Conditions of True Joy

“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 tread on the heights.”  Habakkuk 3:17-19

The Prophet Habakkuk had just received some very bad news.  God told him that his beloved nation, Israel, would be judged by God for their sin.  To add insult to injury, God would use a wicked and vile nation, Babylon, to inflict punishment on Israel.  So everywhere he looked Habakkuk saw bad news.

When we face any significant loss in life, whether a loved one, a position, our health, or something else, we are forced to ask ourselves what do we really value?  For the Prophet Habakkuk, he saw nothing on the horizon that cheered him up—at least outwardly.  But he didn’t just look on the outward side of things.

He envisions a “worse-case-scenario,” or the loss of everything.  “What if I lost everything?” he asks.  His response shows his deep-seeded faith and profound trust in God.  He says that even if the life-sustaining products fail (see verse 17), I will “rejoice in the Lord.”

What about your world?  What if you lose your spouse, your job, your money, your prestige, your influence, your health, your family or your home?  No doubt that would devastate us.  But at the end of the day, we have an Almighty God working on behalf of us.  Habakkuk’s closing words spring from a dynamic faith that will trust God in the very worst of times.

Three Things We Should Rejoice In

1. Our salvation in Christ.  Because it’s in Christ, nothing or no one can take it from us (Romans 8:38-39).  We should base our sense of joy and well-being on this truth: we have eternal life in Christ (1 John 5:12-13).
2. God is in control of all things.  Even if our world implodes, God will hide us in the cleft of His hand, and guide us through the deepest valleys to the greenest pastures.
3. God will provide the power to endure all things.  We glean this from Habakkuk 3:19, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength. . .”  He will give us the strength to go.

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