

Now Faith is easy when life is up into the right, but easy faith. Will let you down when life takes you down and life will, but isn't it? True. The people that have had the greatest impact in your life. Are not people who had an easy life.

We're at was almost always just up and to the right the people that have had the greatest impact on your life are the people who exercised hard faith.

Now, what do I mean by hard faith? I'm talking about the kind of faith that is hard to come by and the kind of faith that will sustain you. When hard times come by

So I thought after the season that we've been through, it would be good for us to take a short few weeks and just talk about faith. When it's been hard, what we're going to do for three weeks is, we're going to look at a book in the Old Testament called The Book of habakkuk. Now, the first thing you must do to study the book of habakkuk is find it, okay? It's next to the book called neihu, which

Clay, did it help you at all? Now habakkuk is considered in the Old Testament to be one of the Minor Prophets not because he's less important. It just means his book is short. It's only three chapters and I would encourage you every day for the rest of the month just take 10 to 15 minutes and read the book of habakkuk.

and the first thing you're going to notice when you do is that he is not like any of the other prophetic books for one reason, he never addresses the people, all the other prophetic books, talk to the people

But I'll back, it does it because her backups. Biggest problem is not with the people, it's with God.

It's with God's in action regarding the way the people are acting. He cannot understand why God tolerate so much Injustice in the nation that habakkuk loved so much. So look at the very first verses of chapter 1. How long Lord must like all for your help but you do not listen or cry out to you violence but you do not save. Why do you make me look at Injustice? Why do you tolerate? Wrongdoing, destruction, and violence are before?

There is strife and conflict abounds, their law is paralyzed, Justice. Never prevails the wicked him in the righteous so that Justice is perverted. Now, let me set the context. We saw last series that God rescued the Hebrew people from Egyptian bondage, they entered the land called Canaan, and they formed a new nation, Twelve Tribes, but one nation called Israel and they were one nation called Israel for hundreds of years.

Years. But then after King, Solomon died, the nation split into two separate Nations, the northern 10 tribes kept the name Israel. The southern two tribes took the name, Judah, and both kingdoms went into a decline in their spiritual Vitality, apostasy idolatry Injustice. The northern kingdoms decline. It was quicker, God judged them by sending a nation.

To Syria. They were taken captive, and they disappeared from the world sing. Now habakkuk was born after that.

He's a prophet to the southern Kingdom and he seen them do the same things that ruin the northern kingdom everywhere. He turns, he sees, Injustice and cruelty, and the much evil.

And that's why his faith is struggling.

This is not new.

The problem of evil has challenged the faith of many. I bet you've talked to somebody who said the reason, I don't believe in God is because there's too much evil in the world.

Here's the irony.

All the evil in the world is one reason why I believe in God.

Because evil is only a problem if God exists.

If God doesn't exist. Why do you have a problem with the existence of evil?

Richard Dawkins well-known atheist author in his book, River out of Eden, a darwinian view of life. He wrote this, the total amount of suffering per year in the natural world, is beyond all decent contemplation in a universe of blind, physical forces and genetic replication. Some people are going to get hurt. Other people are going to get lucky and you won't find any Rhyme or Reason in it. Nor any justice, the universe that we observe.

Precisely the properties. We should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference

Now that worldview, does it give me a lot of meaning but I love the intellectual honesty. If there is no benevolent, deity behind everything. If this is just a mechanistic universe and you're just a cosmic accident, you should expect life.

To be cruel random.

And unfair.

But that's not habakkuk.

He is sure of the existence of God. He's also sure the character of God, but that's where his faith is struggling. He says, in chapter 1, verse 12 Lord, are you not from Everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You Lord have appointed him to execute judgment. You my rock have ordained him to punish your eyes are too, pure to look on evil, not watch the tension.

You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? God, you are, holy God, you are good. God you are powerful. God, you are The Rock.

So what do you do when you believe in the Rock but life has rocked you?

I'm going to use this light in every sermon. We need a faith that will sustain us when we're between the rock and a hard place.

And that's where a lot of us have been the last 15 months in a hard place. We have been in a place where easy Faith just won't cut it.

Now, I grew up with easy faith.

I don't really remember the first 20 years of my life. Any significant event that challenged my faith very much at all.

And then I became a preacher, I'm 21 years old.