Why? How Long? (Habakkuk 1:1-4, Psalm 10:1-18, Romans 1:18-32)

Bernard Gabbott, Sunday, 15 March 2020
Part of the Habakkuk series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

Why? How Long?
Habakkuk 1:1-4

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Habakkuk 1:1–4 (Listen)

1:1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

  O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not hear?
  Or cry to you “Violence!”
    and you will not save?
  Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong?
  Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
  So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
  For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.

(ESV)

Psalm 10 (Listen)

10:1   Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
  For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
  In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
  His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
  He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
  His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
  He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
  His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
  he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10   The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11   He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12   Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.
13   Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14   But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
    that you may take it into your hands;
  to you the helpless commits himself;
    you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15   Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.
16   The LORD is king forever and ever;
    the nations perish from his land.
17   O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18   to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

(ESV)

Romans 1:18–32 (Listen)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

(ESV)