PRAISING GOD turns our BURDENS into BLESSINGS
September 29 Bible Reading: Habakkuk Chapters 1-3
"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." (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Prophet Habakkuk started in a deep valley of despondency with grief and complaints (see chapter 1) but instead of moaning about his misfortune, he went up to the watchtower (see chapter 2). Finally, he now finds himself on the mountain top with peace (3:16b), joy (3:18) and strength (3:19) that led him to worshiping His creator God who is ultimately responsible for all turnabouts!
When Habakkuk heard of the upcoming judgment through the Babylonian invaders, he trembled and determined to wait quietly for the event to come to pass (v. 16). He knew what they would have to endure as a result of the Babylonian invasion: the fig tree may not blossom, the fields may not yield any food, and there may be no cattle herd in their stalls. Yet, he would rejoice in God and praise Him! J. Sidlow Baxter in his book 'Explore the Book' exclaims:
Even when crops and herds fail (a horrifying thought in the context of an agricultural economy), and society lives with hunger and poverty, Habakkuk’s trusting expectation will not be crushed. Hope and trust transform his fear of the future into the desire to rejoice always in God his Savior. The literal is “I will jump for joy in the Lord; I will spin around for delight in God.” Here is the hilarity of faith!—joy at its best with circumstances at their worst! What a victory! May it be ours!
In spite of the testings, the prophet remains firm in his resolve to rejoice in the Lord as He alone is the God of salvation. The same God who brings judgment also brings deliverance. He will see the prophet through the trials personally and will see the nation through its crisis until all of His purposes are ultimately fulfilled. God would surely supply the strength and stability needed to endure the uncertain days ahead!
The destructive results of the Babylonian invasion will soon be felt throughout the land, but the prophet finds the source of his joy in God and not in his circumstances. Habakkuk had a choice: whether to moan, complain and sink into the mire of helplessness, or, rejoice in his God irrespective of his outer circumstances and current misfortunes. He saw the rapid increase in Judah’s moral and spiritual failures, and knew very well that God would soon use the wicked Babylonian empire to punish Judah. Thus, he learned to trust and rely on the wisdom, justice and sovereignty of God, and through this he learned to trust God in the midst of injustice, suffering and loss. Habakkuk would live by his faith in God alone!
Let us understand today that our faith and trust in God always lifts us higher and makes us to rejoice. Even though all things we face in life are not good, even though we will not always understand why evil seems to triumph, but we can rest in the truth that God is in control and will someday make all things right. Even when we cannot rejoice in our circumstances especially during our trials, we can always rejoice in the Lord. Praising God in the midst of our trials turns our burdens into blessings!