“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV
Yet, I will rejoice
We are living in a time when many who name themselves as followers of Jesus, are fair weather Christians, happy to be so until it gets hard. This is especially true here in America. So many of us have been seduced by the American Gospel, that message of health, wealth and property, of creating Heaven on earth, of the church ruling the world and holding vast power.
Habakkuk wrote his book against a backdrop of overwhelming suffering. What was done to Israel by the Babylonians was not unlike what is being done to Mariupol today. Even in the midst of the suffering, he rejoiced in the Lord.
I love the Old Testament more than ever, as we are seeing types and shadows that the Lord has provided for us as examples, appear more and more relevant with each passing day. Even in my own life, I am blessed by the same God that encouraged Habakkuk, as I too can rejoice, even as my body withers, and and I am even more greatly encouraged by the knowledge that I will someday soon see Jesus face to face.
Habakkuk did not see the promise of the cross, but he knew that he could have faith in the God. He did not have the gift of the Holy Spirit within him, but yet he understood that the Lord was on His throne. He knew that all would work out for God’s glory.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Romans 8:28-30 NKJV
We who are the beneficiaries of this great salvation, completed by Jesus on the cross, have benefits that those who came before us did not have. We have His completed word in the Bible, the presence of God in us through the Holy Spirit, and access to God the Father in the holy of holies through prayer. All these things were given to us by Jesus.
Because of these great advantages, let us rejoice in the time of trouble. Let us keep in our hearts the knowledge that the blessings of God are new every morning, that He is always for us, standing with us, going before us against any enemy.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, let us face the uncertainty of these times with rejoicing indeed, for the Lord has been with us. Each of us has a story of deliverance, a moment when the Lord intervened on our behalf. Let us be about telling those stories to the weak among us, to those who have not heard the true Gospel, who have been seduced and stunted by the American Gospel.
The true Gospel is this:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.”
I Corinthians 15:1-5 NKJV
We worship a God/Man who was delivered to death for our sins, who suffered and died to pay the sin debt, and then rose from the dead, leaving our sin in the grave. Those who come to Jesus by faith for the forgiveness of sins are given new life, the Holy Spirit and the power to resist temptation.
And, we have confidence that nothing can separate us from our God.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39 NKJV
Yet, we will rejoice!
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