This passage is so exciting to me, especially how the prophet Habakkuk opens and closed his book. He opens the book with a prayerful plea to God, and God's reply is "...For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe..." And then Habakkuk closes the book with though this, though this, and though this, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord,"
Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Habakkuk 1:5
Though love does not bud and there are no prospects in the wings. Though I've lost my job and there is no food in the pantry. Though I have no friends and my car has stalled for the very last time. Does any of this sound like your life? What else could go wrong, right? Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
However, he could rejoice because he had learned to rely on the steadfast love and faithfulness of the God he trusted. Although God's plan was not clear to Habakkuk, he had learned to trust God. He lived by faith, and with this kind of faith comes rejoicing.
Do you know someone who never seems to be content or happy? They are constantly looking to the next new gadget or event to bring them fulfillment. They say things like, “I'd be happy if...” or "I'll be happy when..." If I had a new car. If I had a bigger house. If I could vacation there. If I could lose 15 pounds. When I find a husband. When we have a baby. When there's enough money in the bank. When my husband doesn't have to work so much. IF, IF, IF, WHEN, WHEN, WHEN... The truth is, things and events will never bring lasting joy. The ifs and whens may happen, but people will still find reasons to be discontent. This is why we cannot base our joy on the circumstances that surround our lives.
If we have a good job, can pay the bills, we have friends, are happily married and the children are doing well in school, we may be content, maybe even joyful. However, what if times get difficult? What if life is tough? What if we lose our job and there's no money to pay the bills? Maybe we don't have a good circle of friends and our marriage is on rocky ground. The children are failing in school and rebellious. What then? Can we still say as Habakkuk did, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord"?
Circumstances should not dictate whether we are joyful. Habakkuk’s confident declaration and prayer of encouragement in verses 17 - 18 is a beautiful demonstration of his faith in God. He knew this world was not His home. He trusted the steadfast love and faithfulness of his Savior, even when he didn't understand God's plan.
Philippians 4.7 "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." talks of a peace that we cannot understand. This is the kind of peace that enables us to be joyful even in the most difficult times.
John 15:11, Jesus' own words "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." talks of a joy that is in us and NOT a result of the circumstances that make up our lives. This is the joy that makes us complete in Jesus Christ.
These two passages speak of a peace and joy that are completely independent of our circumstances, whether they be good or bad. Are we able to rejoice in the Lord no matter the circumstances? If we have His peace and His joy we are!
The prophet Habakkuk lived in a day of uncertainty, much like we do. For all the questions that were raised in his lifetime about the future his response remained simple, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord". This was the prophet's response to uncertainty. Can we also respond as Habakkuk did? Can we trust the hand of God in the face of uncertain times and when we don't understand His plan?
6 Things We Can Learn From Habakkuk:
In the book of Habakkuk God use the wicked nation of Babylon for His divine purpose. How mysterious is that? His ways can be so mysterious and we don't always understand, but we are called to live by faith. Right in the middle of his book Habakkuk writes “the righteous shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). These same words are also quoted twice in the New Testament. First in Romans 1:17 and then again in Galatians 3:11. This only emphasizes the importance of living by faith and being able to say, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord".
We too can rejoice, no matter the circumstances. We can trust, no matter the outcome. We are complete in Jesus alone and in His steadfast love and faithfulness. We too can say, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord".
Write Your Own Story
Here's a little homework assignment for you. Before you lay your head on that pillow tonight, write your own story of Habakkuk 3:17-18. Paraphrase your life into those last two verses. Whatever problems you are facing, substitute those problems for Habakkuk’s. Then, when you come to the part where Habakkuk says, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord" will you tell God the same thing? I believe your heart will be encouraged when you do.
Please share your story in the comments and be an encouragement to others!
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