Take a second and read all of Habakkuk chapter 3. It’s 19 verses, so it shouldn’t take very long. Go ahead… Now. What sticks out to you? What was confusing? What made sense? What do you think the theme of the chapter is?
Okay, let’s take a closer look at the chapter now. Before we dive in though, remember back to the chart we’ve been looking at over the last month. Here’s a brief summary: Chapter 1 was that moment when Habakkuk had a “crisis of belief.” Chapter 2 was when Habakkuk was stuck waiting in a season of doubt.
Now, go back and reread Habakkuk 3:1-2.
Based on this verse (especially the beginning half of verse 2), how would you describe Habakkuk’s relationship with God? Do you think his ability to trust God’s future promise was a result of the depth of this relationship? Why or why not?
Describe a time when God gave you hope through something amazing He did in the life of another person.
Now, take a second and read Habakkuk 3:3.
When he stopped and took a second to look at the physical world around him, Habakkuk saw how “The Lord’s splendor covered heavens and the earth was full of his praise.”
Describe a time when, like Habakkuk, you were “awed” by God’s creation.
Do you feel like your relationship with God changed through this experience? If so, how?
Now, skip down to verses 17-19. Take a second and read over them. Even in the midst of what seemed like a hopeless situation, Habakkuk still expressed his unrelenting faith and trust in the Lord.
Has there ever been a time in your life when God seemed to give you joy even though the circumstances around you seemed hopeless?
Over the past month, we’ve seen Habakuk move from utter hopelessness (chapter 1) to overwhelming joy and trust in God (chapter 3). Are there any areas of your life would you like God to take you from hopelessness to joy? What are those areas?
For those of you that don’t keep up with the liturgical calendar, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of the Lent season. The 40 (or 46 depending on if you count Sundays) day period in which we, as believers, contemplate our need for redemption and repentance.
Lent, as a tradition, has incredible depth. It has its place. It has its meaning. But for some reason, over the years, I’ve noticed that Ash Wednesday has become the day in which scores of American teenagers will commit to giving up their social media accounts, coffee, Coca-Cola, PlayStation, or Netflix for a month.
Why? Because the overarching message of Ash Wednesday, although not intentional, can become – We’ve got to give up some things, let some things go, or “sacrifice” some things in order to earn God’s approval.
Its as if without even trying, we’ve unintentionally let the message of Lent be a message of sin management.
Parents, this year, spend some time during Lent talking to your teenagers about grace. Spend some time talking to them about how no matter what we give up, let go off, or “sacrifice” – we don’t have to earn God’s approval. Once we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, He can’t love us any more or any less.
This week at Echo we continued our discussion through the book of Habakkuk by working through chapter 2. The theme of this chapter, if you’ve never read it, could be described in one word – wait.
To help us “wrestle” through Habakkuk’s period of waiting on God to reply to his complaints, here are some questions for deeper discussion:
1) To say that Habakkuk had a really hard time understanding why God would use the evil Babylonian nation to punish Israel for its sins would be a bit of an understatement. What are some things about the way the Lord works that you have a hard time understanding?
2) When your relationship with God gets tough (or difficult), which do you find yourself doing: 1) Seeking Him deeper; 2) Running from Him because it’s easier; or 3) Settling with a sense of apathy?
3) Do you find it difficult or easy to “wait for God?” Why?
This week at Echo we began a series through the book of Habakkuk. Despite being only 56 verses in it’s entirety, Habakkuk more than makes up for brevity with it’s rich theological content. Perhaps that’s why God chose a man named Habakkuk – a word that means to embrace or wrestle – as the author.
To help us “wrestle” through Habakkuk’s struggle with God, here are some questions for deeper discussion:
1) The book begins with Habakkuk asking God a question. If God would answer one of your questions, what would you ask Him?
2) In his book “Experiencing God,” Henry Blackaby writes about something he calls a “crisis of belief.” In other words, a time in your faith when what you believed about God didn’t match up with what you were seeing or experiencing. Describe a time when, like Habakkuk, you’ve experienced a “crisis of belief?”
3) Think back to the chart that was drawn on the chalkboard. Where would you say you are with God? On the up-slope? On the down-slope? In the dip? And then, in that spot, what do you think God is trying to teach/show you?
Now that I’m a father of 2 (still feels weird saying that) I’ve been thinking lately about the things I want my boys to know, or to learn from me. As a father, it’s my responsibility to teach them how to be a man, a husband, and a father. In light of that, here’s a small list of 20 things I want my boys to know from me:
- How to love their wives.. Our culture is saturated with “ideal husbands” who unashamedly are teaching our boys the wrong way to love their wives. I want my boys to know that real men love their wives by serving her. By laying down their lives for her. By continually dating her forever, and ever, and ever. I want my boys to know that loving their wives is the most important role they will ever have in their lives.
- Manners. I want my boys to know that words like “Please, Thank You, Yes Sir, Yes Mam, Excuse Me”, and “I’m Sorry” still mean something. I want my boys to hold doors for people. To let the mom with the screaming toddler cut him in line at the grocery store. To “wave people in” when they are driving.
- How to loose battles. In a culture where men are expected to “win” and “succeed’ at everything, I want my boys to know that loosing is okay. I want them to know how to loose gracefully. I want them to know that some battles aren’t worth fighting and it’s okay to “bow out” for the sake of the relationship. Not everything is about winning; some things are more important.
- You can never be too generous. When everyone else tells them to look out for themselves, I want my boys to know that they will never regret helping others, but they will be haunted by hoarding everything for yourself.
- Even dad’s can have fun. I don’t remember my dad ever having fun; everything was serious. I want my boys to know that dad’s have fun. They laugh, they dance, they tell jokes, they do silly stuff – even stuff that is embarrassing while others are watching.
- Miracles still happen. In a culture where everything can be rationalized, explained, and quantified, I want my boys to know that unexplainable miracles do still occur. I want them to experience the overwhelming odds of beating dad at a game when they are young (yes, I will let them win). I want them to feel the rush of the impossible coming true. I want them to believe that anything is possible. I want them to experience their own “David vs. Goliath” moments.
- Never stop imagining. Just because you “grow up” doesn’t mean you can’t daydream, imagine, and make believe. I want my boys to know that some of the healthiest and most rewarding things a man can do is imagine. I want my boys to forever ask the question, “What if…”
- How to listen. I want my boys to know how to listen… and not just pretend to listen. I want them to be men who are “quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19). I want them to listen with their heart – not just their ears. I want them to listen better than I do.
- I want my boys to know they will never regret surrounding themselves with older, wiser people.
- How to pee outside. Every boy needs to know the proper way to mark a tree, a bush, or the side of a building. And it’s probably something mom shouldn’t be teaching them…
- Actions speak louder than words. I want my boys to be men of deeds and not just words. I want them to be the sort of men that 1 John 3:18 speaks of when it says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
- How to be a man of their word.
- The heart of a woman is more important than the body of a woman. In a world where men are trained that physical beauty is the all important factor, I want my boys to know that the heart of a woman is what truly matters. Most likely her body will change for the worst (80 year old women don’t look like 30 year old women) but her heart will change for the better (80 year old hearts are incredibly loving and tender).
- Hero’s do exist – they just look a little different. I want my boys to know that life’s real hero’s aren’t the ones flying in capes, jumping off buildings, or saving our world from alien invasions; they are the men who are honoring their wives, loving their kids, serving the poor, laying down their selfishness, and looking out for the good of others in every situation. The real hero’s are the ones who follow Jesus in a world where that is difficult.
- Some things are worth fighting for. I want my boys to know that there are some things in life that are worth taking a stand for. Things like Jesus, honor, respect chivalry, family, and friends.
- How to shake hands.
- How to work hard. You’ll never regret giving everything 100%; you’ll always regret “What could have been.”
- Always look people in the eye. In a culture where everyone is multitasking and conversations are less intimate, I want my boys to know that looking people in the eyes creates trust and a sense of security. I want my boys to know that nothing is more important than the person sitting in front of them.
- When someone calls “shotgun” you honor that. I can’t be the father of boys who don’t honor the code…
- Jesus matters more than anything else. I want my boys to be men who passionately pursue Jesus above and beyond anything else in life. I want my boys to know that Jesus is the answer to everything and anything they could ever want or need. I want them to know that without Him, life is meaningless and futile.
Obviously this list could go on forever. What about you though? What are some things you would want your sons to know?