The Gospel in Habakkuk

Where is the Gospel in Habakkuk?

Throughout his dialogue and talk with God, we se his

Worry is transformed into worship. 

Fear turns to faith. 

Terror becomes trust. 

Hang-ups are resolved with hope. 

Anguish melts into adoration.

(Holman)

The problem of evil that Habakkuk presents is a real, clear, and present danger, there is no use pretending it’s not, but, Habakkuk shows us the proper response, and we take what he did in the short term and apply it to ourselves.

God fixed the immediate problem of evil in the short term with the Babylonians coming against His people.

God fixed the problem of evil ultimately in the person and work of Jesus. 

In Habakkuk 3.12-13 we read

12 You marched through the earth in fury;

you threshed the nations in anger.

13 You went out for the salvation of your people,

for the salvation of your anointed.

You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,

laying him bare from thigh to neck.

Jesus triumphed over evil, sin, and death, Jesus triumphed over the world, the flesh, and the devil, and all that can be thrown against us (1 Corinthians 15.55-57).

Jesus triumphs over the problem and perpetrator of evil once and for all. Here in Habakkuk, God delivers His people from Babylon, and in His finished work on the cross God delivered His people from evil, bigger picture, and this was signed, sealed, and it will be delivered (Revelation 19.11-16, 20.7-10).

Think about what Habakkuk said about the past problem of bondage to sin and the oppression of evil…think about the Exodus from Egypt, think Pharaoh…

13 You went out for the salvation of your people,

for the salvation of your anointed.

You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,

laying him bare from thigh to neck.

Now, think of God delivering His people from Babylonian captivity, the TRUE meaning of Jeremiah 29.11, plans for hope and a future…think here Babylonian King…

13 You went out for the salvation of your people,

for the salvation of your anointed.

You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,

laying him bare from thigh to neck.

Now, think about this in relation to the second coming of Christ, the forever and ever putting to death of sin and evil, breaking its hold on us and everyone and everything else, think of our great enemy, the accuser, the deceiver…

13 You went out for the salvation of your people,

for the salvation of your anointed.

You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,

laying him bare from thigh to neck.


See, Habakkuk spoke of the past, the present, and the future, and at the centre of them all, is Jesus. 


The problem of evil that Habakkuk presents is real, no doubt, but, he shows us the proper response, it’s ok to ask, it’s ok to wrestle with these things, it’s ok to go to God in prayer and ask, frankly, what’s going on, because God has already put in motion the plan to get you out of it, both now and ultimately.

It might seem like it’s slow to us sometimes, we want it fixing NOW; a week, a month, a year is so long for us,but He is all knowing, He is all powerful, He is all loving, and He will deliver His people with His anointed, and we are told, in Habakkuk 2.4live with faith in this plan, even when evil seems to be abounding.

What is the plan? Of course, we are talking about faith in the person, plan, and power, of Jesus.

 

The Gospel in Nahum

Where is the Gospel in Nahum?

In chapter 1 we see redemption, we see a time when there is – 

An end to God’s discipline in 1.12

Though I have afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.

No more oppression in 1.13

And now I will break his yoke from off you

and will burst your bonds apart.”

and promises of Good News and peace in 1.15

Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him

who brings good news,

who publishes peace!

Michael J. Glodo, Theology Professor said this,

“as God’s excellencies are proclaimed in judgment (Nah. 1:2–7), the repentant hear and receive grace.”

Part of that grace is the redemption that comes too. The coming Good News and peace will redeem us from every bond, yoke, chain, and oppression that the world, the flesh, and the devil will try to get us with.

In His death and resurrection, Jesus brings an end to empires and puts to shame the powers who oppress. 

He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

on Zion, my holy hill.”

Psalm 2.4  

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2.15

Ultimately, the message of Nahum shows the cup of God’s wrath that those who oppose Him will eventually have to drink, and, we’ve said this before, that as believers in Jesus, our future judgement has already been taken care of in the past. He drunk it for us.

If Jesus had not taken our place, the message of Nineveh here would be the message for you and for me. 

Without faith in Jesus, the message of Nineveh would be the message for you and for me. 

Without faith in Jesus, God is not for us, and if God is not for us, we see what happens, but, He is a God of steadfast mercy and love, slow to anger, desiring that none may perish, so we have examples to look back on, to adjust our lives now in light of, and with faith in Jesus God is for us.

Reading Nahum, we see the judgment that comes upon the wicked, and undeserved grace and redemption that is on offer to believers.

God has redeemed us from the consequences of our sins, and in the person and work of Jesus God struck that balance between wrath and love. 

If we wait until the final judgement, if we go it alone, if we think we don’t need a Saviour, we will face it alone. 

If we are in Christ, He faced the judgement for us. 

He redeemed us, redemption is on offer.

Take the burden off yourselves, now and ultimately, 

Jesus said  

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11.28-30

The only way to escape God’s judgment is to repent of your sins and believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, believe in what He did, believe in what He does, believe in what He will do again, believe in what He says, believe in who He is, simply, believe in and on Him.

Come to Him, redemption is in Him. That is the Gospel in Nahum.

The Gospel in Micah

In Micah’s day, both Israel and Judah, deserved God’s judgment for their oppression, idolatry, and corruption. 

They lived out this wickedness right alongside the motions of offering sacrifice, and they expected that they could cancel out the bad by doing more good.

“God deals with sinners in one of two ways: deserved justice, or undeserved grace.”

God is a righteous Judge who carries out deserved judgment, he is also a merciful Savior who gives undeserved grace and full forgiveness and restoration and a sure and steadfast hope for the future to those who believe Him and turn to him in repentance.

 The hope Micah presented was the promise of a Shepherd-King, a sacrificial Saviour who would gather his faithful remnant back in the land, tenderly care for them, and give His life for them to defeat their great enemy. 

The result would be that people from all nations and tribes and tongues would come to worship God. 

To God’s people who had suffered under a line of failed kings and oppressive foreign regimes, Micah announced coming restoration and peace.

Jesus Himself is the long-anticipated Shepherd-King who has made peace with God through “the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1.20). 

He did not come to destroy but to be destroyed, laying down his life for his sheep (John 10.15). 

He now rules over his people in perfect justice and abundant mercy, empowering his people, by his Spirit, to walk humbly in his just and merciful ways (1 John 2.6)— the very life Israel in Micah’s day had abandoned.

“God deals with sinners in one of two ways: deserved justice, or undeserved grace.”

All those who look to Christ in trusting faith experience the undeserved grace rather than deserved justice.

As believers in Jesus we can expect that God will “pass over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance” 

Micah 7:18-20    

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

Our transgressions have been put upon God’s Son, His imprint in a human body, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ (Romans 3.21–26). Christ will “bear the indignation of the Lord” on our behalf (Micah 7.9). 

Though we may suffer and fall in our life’s battle with evil, we shall rise, as the prophet believed he himself would, due to the Lord’s vindication (Micah 7.8–9)—and, as indeed will all those who are united to Christ by faith (Romans 6.5). 

This is the wonder of the gospel in Micah.

 

Adapted from an excellent article written by Nancy Guthrie.

The Gospel in Jonah

Let’s contrast Jonah and Jesus;

Jonah knew that repentance brings compassion, and this displeased him greatly. What displeased Jonah pleased Jesus. Jesus knew that the repentance and sacrifice he made would result in compassion. Jesus says in John 3 that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up, be killed…that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. Jesus knew the sacrifice He would make would result in compassion.

Jonah looked at Nineveh and was angry and wanted destruction. Jesus looked at the city of Jerusalem and wept in Luke 19 because He loved the people so much He wanted to spare them…“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

Both were sent to hostile people. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, a terrible, evil place. Jesus came to save sinners, healthy people don’t need a doctor,do they, and in Ephesians 2 we see that Jesus came for us, who by nature are children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 

Jonah ran from God because he knew God would be kind and compassionate. Jesus ran to the Father. He was about His Father’s business continually. He communed with the Father continually.

Contrary to most interpretations of the book of Jonah, we are not Jonah in this story in need of moral exhortation. We are Nineveh.

We need a Saviour who shows us what God is like, who knows what God is like.

Our response is to be the same as those in Nineveh who heard the words of Jonah; repent and receive God’s mercy and steadfast love.

Morally and principally speaking, if God calls us to go somewhere, unlike Jonah, we should obey and go. Common sense alone leads us to that conclusion. Contrary to what many preachers and interpreters say, that is not the primary point of Jonah. The primary point of Jonah is not about how Jonah should have obeyed, it’s about how God continued his redemptive plan despite Jonah’s disobedience.

Think about this – God’s plan was one man.

God’s plan for Nineveh was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for mankind was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for your life is one man, He is sufficient. 

In Acts 4 we read 

11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jonah gave his life to appease the wrath of God coming upon others. But…death did not hold him – three days and nights later he was free of imprisonment, he was alive and free.

Think – swap Jonah for Jesus and read that again…

Jesus gave his life to appease the wrath of God coming upon others. But…death did not hold him – three days and nights later he was free of imprisonment, he was alive and free.

Jesus is the better Jonah. The Ninevites needed Jonah, we need Jesus. 

God’s plan for Nineveh was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for mankind was one man, that was sufficient.

God’s plan for your life is one man, He is sufficient. 

The Gospel in Obadiah

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship our text was the Old Testament’s shortest book, Obadiah. Just 21 verses, but packed with lessons and prophecy. Some books are easier to see Jesus in than others, right? Hosea bought Gomer out of a sinful lifestyle even though she was already His, foreshadowing the price paid for us at Calvary. Obadiah is a little more obscure, but, it is a book of the Bible, the words of a prophet, therefore, it points to Jesus.

The Gospel in the bigger picture in Obadiah confirms the great promise of the Gospel that God will deliver His people.

God’s rescue, the deliverance of His people, is really, bigger picture, the theme of the whole Bible. That’s what God promises through the words of Obadiah – deliverance, rescue and restoration for His people – and this is possible for believers, now, through the Messiah, through Jesus.

No matter how scattered, persecuted, or despondent His people are, God will restore and deliver His people.  

He will gather His people from all peoples and nations into His eternal family.

V.17 in lots of translations reads 

“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,

And there shall be holiness;

The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

The last verse, v.21, echoes the ultimate triumph of the Gospel,

Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion

        to rule Mount Esau,

        and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

Remember the multi-fulfilment of true Biblical, Scriptural, from the mouth of God prophecy?

Immediately this meant that there would be deliverance for God’s people.

Ultimately, this is reflected in Revelation 11.15

…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of rhis Christ, and she shall reign forever and ever.

The final line of the book points towards the big idea: 

God will deliver His people. 

The substance of the promises of Obadiah are promises for those who have faith in Christ. 

He is the redeemer, He is the deliverer, He is the rescuer, He is the Saviour.