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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
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"Yet Will I"
"The just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). 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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights" (Habakkuk 3:17-19). "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Over the next several days we tend to reflect on the previous year while also contemplating what lies ahead in the New Year. We received a greeting from a thoughtful friend that, among other things, expressed, "May you have an uneventful year!" That phrase can be taken many ways, but in this context she was referring to Brooksyne's traffic accident in September when a driver hit our van from behind. The van was totaled but it could have been so much worse (there were no serious injuries).
Actually we want an eventful year but just eventful with events that are pleasing to us! But that is not a promise we have. Today let's consider the great statement of confidence and faith that concludes the rather obscure book of Habakkuk. We can read this as a promise for events we might face. Habakkuk was written as Judah was about to be destroyed by the Babylonians and the remnant taken captive. The better known prophet during this time was Jeremiah. It was a desperate time.
Since the economy was agriculturally based Habakkuk describes the equivalence of a severe economic depression. Based on the wider context of the book (the pending judgment upon the nation of Judah), I believe he's describing a situation in which practically everything that can go wrong does, a "worst case scenario."
What response does he have during such times? Twice he states the will to live in an attitude of joy and in both cases the immutable (unchanging) source of that joy is expressed: "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."
Consider the single phrase "yet will I"; few in letters but packed with meaning. It conveys the sense of "in spite of" or "notwithstanding." Habakkuk was determined to keep his faith in the Lord. He chose to experience the reservoir of deep abiding joy that is derived from his relationship with an unchanging God, rather than the ever-changing circumstances in his life.
Jesus prayed to His Father in His final "High Priestly" prayer: "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them" (John 17:13).
As we look back over the events in our lives this past year, some have been pleasurable, and others a trial. There are also ongoing issues that we carry from one year to the next. But our struggles are somewhat minimal compared to those devastated by destructive earthquakes, deadly tornadoes, natural disasters, wars or those living in persecuted lands. Over the last several days our brethren in Nigeria have seen fierce and deadly persecution from Muslims. Considering their plight and praying for them keeps matters I am experiencing in perspective.
Nevertheless some of you are dealing with a trial and doubtless for some it's a very serious matter. Today and through our life, let us quote Habakkuk and make this our own personal victorious declaration: "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights" (3:19).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we're reminded by Habakkuk that our deep abiding joy is not derived from abundance in provisions nor even the people in our life. But rather our joy comes from You as we choose to rejoice in You, whether or not our pantry is overflowing. We rejoice in knowing that You are our strength who enables us to descend the rigorous, steep terrain. When we reach the height of the mountain we can look back at the disappointments and hardships we climbed through as You made our feet sure-footed like those of a deer. Keep us steadily faithful through the climb as we once again affirm our faith in You, Sovereign Lord, and rejoice in the work You are accomplishing in our lives. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Living By Faith" Video Homecoming series This old hymn came to mind as I prepared today's message. I don't suppose I've sang it for some twenty years since we sang from the old brown hymnbook but its truth continues today!
Habakkuk 3 Video A dramatic reading
"I Will Rejoice" Video Jolene Riley Today's first text put to music.
"I Will Praise Him" Video The Isaacs (Acapella)
News article about Nigerian persecution of Christians.
Today's photo in rural Michigan was taken by our friend Howard J. Blichfeldt and is used with his permission. His website is here. Howard is a friend of this ministry who desires to honor the Lord through his photography. We had snow storm in late October which was very unusual for our area but since then we have been rather lacking in snow. Today it is windy and cold but clear with no snow in the forecast. I happen to like snow! (At least in December - February).
Ou van: Just in case you see a photo of our white van in the future, we will explain: Our van was totaled following the accident but since we really liked the van, we chose to have it repaired by a Vo-Tech Body Shop since there appeared to be no mechanical damage and received a settlement from the insurance company for slightly less.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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