God always hears, but that doesnít mean that He always responds in the time frame we want Him to, or in the ways that we expect Him to answer.
We also have noticed that God doesnít always immediately answer when people are not living in His heavenly will, and this can apply to individuals as well as regarding a nation.
An example of this could be when a prophet or other godly person prays
God to intervene in some way to end the ungodliness, and God doesnít seem to do anything; this is something that we notice all the time when it comes to ending the exploitation and killing of animals.
Perhaps this happens because we have been charged with protecting His creation, and over the years, we have allowed the evil ways of this world to control the conditions in which most people live, and seem to want to remain, so God is leaving it up to us to correct the problems; we just donít know, but we cannot let go of this probable answer.
So as we go through the Bible passages in this sermon, letís keep these things in mind.
Letís begin by looking at Psalm 119:137-144Ö
137. Righteous art Thou, O LORD,
And upright are Thy judgments.
138. Thou hast commanded Thy testimonies in righteousness
And exceeding faithfulness.
These statements are absolutely true, and God does hear us repeat them, but this still doesnít answer why He doesnít always answer as we want Him to.
139. My zeal has consumed me,
Because my adversaries have forgotten Thy words.
As Christian vegan animal rights activists, we look around the world at all the exploitation and killing of animals, and we desperately want it to end, and this makes those who do these things or consume the products of these ungodly acts our adversaries, and yes, they do seem to have forgotten Godís commandments in regard to protecting His creation, and what foods we should be eating.
So, while we are sure that God does hear our concerns and prayers, He has not ended the problem, and seems to have left it up to us to resolve for that is what He charged us to do way back in Eden.
140. Thy word is very pure,
Therefore Thy servant loves it.
141. I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Thy precepts.
142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Thy law is truth.
These are all true, and if we really meditate upon what the psalmist wrote, it does seem to be an answer that points us back to the Lordís original commandments to us that we read about in Genesis 1.
143. Trouble and anguish have come upon me;
Yet Thy commandments are my delight.
This is the way we feel when we see the horrible suffering of the animals all around the world.
144. Thy testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live.
Godís testimonies are always righteous, and we may understand them, but we must remember that they are not passive comments that we donít have to do anything about; to the contrary, they are active commands for us to do something to fulfill them.
Even if we donít know how to solve or end the problems, we still have to do something to help end the problems; to us, being vegan and speaking out is doing something and hopefully it will encourage others to do the same, and as more and more of us do this we may well find that we can free creation from its present corruption, and this would indeed be the answer we want from God, and it was one that He gave us way back in the beginning.
Yes, God always hears, and we need to remember that He may have already answered us in the pages of our Bibles.
Letís continue our discussion by looking at Habakkuk 1:1-17, and see what he says about God always hears.
1. The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2. How long, O LORD, will I call for help,
And Thou wilt not hear? I cry out to Thee, "Violence!"
Yet Thou dost not save.
Habakkuk seems to have been in the same place that we hear many people speak about today, most often when they have a problem or have lost a loved one whom they wanted God to save, and unfortunately they get angry with God, and sometimes they even cut off their relationship with the Lord, which is unfortunate, because they wanted to have God conform to their desires rather than conforming to Godís heavenly will.
When Mary had her cerebral hemorrhage, I thought without a miracle from God that she would never be the same again, so I just wanted God to take care of her, and He did by taking her within 3 hours to be with Him in heaven forever and ever.
Letís go on and see how Habakkuk reactedÖ
3. Why dost Thou make me see iniquity,
And cause me to look on wickedness?
Yes, destruction and violence are before me;
Strife exists and contention arises.
Habakkuk questioned God about why God let him see all the problems in the world around him if He wasnít going to do anything about it.
We believe that God wanted Habakkuk to tell the people about what the Lord was planning to do as His judgement against the people for their persistent ungodly ways of living, just as we believe that God is doing with us with seeing all the horror being committed upon the animals, but in this case the animals have done nothing wrong.
4. Therefore, the law is ignored
And justice is never upheld.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore, justice comes out perverted.
Then Habakkuk wrote about what he was seeing and seemed to have come to the realization that this was the reason that God was going to do all that Habakkuk saw in his vision.
So, Habakkuk wrote what God told him.
5. "Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days ó
You would not believe if you were told.
This is how bad Godís judgement is going to be.
6 "For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
That fierce and impetuous people
Who march throughout the earth
To seize dwelling places which are not theirs.
7. "They are dreaded and feared.
Their justice and authority originate with themselves.
God is raising up an ungodly people to punish the people whom He personally had set aside to be His children and be a witness to the world around them of Godís heavenly will, but instead of doing that, the Israelites followed the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
So, Habakkuk continuesÖ
8. "Their horses are swifter than leopards
And keener than wolves in the evening.
Their horsemen come galloping,
Their horsemen come from afar;
They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour.
9. "All of them come for violence.
Their horde of faces moves forward.
They collect captives like sand.
God seems to want to instill fear in the people about what is going to happen; a tactic, we believe, is to bring the people to the point of recognizing their own evil ways, turn away from them and repent, but from history we learn that they never did, and were led into captivity in Babylon.
Nevertheless, the Lord goes on telling the people more about the ungodly ways of the Chaldeans.
10. "They mock at kings,
And rulers are a laughing matter to them.
They laugh at every fortress,
And heap up rubble to capture it.
11. "Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on.
But they will be held guilty,
They whose strength is their god."
And we need to remember that all evil people will face judgement, as God said would befall the Chaldeans.
Then Habakkuk returned to praising the Lord.
12. Art Thou not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die. Thou, O LORD, hast appointed them to judge;
And Thou, O Rock, hast established them to correct.
13. Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And Thou canst not look on wickedness with favor.
Why dost Thou look with favor
On those who deal treacherously?
Why art Thou silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?
Habakkuk obviously knew the Lord, but at the same time he questioned Him about His past, present, and pending actions, which we believe were to learn more about Godís ways, and not to question His motives.
14. Why hast Thou made men like the fish of the sea,
Like creeping things without a ruler over them?
He didnít, but that is the way the people were behaving, and continue to live that way even to this very day.
15. The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook,
Drag them away with their net,
And gather them together in their fishing net.
Therefore, they rejoice and are glad.
We also strongly believe that these kinds of judgements will befall the people who are continually corrupting Godís creation, such as those who exploit, kill, or consume animals.
16. Therefore, they offer a sacrifice to their net.
And burn incense to their fishing net;
Because through these things their catch is large,
And their food is plentiful.
Most of the people of today are living and acting very similarly to the ways of the Chaldeans whom Habakkuk wrote about here.
17. Will they therefore empty their net
And continually slay nations without sparing?
And we could ask the same thing about the animal exploiters of today.
Letís continue to look at what the prophet wrote in Habakkuk 2:1-5, as we continue our discussionÖ
1. I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.
Maybe we shouldnít even try to respond, we should just be doing as the Lord desires.
2. Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
3. "For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.
God knows the correct time to bring about His judgements, even if we do or donít like His timing, so instead of fighting against His judgements, we need to learn to live in Godís heavenly will, just as the Israelites should have learned in the days of Habakkuk.
4. "Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.
This was true then and it is true now, and the proud or hard of heart people who continue the live in and promote the corrupt and ungodly ways of this world will indeed face the Lordís judgements.
And we strongly believe that the hardness of heart directed toward animals and those who eat them are among those who will face the judgements face on.
5. "Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man,
So that he does not stay at home.
He enlarges his appetite like Sheol,
And he is like death, never satisfied.
He also gathers to himself all nations
And collects to himself all peoples.
This sounds like the prophet is including the leaders of Israel in this verse, for their actions lead many others astray, and if our leaders of today do the same things, as we believe they are, then we can expect one or more of Godís judgements to come upon our nation and the world.
And consider that one of these judgements, which God set in motion when He created the heavens and the earth is global warming, a lot of which is from human beings corrupting Godís creation.
We need to stand against these evils and speak out as Habakkuk did about the heavenly will of God.
We can and should be doing this.
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