Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says the time you spend alone with the Lord isn’t just for you.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Don’t try to teach your children God’s ways if you haven’t been first hearing what God was saying to you. Don’t try to correct your husband or fix the issues in his life if you haven’t first taken your stand at your watchpost, stationed yourself on the tower, looked to see what God will say to you.

Habakkuk says, “I will look and see what He will say to me.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, October 12.

For an Old Testament prophet, accurately hearing God’s voice was crucial. It’s no less important for us as women in 2010. Nancy will explain as she continues an in-depth study called Habakkuk: Moving from Fear to Faith.

This is a classic series from Nancy, one we wanted to return to while marking the 10th year of broadcasting at Revive Our Hearts. Here's Nancy.

Nancy: We finally come today to chapter 2 of Habakkuk. Some of you thought we were never going to get there. Chapter 2 is the chapter that has three really well-known verses in it.

If you have your Bible, open there. Look at verse 4, the second part of that verse. “The righteous shall live by his faith.” Have you heard that before? “The just shall live by faith.” It’s quoted three times in the New Testament.

That’s one of the best known verses—and one of the most important verses—in the whole Bible. We’ll get to that in a few days.

Verse 14 is one that I think is also very familiar: “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

That tells us something about the scope and the plan of God. It gives us hope. It reminds us of what we have to look forward to while we’re enduring life on this fallen planet and dealing with Chaldeans and such things, as we do.

Then verse 20, also a very familiar verse: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” You may have heard that verse or seen it in a church, in relation to coming into church.

Actually, that’s not what that verse really applies to, but when we get to the end of chapter 2, we’ll find out what that verse really does mean. So these are three familiar verses, and I think it’s going to be exciting for us over these next days to find out why those verses are in the Bible, and where they fit in context, and what they have to do with this whole great plan of God.

That’s some of what we have to look forward to in the next days, but we’re beginning today in chapter 2, verse 1. For those of you who haven’t been with us, let me just reset here a little bit.

Habakkuk is having this very intense, earnest, honest dialogue with God. He looks around him and sees things going on among God’s people that ought not to be. He sees the sin, the violence, the injustice, the people flaunting disobedience against God’s law and nobody doing anything about it, and the people in leadership who aren’t taking things as seriously as they should.

Habakkuk is really burdened, not only because of what’s going on but because it doesn’t seem like God is doing anything about it. So he cries out to God. He’s been praying. He’s been asking God.

God finally says to him, “I am doing a work in your day. I’m not passive. I’m not standing idly by, as you think I am. Contrary to all appearances, I am at work, but the way I’m working isn’t probably the way you thought I would.”

God proceeds to tell Habakkuk that he’s raising up the Chaldeans, or the Babylonians, as some of your translations say, to come and discipline the Jewish people.

Habakkuk says, “Whoa! That’s not quite what I had in mind. I know they need disciplining, I know they need chastening, but—the Chaldeans! They’re really, really bad. How can You use a people who are as wicked and vicious and violent and ruthless as the Chaldeans? How can they be an instrument in Your hand to accomplish Your purposes? How can a holy God use unholy people to accomplish His work?”

So Habakkuk wrestles with God. That’s what his name means: “one who wrestles.” He’s wrestling with these tough questions.

We said it’s not wrong to ask the questions of why or how long, as long as you ask not with a clenched fist but with a searching heart. I really believe that’s Habakkuk’s heart.

But in the process of asking those questions, he’s coming to know something of God that is more important than getting all the answers. Sometimes we talk saying, “I can’t wait until I get to heaven, and I’ll know all the answers to the things that didn’t make sense here on earth.”

It’s not like God’s going to take out this computer screen or something and put all the answers up there for us. I have this sense that when we get to heaven that I’m not sure we’ll care so much.

When we look at Him as He is, He will be answer enough; and really, that’s what God is doing for Habakkuk. He’s revealing Himself to Habakkuk and saying, “Habakkuk, I am the answer to your questions, your problems, and your issues. When you can’t fathom Me or My ways, what you can do is trust.”

That’s what it’s all going to come back to: “The just shall live by faith.” You’re going to hear that a few times before this series is over.

Now at the end of chapter 1, Habakkuk was puzzled over how God could use the Chaldeans, and he gave this graphic description of it. It’s like we’re all just fish in the sea, and the Chaldeans have come with their hooks and have pulled us out. They’re slaughtering people mercilessly. Is this going to go on forever?

Habakkuk has been a little bit on the rampage in describing his concerns to God. In fact, that’s the last verse of chapter 1: “Is he then to keep on emptying his nets and mercilessly killing nations forever?” (verse 17).

Again, I sense as I meditate on this passage, that it’s like there’s this big pause and no answer. So what is Habakkuk going to do next? What does he do in the silence?

In chapter 2, verse 1, Habakkuk says,

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he [God] will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

Now, I believe this verse is the turning point of the book as far as Habakkuk’s story is concerned. Habakkuk goes up to his watchtower: “I will take my stand at my watchpost.”

I don’t believe this is a literal watchtower. Most commentators would agree with that. It’s a picture of Habakkuk saying, “I’m going to go to a place that’s quiet and alone and solitary, and look out to try to get God’s perspective on what’s happening.”

It’s picturing an attitude of expectation. Habakkuk is seeing himself as a lookout, as a sentinel on a watchtower. You can just picture this tall tower and the sentinel, the sentry. He stands up in the watchtower, and he looks out.

He wants to get the high view. He doesn’t want to just see what’s happening down here on the ground. He wants to be able to look out to the horizon and see what’s happening and what’s in the big picture.

So Habakkuk is saying, “I’m going to get up above my circumstances. I want to get God’s perspective on all this.”

Let me just tell you, ladies, it’s in that watchpost position where we find hope. It’s where we find perspective. That’s where we look to the Lord, we wait for Him, we listen to Him. It’s where we stop talking, finally, and we let God talk.

You see that in the Scriptures multiple times with people. We’ll talk about some through this series who had a lot to say to God, as Habakkuk has already had a lot to say to God, and they finally run out of words.

Then they say, “Okay, now I’m ready to listen.” It’s almost as if God is saying, “Let Me know when you’re through talking, and I’ll tell you what I think about this.”

But you have to get your heart to a place where you’re quiet and still and waiting and listening for God to speak. That’s the attitude we need as we go to the Word of God. “I will take my stand at my watchpost.”

In fact, I’ve been using this verse in my quiet time recently. “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me.”

  • No more me giving God answers.
  • No more me telling God how to run the universe.
  • No more me even asking God all my questions.
  • Now I’m just going to be quiet and look out and try to see this thing from God’s point of view and listen for God, listen for what He’s going to say.

Matthew Henry said it’s really important that

When we go and read and hear the Word of God . . . we must set ourselves to observe what God will [thereby] say unto us through it; . . . what word of conviction, caution, counsel, and comfort He will bring to our souls that we may receive it and submit to the power of it.

It’s the attitude we have when we go to church and listen to the message or we open our Bible in our quiet time. It’s an attitude of taking our position as a sentinel, as a sentry, as a watchman on our post, saying, “I’m going to look out and see what God has to say to me.”

“God, what do you want to say to me?” I want to stress this point because I think today in our pell-mell society, we move so fast; we are so busy.

I have found many times even in my own quiet time, I’m in a hurry. The way I’m approaching God’s Word is hurried. I’m going to get my quick spiritual vitamins for the day and check my devotions off my to-do list, but I haven’t met with God. I haven’t heard from God. I haven’t been on my watchtower.

A lot of times we have issues, we have questions in our lives. I need wisdom in so many areas of our ministry right now. We need direction from the Lord on many different things, and I have so many questions I don’t know the answers to.

You have issues with your marriage, with your children, with your job, with your church. You need answers. You need God’s perspective. But the problem is, we stay so busy going and blowing and working and striving and playing 100 mph lifestyles that we never stop and listen to the Lord.

Then we wonder why we don’t have answers. Some of you need to turn off the TV, turn off the computer, turn off your radio. I had some friends challenge me recently not to turn on my email until I had spent quality, unhurried time alone with the Lord.

Some of you are thinking, “I would have assumed that’s the way you live.” I had gotten in this routine, this pattern of checking my email first; then by the time I got to the Word, my heart was pounding, my mind was racing, and I wasn’t taking my place on the watchtower and listening to the Lord.

You need to stop. Turn off your electronics. Turn off your radio. I can’t believe as a radio teacher I’m saying that, but sometimes you need to turn off your radio and just be quiet and listen to God.

What Habakkuk is doing is getting away from all his problems; not escaping, but getting some distance from them, getting his eyes off his problems so he can get his focus on the Lord. He’s ranting about the Chaldeans at the end of chapter 1, and now he says, “I’m going to go to a place where I can look out to see what God will say.”

What does God have to say about my marriage, about this church situation, about this person at work, about this decision I need to make? So he begins to listen, and it’s an attitude that is submissive to whatever God will say about this situation.

God told prophets they were to be watchmen on the walls. They were to listen to a word from God’s mouth, and then they were to give the people warning. So Habakkuk needed this not only for himself but as a watchman who was responsible to provide a warning for his people. He needed to know, “What is God saying?”

“What’s going on out there?” That’s a watchman’s job, and it’s crucial that a watchman stay on his post, that he stays alert to danger. You moms, you are watchmen for your children, and you need to go to that watchpost.

You need to go to that tower and listen to what God has to say about your children. Are you just raising your children? Are you just going through life keeping them clothed and fed and to piano lessons and ballet lessons on time and getting their lessons done and all that?

Or are you taking time to say:

  • God, what is Your heart for this child?
  • What do I need to be teaching?
  • What do I need to be seeing in their life?
  • How do I need to be training them?
  • Lord, how do You want me dealing with this situation?

Be alert to possible danger, looking to knowledge from God so you can relay it to others, so you can see what God is doing and tell others about it.

Psalm 85:8 says, “I will hear what God the Lord will say to me” (paraphrase). That’s the posture here. That’s the attitude. Let me remind you that as God’s women, we need to hear what God will say to us before we can take it upon ourselves to be God’s spokesman to others.

Don’t try to teach your children God’s ways if you haven’t first been hearing what God will say to you. Don’t try to correct your husband or fix the issues in his life if you haven’t first taken your stand at your watchpost, stationed yourself on the tower, looked to see what God will say to you.

Habakkuk says, “I will look and see what He will say to me.” Just that little mindset adjustment is helping me in my quiet time because I’m always preparing messages to give to other people. But I’m reminded, first I have to take my position on my watchpost and look out to see what God will say to me.

I started studying the book of Habakkuk months ago, living in it, meditating on it. I knew I wanted to do a series on it, but first I wanted to see what God would say to me through this book.

God has been speaking to me on my watchpost, at my tower, and I’m hoping that over these weeks, some of what God has been saying to me will be a blessing to you. That’s what ministry is: It’s the overflow of having met with God first yourself.

That’s the attitude we see in Proverbs chapter 8, where Wisdom is speaking. Wisdom says, “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors” ( Proverbs 8:34).

Is that the attitude you have toward God’s Word, toward God’s speaking to you? “I’m going to listen to Him. I’m going to watch daily. I’m going to wait expectantly for God to speak.”

Habakkuk says, “I will take my stand at my watchpost.” That’s a picture of . . . well, it’s not a picture of the way my quiet time has been sometimes. You know, if I make the mistake of trying to have my quiet time in my bed, my quiet time gets really quiet.

I’m not saying you have to have your devotions standing up, but I’m saying there is a posture, spiritually, of being alert, of being all there, of being awake, being tuned. “Awake, my soul,” the Psalmist said.

It’s like you kind of try to shake yourself awake and say, “You need to be alert and tuned.” Imagine if the watchman fell asleep at his post, and the enemy came over the horizon, and he missed it. There are lives that could be endangered.

Moms, I want to tell you, there are lives that could be endangered spiritually if you don’t take time each day to watch out and see what God has to say for your life and for your family. You need to be alert to spiritual danger in your home.

You can’t just live your life doing things and going through life and running around like a chicken with your head cut off and keeping busy and keeping running all the time and expect that you’re going to have the wisdom of God for your life or for your children’s lives.

Some of your children are going to end up in trouble because they didn’t have a mom who stood at her watchpost to listen to what God would say. God will give you warnings from His Word for your children for their lives.

Now, I’m not saying if you keep this attitude that none of your children will get in trouble, but I’m saying there are things that could be avoided in your life and in the circumstances of those you love if you would take time to be really all there, alert, awake and tuned to what God has to say.

Well, what Habakkuk saw on that watchtower was life changing. As we’re going to see in the days ahead, when he came down from that post, he was not the same man he was when he went up.

What he saw transformed his life, and it’s been true with so many others throughout Scripture. I think of the prophet Isaiah. In chapter 5 you see Isaiah pronouncing woes on the nation, and all these things he’s condemning them for and judging them for. There are things that should be taken seriously.

But then in chapter 6 Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord in His holy temple” (see Isaiah 6:1-5). Isaiah came out of that experience transformed. He had a whole new perspective of God and of what was going on in the world.

Take Job. The first 37 chapters, Job is struggling to understand his suffering. He’s striving with God; he’s pleading his innocence, and he comes to the place of saying, “I don’t deserve this!”

Well, from his human perspective, he didn’t deserve this. Then, in chapter 38 and following, Job sees God. Job hears God. Job gets quiet enough, still enough long enough to let God speak, and in the process, he gets God’s perspective on his suffering.

When he emerges, he’s not the same man. Everything looks different. Everything is different. He has hope; he has faith; he has grace; he has all that he needs to go on, not just as a survivor but as a victor, because he has seen the Lord.

He says, “O Lord, before these circumstances, I had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You” (Job 42:5). He has a whole new perspective, not only of God but of himself. He no longer sees himself as an innocent man who’s a victim.

He sees himself as a sinner in need of God’s mercy and grace. It’s because he went to his watchpost. He took time to listen to God.

In chapter 1 Habakkuk is questioning; he’s challenging God; he’s perplexed. He’s confused at best, maybe disillusioned or angry at worst. “Lord, why do I cry, and You don’t hear? Why do I cry, and You don’t save?”

In chapter 2 he listens to God. He gets in a place where God can speak to him. We’re going to look at that message and the rest of chapter 2 over these next days, but I’m just telling you in advance, it’s not an easy message.

What he sees, what he hears when he goes up to his watchpost is not easy to hear. It’s not what he was expecting, but the truth sets him free. By the time he comes down off that watchpost and we get to chapter 3 (which we will sooner or later, Lord willing), his heart is quieted. He’s no longer contending with God.

He still doesn’t understand everything. If he did, then he would be God. But now there’s no clenched fist, no anger—just amazement and awe and humility and trust and confidence and praise. He can actually sing in the midst of his trials.

Where does the turning point come? Right here. Chapter 2, verse 1: “I will take my stand at my watchpost. I will station myself on the tower. I will look out to see what God will say to me.”

So what’s the watchtower? It’s a heart focused on God, a heart lifted up above the voices and the noises and the clamor of this world.

Habakkuk has made a speech to God. That was chapter 1.

Now he stops talking. He listens. He waits to hear from God, and it transforms everything. When you get to the place where you stop talking, you listen, you wait, you look out to see what God will say to you, I’m telling you—what you’ll see from that position on your watchtower will transform everything.

Leslie: Have you been spending much time in the watchtower? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has explained why it’s so important for all of us to connect with God every day in prayer and through the Word of God.

Today, Nancy explained why it’s so crucial. Let her explain how to spend more time with the Lord, too.

Read her book A Place of Quiet Rest. It will provide strategies on how to get more out of the Bible. It will teach you how to develop more consistent habits, and it will help you work through the distractions that usually pop up.

Order A Place of Quiet Rest at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call toll free 800-569-5959.

I don’t know if you’ve spent much time in the book of Habakkuk until now, but as we’ve seen this week, it touches on a lot of topics that are helpful for women—everything from doubt to the devotional life.

Make sure you have Nancy’s teaching to listen to whenever you need it. Order our current series called Habakkuk: Moving from Fear to Faith. Just call 800-569-5959, or visit our website.

I mentioned earlier in the program that it was crucial for a prophet to hear from God. Well, it’s crucial for us too, but we hear from God in ways that are kind of different from a prophet like Habakkuk. Hear more about it on tomorrow’s program.

Nancy’s back to pray that we will be like Habakkuk and watch out for danger on behalf of others.

Nancy: Lord, would You show us what it means for us to take our stand at our watchpost, to station ourselves on a tower, to look out and see what You will say to us? Show us how to do that in the clamor and the busyness and the noises of our daily lives.

Help us to do whatever it takes to get up there, to meet with You, to listen to You. Thank You that, from that position, You will reveal Yourself and Your ways to us. Change us. Change our perspective. Change our lives as we look out to see what You will say. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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