“Though the fig tree does not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock 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. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like hind’s feet, He makes me tread upon my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
When was the last time you read Habakkuk? Probably quite a while ago, if at all. I once received a note from a fellow minister, and after his signature he listed a scriptural citation. It was Habakkuk 3:17-19. I have to admit this passage was not familiar. What had drawn him to that scripture?
When I looked it up in my study Bible I found that at some point in the past it had spoken to me in a special way. I had it underlined. As I read it again, I realized that it was a perfect GraceWaves passage. The purpose of GraceWaves is to awaken you to the waves of God’s grace that wash over you every day, sometimes in unusual ways and in unlikely circumstances.
Now back to this particular passage. Habakkuk lived during the height of Babylonian power. That terrifying nation would eventually destroy Jerusalem and the temple. Nothing about the circumstances of Habakkuk’s life were pleasant or agreeable. Everything a man normally counted on was uncertain. Every source of food was failing: the fig, the grape, the olive, the grain, even the herds. This devastation was the reality of the Babylonian Conquest and Exile. Habakkuk’s response? He expressed a confident faith in the midst of turmoil.
We have turmoil in our times. Wars, unrest, disease, fear, and anger are regular parts of our headlines. Frankly, there has never been a time when those things were not part of the headlines. This is the hard and jagged edge of life.
Because some of life is tumultuous you need to have a few things settled, as Habakkuk did. The most important is your faith. You cannot predict the yield of your crops or herds! Some days they will fail. You can resolve to “rejoice in God” and bring glory to Him by the manner you face turmoil. You will discover God’s grace is sufficient for you, and He will take care of you no matter the challenges.
At some point this week you will be criticized, perhaps unfairly. Someone will be angry with you, and you will be angry at someone (an aside: we are fond of pointing out the stress we are under, but never think about the stress we cause). You will make a mistake or fail at something important to you. Whatever you face, turmoil or peace, is common to every other human being. You are not exempt or so unique as to avoid all challenges.
Make a decision. Remember that God remains King, and you can choose to let Him be your God. Rejoice in Him. Take comfort in Him. He is your strength. He will take you to high places.
Dr. Terry Ellis
August 10, 2014