October 6, 2019: Customer Service

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

“Hello, is this customer service?”

“Yes, I had a question about my bill.”

“Yes, I’ll hold.”

3 HOURS LATER…

“Yes, I had a question about my bill, and quite honestly my existence…”

How many of us have ever had an adventure…

A MIS-adventure with customer service?

One of the things I hate to do is call Customer Service.

It has come to the point in my life when I call Customer Service, I better pack a lunch and leave the next 2-3…days…open just in case.

Having to deal with customers takes a lot of patience.

A lot of time.

And sometimes a lot frustration and anger.

In a way, it’s like the story of Habakkuk.

How many of you are fans of Habakkuk?

How many of you even know what a Habakkuk is?

Habakkuk is a prophet who picks up some of the themes of books like Job and Lamentations.

There is a lot of hurt and pain present with this prophet.

But there is also anger.

And it’s directed at God.

That’s actually how the book begins, 

with Habakkuk going on a huge rant against God.

Why does he do that?

Two reasons:
War

Corruption

His country, Judah, is smack dab in the middle of two warring nations: Babylon and Egypt. 

If both sides to go to war, Judah will be caught in the middle and suffer great loss. 

And as trouble comes from Babylon and Egypt, corruption within the city is running wild. 

Mostly dealing with distribution of wealth and food.

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

So the nation of Judah is in a bad spot.

And Habakkuk feels helpless,

He can’t do anything about it but watch it happen.

And so he asks a question we all have had (at least once):

“Where is God in all this?”

In Habakkuk’s view, God has gone silent.

It is like the times in our lives when we feel we are being crushed by obligations, other people or things wanting and demanding our attention.

We have too much on our plate,

The plate is spilling over

And instead of a light at the end of the tunnel, we think it’s a train coming right for us.

And we, too, feel helpless.

Scared.

Angry.

So what do we do?

We do what Habakkuk ends up doing…

He calls on God.

He asks for Customer Service.

And he waits.

Isn’t that the hardest part?

Waiting for God to answer?

Well God does answer Habakkuk In Chapter 1 

And this is God’s answer, God’s offer for help:

“Habakkuk. Good news! I am bringing the Babylonian army to punish your nation, Judah.”

“Is there any other way I can help you?”

“By the way this conversation is being recorded.”

This is God’s answer. 

“You think things are bad NOW, what until Babylon shows up!”

This answer might sound familiar to you.

You lost your job?

Guess what, now you have cancer.

You just lost your best friend?

Guess what, your partner is calling it quits.

“God, I called on you for help…

Not hurt!”

Don’t you find yourself saying that sometimes?

Well THAT is what Habakkuk says to God.

Habakkuk says, “God. That is not good enough.”

Habakkuk cannot comprehend that the God of Love is ready to send an army to punish Judah.

He accuses God of making people like fish of the sea where the powerful are allowed to hook and trap them in nets.

He tells God, “You can do better.”

“And I will be waiting for a better answer.”

That better answer does come in Chapter 2.

God assures Habakkuk that God is listening, that God cares, and that God is not on the sidelines.

And God pleads with Habakkuk to keep the faith, keep the trust he has in God.

What Habakkuk can teach us is that in suffering we can find a way to live that still celebrates God’s commitment to us.

And that commitment is realized with the Cross. 

It is at the cross that Jesus experiences and feels what it is like to go through bad and horrible times.

And he knows what it feels like when those times become worse.

Jesus knows the pain and the suffering.

But all that is second to why he goes to the Cross.

Jesus goes to the Cross for us.

Jesus goes through the moment of the Cross for us.

We hold on to the truth that in Jesus Christ, God has acted to claim us as his beloved people.

Because Jesus has felt pain,

He feels your pain.

God will be there.

The beautiful part of Habakkuk the book is that when Habakkuk has this crisis of faith, he turns TO God. Not AWAY FROM God.

In a way the book has three acts and the prophet moves from fear to hope. 

And in moving from fear to hope, Habakkuk takes an incredible leap of faith. 

Habakkuk responds in 3:17-19

Habakkuk 3:17-19 New International Version (NIV)

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

That is an important lesson.

Even when we go through bad times,

And when those bad times get worse,

We hold on to the faith…the belief… the trust…that 

God has not put us on hold.

God HOLDS us.

And never lets go.

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