Problem with Perception - Habakkuk 1:13-17
August 31, 2023, 4:00 PM

Habakkuk had yet another complaint. He was disappointed because of his perception of God. We, too often, worship God as we want Him to be. Many people have a misperception of God.  If God is the God of love, how can bad things happen? If God is the God of grace, how can He judge sin so horribly? If God is the God of long-suffering, why would He reveal Himself in vengeance? Maybe we don’t have the right idea of who God really is.    

Habakkuk reminded God of His character, as if God needed reminding. “ Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil.” He is the eternal one. He is unchanging - a Rock. He is holy. Compare that with mankind who is helplessness, like fish being caught in a net by a proud and evil nation.             

The problem with our disappointments is that we create God into the character we want Him to be instead of how He reveals Himself. We change the definitions of God. We make Him a nice grandfatherly, kind man, who so loves the grandkids. He gives them anything and everything.
And, when He doesn’t act according to our expectations, then it seems unfair.  

Earlier, Habakkuk complained God was too tolerating as a holy God. Since God made promises to His children Israel, how can a holy God use a unholy nation as a punishing tool?                

I wonder if we all hold expectations about what God should and should not do. It is easy to think God should grow the church like He did in Jerusalem. When the church does not grow and we’re applying church growth principles, is He holding up His end of the bargain? We have expectations about the way our children should turn out when we try to follow the Bible. We want protection when we drive, not be touched by floods, hurricanes, tornados, and even more importantly guarded from burglars, rapists, or muggers. We expect God to be our protector from all evil and all heartaches and all disease in keeping with His character of what a loving God ought to be. Our perception of a loving God is not always in keeping with what happens.    

Many people lose their faith when a son or daughter becomes sick or dies. Their perceptions of God make them angry.  Can we trust God even in our disappointments? We struggle with the same issues as the prophet. We wonder when God is going to bring revival and wake up America from its sin, but we don’t want punishment. Is that what is happening is our country now with the storms, droughts, and wildfires?  

How would we respond if God were to raise up a wicked nation to humble and defeat America? We surely would be able to identify with Habakkuk. We would struggle with our understanding of the justice of God and His righteous workings in the world.   

Who is the real enemy? How can evil continue? How can our leaders embrace sin? Does God not see how the church is caught up in the ways of the World? Why doesn’t God do something about it?   

Dare say, God is going to do something about it, but we may not like it. There will be disappointments because of this problem with our perception of who God is.  

Application:  PRAY

Prayer:  Lord, have mercy on us and our nation.