Note before reading: Y’all, this got way longer than expected! 🙈 One too many cups of coffee and so much overwhelmedness in the goodness of God I guess. 😉 I’m no writer[worst subject in school=grammar ;] but I pray that through what is written below you would leave encouraged by the Word of God shared and that it would not return void in your hearts. May the Lord use my weakness to show His strength. ♥ Feel free to critique my grammar or any error that may be found! 😁😉
Have you thought about Habakkuk lately? ;) Most likely not! :D I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the choice to rejoice. So today I picked up my bible and turned to Habakkuk☺️! As I read through the short book, I noted Habakkuk found himself in a very discouraging dark time and in great despair. Many of his countrymen had embraced evil and God’s chastening by way of the Chaldeans[described as a ruthless and impetuous people »Hab 1:6] was declared and imminent. At a time when most of us would sink into deep despair and struggle with a downcast spirit + a complaining heart, Habakkuk[even in the midst of sorrow] turned from great fear to faith [But the just shall live by his faith-Hab 2:4] and chose to rejoice in the midst of a very trying time. He said “yet I WILL REJOICE”:
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
The end of verse 18-19 tells us exactly why Habakkuk could choose to rejoice. He says, “God is my SALVATION. The Lord God is my STRENGTH, And HE will make my feet like hinds’ feet, And HE will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Because God was His Strength and Habakkuk trusted/had faith that God- his Salvation- would set his feet on high places, he could rejoice even in the midst of tempestuous times and great trial. The Hebrew name for Habakkuk means “One who clings to” or “One who Embraces”. At the end of the 3rd chapter we see how fitting Habakkuk’s name was as he chose to Cling firmly to God, his Salvation, in the midst of great tribulation and embrace God’s time of trial with joy/rejoicing.
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
Just like it was for Habakkuk, rejoicing and giving thanks will often need to be a choice for us [God’s chosen people], an act of obedience and not an instant feeling/emotion as times of sorrow and trials will not be absent from our lives. If any of y’all have ever been in the thick of a deep trial, you know that’s a hard choice and act of obedience. But it’s not impossible! 😉 I am reminded that Jesus was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”[Is 53:3] and yet He possessed full joy[Jn 15:11]. And how about David, the psalmist- a man after God’s own heart?! He very often found himself overwhelmed with heartache and severe chastening + trials. His solution? In the midst of great loss, pain, and sorrow he would cry out to God for help[I guess that’s where “Pray without ceasing” comes in ;] and then immediately direct his thoughts toward the tender mercies and faithfulness of his God, making the choice to rejoice. “I WILL REJOICE” [Ps 74:10-12 » PS 9:2 » Ps 118:24 »PS 35:9-10].
“But I have trusted in thy mercy; My heart shall rejoice in THY salvation.”
“This joy in the Lord which we must aim for is not a superficial happiness based on circumstances or on the absence of trials, but rather is a solid, abiding contentment and hope that is as steady and certain as our faithful God who has given us His promises in His Word.” The command to rejoice doesn’t mean we will never have times of sorrow or grief. We are actually called to “… weep with them that weep“[Rom 12:15] and told in Ecclesiastes that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn…” [Ecc 3:4] but we are also called to “count it ALL joy“[James1:2] “rejoice always” and “give thanks in all circumstances“[1 Thes 5:16-18] ]. We are promised that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” [2 Cor 4:17] and “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ“. [1 Peter 1:6-8] So, rejoicing will at times be a matter of obedience to the Lord and His Word and not an instant feeling as we face small or big trials and times of grief, sorrow, or discouragement! BUT it is a choice we can make as we set our eyes steadfastly on the Lord[Ps 16:8 »Is 50:7], calling to mind the rich promises found in His Word[I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope-Ps 130:5], and faithfulness He has shown us[This I call to mind and therefore I have hope-Lam 3:21]! It is a choice that we can make as we cling to Christ, making Him our hope[Jer 17:7-8], TRUSTING His Word[Ps 119:71], resting in His sovereignty[Ps 37:7], having faith that He knows the path we take[Job 23:10], and knowing that the Lord is our Strength and our Salvation[Hab 3:17-18» Is 12:2» Ps 27:1].
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
So, take time to learn from Habakkuk, who chose to rejoice not based on feelings or circumstances but rather based on Truth. :) Prepare your heart for those times when the fig tree may not blossom ;) by meditating on The Lord’s rich promises found in His Word and His faithfulness in your life. For many of you, you are facing some type of trial right now! You may be struggling with hope deferred or broken/strained relationship or family struggles or sickness or just working out your own salvation/striving against sin. Whatever your situation may be, there is reason to rejoice! Jesus Christ- our great Savior who has redeemed us and given us so great a salvation[Eph 1:9], Who loves us with an everlasting love[Jer 31:30, Rom 8:38-39], Who promises that all things work together for our good[Rom 8:28], Who gives grace which is sufficient for any trial[2 Cor 12:9]. We have a High Priest who was in all points tempted yet without sin and knows exactly how we feel and what we need[Heb 4:15]. He himself faced rejection from His closest companions, mocking, false accusations, and death. He has “borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” and He has promised “I have satisfied the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.“[Jer 31:25]. :) Cling to HIM, know that He is your Strength and Salvation, and rejoice! :) A random [and long🙈] morning turned into afternoon 😉 musing that I pray encourages a heart or two today! ♥ Happy Friday!
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”
1 Peter 1:6-8