Talking with God When Pain Looms Large (discussion questions)

TTGITT Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Talking with God When Pain Looms Large,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the third part of our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” from the book of Habakkuk. This week we looked at Habakkuk 1:12-2:1.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever experienced a season of prolonged waiting, perhaps for a job, for a relationship, for healing, or something else? What happened and what was your experience in the waiting?
  1. As we continue with the book of Habakkuk in our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” this weekend we look at Habakkuk’s second complaint to God from Habakkuk 1:12-2:1. Take some time to pray, asking God to clearly speak to you, and then read that passage aloud.
  1. Habakkuk begins his complaint in verses 12 and 13 by remembering who God is in the midst of the circumstances around him. What does Habakkuk declare about God and why do you think this is important for him?
  1. Verse 13 contains the first of two strong questions that Habakkuk is wrestling with before God in this passage. What is that question (it is repeated twice) in your own words?
  1. Background: Habakkuk responds with a complaint to God’s word that the Babylonians will overrun Judah. The Babylonian Empire steamrolled the Assyrians and Egyptians on their way toward total domination of the region from 612-539 B.C. The Babylonians, like the Assyrians before them, were known for brutal treatment of their enemies, including driving a hook through the lower lip of their prisoners and stringing them together in a line.
  1. Habakkuk uses fishing imagery in 1:14-15. What does this specifically convey about Habakkuk’s people in Judah and the Babylonians’ power?
  1. What is the result of the Babylonians’ brutal victories according to Habakkuk in 1:16?
  1. With verse 17, we encounter the second of Habakkuk’s strong questions of God. What is the question that Habakkuk raises here and why is this important in light of 1:13-16?
  1. Many times we find ourselves struggling with the apparent success of evil people in contrast to the struggles of good people. How have you wrestled with this in your own life? How do you make sense of this in light of God’s presence and power?
  1. Habakkuk resolves his complaint by waiting on God, like a sentinel on duty in 2:1. What does he say about waiting on God? Why do you think he expects a potential rebuke?
  1. How is God speaking to you through Habakkuk 1:12-2:1? How does this shape your life of prayer? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

[Next week: Our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” continues with God’s second response to Habakkuk in chapter 2:2-20. Prepare for next week by reading this passage ahead of time.

Talking with God When Pain Looms Large

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series “Turning to God in Troubling Times” drawn from the 7th century B.C. prophet Habakkuk. This week, we walked through Habakkuk 1:12-2:1, where the prophet lifts up his second prayer of complaint to God. I offered special attention to the idea of standing at the watchtower of our lives in waiting on God.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Our Cross-Shaped Calling

In Hebrews chapter five, we find a striking picture of how Jesus developed in His calling through humility. Read these words:

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears…and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered. (Hebrews 5:7-8)

If Jesus needed to ‘learn obedience’ from what He suffered, how much more do we need to learn obedience from our sufferings? If we want to become like Him in every way, then we must enter His school of obedience through suffering. Suffering is not something to be avoided, but something to be embraced as God gives us grace to learn through it. Jesus calls us into an active life of developing discipleship, not Read More »

Suffering and the Surprising Plans of God (discussion questions)

TTGITT Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Suffering and the Surprising Plan of God,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the second part of our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” from the book of Habakkuk. This week we looked at Habakkuk 1:5-11.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever had a season of life where one thing seemed to go wrong after another? What happened and how did you deal with it?
  1. We continue our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” from the book of Habakkuk this weekend at Eastbrook. This study takes us into Habakkuk 1:5-11, where God responds to Habakkuk’s complaint in 1:1-4. Take some time to pray, asking God to speak to you as you, and then read Habakkuk 1:1-11 aloud.
  1. Background: Habakkuk is most likely prophesying during the time of 609-598 B.C. By 612 B.C., the Babylonians had overrun all three capitals of the Assyrian Empire: Assur, Nimrod, and Nineveh. Thus, the great threat to Judah posed by the Assyrians was driven away and replaced by the rising threat of the Babylonian Empire. In 597 B.C., the Babylonians came against Jerusalem, deporting some its leading citizens, and in 587 B.C., the Babylonians completely conquered Jerusalem. The word ‘Chaldean’ is another term for ‘Babylonian’ during this time.
  1. In 1:5, God says He will act in response to Habakkuk’s sense that God is not listening. Why would this be an encouragement to Habakkuk and his listeners?
  1. Habakkuk’s first complaint to God (1:1-4) centers on the violence and wrongdoing within the kingdom of Judah in which he lives. Based on what you read in 1:5-6, why is God’s response something that will utterly amaze Habakkuk and his hearers?
  1. Looking through verses 6-11, the character and ways of the Babylonians are described in vivid detail. Take some time to consider these different characteristics. Why would these words send terror into Habakkuk’s hearers?
  1. What situations in your own life, our nation, or the world are shocking or utterly amazing in a negative way right now? Why is that your response?
  1. A major theme of Habakkuk is the sovereignty of God in the face of human threats. Why do you think it is significant that God is shown as the one doing something amazing by raising up the Babylonians (1:5-6), even if this is not Habakkuk’s hope in response to his prayer (1:1-4)? What does this tell us about who God is?
  1. It is important to see that God calls out the actions of the Babylonians as wrong; they are “guilty people” (1:11). From what comes later, in Habakkuk 2:2-20, we know that God will deal with them, too. Why do you think God would use “guilty people” to work His purposes out in the world? Have you ever seen this happen?
  1. How is God speaking to you through God’s words in Habakkuk 1:5-11? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

[Next week: Our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” leads us into the second complaint of Habakkuk in chapter 1:12-2:1. Prepare for next week by reading this passage ahead of time.]

Suffering and the Surprising Plans of God

How do you respond when God gives you a challenging message?

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series “Turning to God in Troubling Times” from the words of the prophet Habakkuk. We looked at Habakkuk 1:5-11, where God responds to Habakkuk’s earlier prayer with the surprising words that He is going to raise up an enemy to bring judgment on God’s people. How do we make sense of this? What is God doing? These are the sort of questions we explored as we walked through this challenging portion of Scripture.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Read More »