September 25, 2016

Habakkuk 3:17-19 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.

This is one of the purest, most beautiful expressions of faith in the whole Bible, and as such it is justly famous. Most of the time we operate in highly conditional “faith,” trusting God as long as things seem to be going well for us. However, that is operating by sight rather than by genuine faith, and that is the opposite of how we are to live. (2 Corinthians 5:7) As long as we are relying on material things to tell us whether to love and trust God, we haven’t really placed our faith in Him. Our bodies are material, and God is aware of all the limitations involved in that, (Psalm 103:14) but He also gives faith to all who choose to receive it. (Romans 12:3) At issue, as it is almost always, is our choice of whether to receive that faith and believe. Habakkuk made that choice in a time of famine on top of military disaster, and we are blessed by his expression of that choice.

I have never been faced with Habakkuk’s exact circumstances, but I am faced daily with opportunities to choose either faith or distrust, either a spiritual mindset or a materialistic one. Many years of experience have taught me that indeed, faith is the victory that overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4) I grew up singing the hymn that repeats that principle in its chorus, but it has taken years of “battlefield experience” to really get it through my skull. I have had many crises of one sort or another over the years, and the best outcomes have always come when I have chosen to trust. My flesh doesn’t like that, but if I let my flesh control me, I am defeated already. The devil does all he can to get us to focus on how we feel physically, when those factors are temporary at most. “Submitting to God and resisting the devil” (James 4:7) always includes the choice to trust God, often in defiance of what our senses tell us. I am not to live in la-la land, simply pretending that things aren’t so, but I always must remember that God has the last say, and His plans are ultimately good, because He is good and He is God. (Jeremiah 29:11) That’s where Habakkuk was, and that’s where I want to be.

Father, I do better at remembering this with big issues than with small ones. Little things like how a computer is behaving can have an inordinate impact on my sense of well-being. Forgive my foolishness and pour faith into me by Your Spirit. May I join Habakkuk and Paul and so many others in standing firm in faith at all times, so that Your victory may be manifested in every area of my life, not just for my personal blessing but so that the devil’s strongholds may be torn down in other people’s lives as well, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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