Verse for the Day – Habakkuk 3:17-19

This verse has kept coming to my mind the last week, so I’ll choose it today, even though it’s not the first one I would naturally have chosen for us.
It’s a hymn of faith, a song of rejoicing by Habakkuk.
Habakkuk 3:17-19:
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (ESV)
These verses always remind me of our dear friend who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and lived only 10 months, dying at age 44. These were the verses he quoted on his blog in the days before he could write and think clearly no more. He didn’t understand God’s plan – it felt like the description in verse 17 – and yet he chose to rejoice in God and praise Him. It was an incredible testimony of trust and faith in God when he couldn’t make sense of his circumstances.

But God knew and knows still. The high school he attended set up an endowed fund to annually give a gift to a student who would apply for this. Reading the letter we received this week from the first fellow, we saw just one way in which God used our friend’s life for His glory and others’ good. The high schooler writes, “I was a troublemaker kid in middle school, and didn’t care about God’s plan in my life. Halfway through my freshman year in high school, my dad challenged my family to read the Bible in honor of Jeff’s death. Reading God’s Word completely changed my life, and I became a true follower of Christ…”

It was reading God’s Word daily in the one year Bible that kept our friends strengthened by the power of God’s Word, too, as they walked through that season. Perhaps that’s an encouragement to us to read God’s Word daily and let His Spirit teach us.

It’s a reminder, too, though, that when circumstances are difficult, God is still at work, and we can always rejoice in Him. Perhaps our lives today don’t necessarily feel that extreme, without fig trees blossoming or food yielding, with no herd in the stalls, like these verses describe, which is why I might have passed them by. And yet, even days where we are discouraged a little could maybe feel this way.

So we are reminded with Habakkuk to nevertheless rejoice in the LORD and take joy in His salvation, no matter what comes. And I love Habakkuk’s declaration that the LORD God is his strength – this is his confidence – and will make his feet like deer’s feet – that’s stability and the ability to live in the heights, walking on high hills, even when life appears to be in the depths! The LORD God will strengthen those who trust in Him and whose confidence is in Him.

PRAYER: Lord, today, may we have confidence and faith in You, our Strength, whatever comes our way. Let us rejoice in You, the God of our salvation, as Jeff did, and see Your beauty around us and You at work, even in a dark world and when things are confusing. Help us to fix our eyes again on You, who strengthens us and gives us all that we need for each day. May we trust you more and sing a song of praise to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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