Archive for May, 2015

Last Sunday evening I preached on the book of Habakkuk which lets us see into the heart of a prophet who was struggling with God’s plans for his beloved nation of Israel.  Habakkuk cries out to the Lord asking why He doesn’t seem to be actively working in the nation. God answers Habakkuk and reveals to him some stunning news which sets back Habakkuk! But Habakkuk waits in silence to hear God’s explanation.  After this, Habakkuk prays to God with a single petition, rich praise and an incredible peace.  He writes,

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” (Habakkuk 3:17–19, ESV)

Richard Sibbes, a readable Puritan pastor who wrote such books as The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax as well as The Soul’s Conflict With Itself.  Pastor Mark Dever has studied Sibbes extensively and gathered the following quotes in a message he once preached on Habakkuk.  I ran out of time on Sunday evening to share these with my congregation, so I share them in this way to you.  I pray they may be of benefit to you or to someone you know:

“Oh, the sweet life of a Christian that hath made his peace with God! He is fit for all conditions: for life, for death, for everything.”

Therefore, Sibbes said, “what is the reason that there is not anything in the world but it is comfortable to a Christian?” Sibbes answered that because “We are not hurt till our souls be hurt”…”Nothing can be very ill with us, when all is well within.”

Continuing from Sibbes: “God will have it so, for the comfort of Christians that every day they live they may think…my best is to come, that every day they rise, they may think, I am nearer heaven one day that I was before, I am nearer death, and therefore nearer to Christ. What a solace is this to a gracious heart! A Christian is a happy man in his life, but happier in his death, because then he goes to Christ; but happiest of all in heaven, for then he is with Christ. How contrary to a carnal man, that lives according to the sway of his own base lusts! He is miserable in his life, more miserable in his death, but most miserable of all after death.”

“What is the reason that there is not anything in the world but it is comfortable to a Christians? When he thinks of God, he thinks of him as a Father of comfort; when he thinks of the Holy Ghost, he thinks of him as a Spirit of comfort; when he thinks of angels, he thinks of them as his attendants; when he thinks of Heaven , he thinks of his inheritance; he thinks of saints a s a communion whereof he is partaker. Whence is all this? By Christ, who hath made God our Gather, the Holy Ghost our comforter, who hath made angels ours, saints ours, heaven ours, earth ours, devils ours, death ours, all ours, in issue…What can terrify a soul? not death itself, when it sees itself in Christ triumphing…A Christian that sees himself sitting at the right hand of God with Christ, triumphing with him, he is discourages at nothing; for faith makes things to come present, it sees him conquering already. Let us be exhorted to joy. ‘Rejoice, and again I say rejoice'”

“Comfort is nothing else but reasons stronger than the evil which doth afflict us; when the reasons are more forcible to ease the mind than the grievance is to trouble it.”

“What can be grievous in this world to him that hath heaven in his eye?”

–Mark Dever, The Message of the Old Testament, pp. 850-851

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