Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
September 2021 (2)
August 2021 (4)
July 2021 (6)
June 2021 (4)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

“ALTHOUGH THE FIG TREE SHALL NOT BLOSSOM . . .”
by Philip Owen

            Someone has observed that the book of Habakkuk begins with a sob but ends with a song.  Even so it is a strange song to many of us, one that many of us could not or would not sing.  Here it is:  “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 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” (3:17-19).

 

            We are tempted to ask, “What kind of peculiar person is Habakkuk?”  He speaks of circumstances that are not merely inconvenient, not just very difficult, but potentially life-threatening.  After all, if all the crops and livestock disappear, there is nothing left to eat, and how they might survive is uncertain.  Yet Habakkuk neither prays for deliverance from this judgment nor strength to endure and survive it.  He sees the severity of the situation, recognizes the possible consequences of the situation, but takes no account of them.  Though he is facing them, his attitude is almost that of an historian:  dispassionately observing some long-completed situation that cannot be changed but that has no real impact on him.

 

            Instead of mourning, worrying, fearing, beseeching, or interceding, Habakkuk does a strange thing:  he rejoices.  The reasons for this attitude are as clear as they are rare.  First, Habakkuk recognizes the necessity of judgment on his rebelliously sinful nation; second, he rejoices that a holy God will be vindicated in the punishing of unrepentant sinners; and third, his entire focus is on the eternal, not the temporal.  If this is God’s work (and it is), if God is holy and righteous (and He is), then what is about to befall the nation will honor His God.  And for those reasons, Habakkuk can rejoice.  It is his earnest desire that the God of His salvation, whom he has come to know, to reverence, and to love, be manifested in the glory of His holiness.

 

            Furthermore, he is assured that the Lord God is his strength and will provide him with the sure-footedness of a deer to ascend to the heights of faith in and fellowship with his Lord, however severe the circumstances, however brief his existence.  For Habakkuk, “quality of life” has nothing to do with natural circumstances but everything to do with the vindication of the Person of his Lord.

 

            Now that is atmosphere more rarefied than the air breathed by the deer in the heights of the mountains.  But it is the air that the Lord would have us all breathe—clear, pure, and unpolluted by the pleasures or cares of the world beneath.  We all know what it is to harbor aspirations for those we love.  We desire them to achieve and delight in their accomplishments.  Such is the unvaried nature of genuine love.  Should we not, then, rejoice in the Lord, despite unpleasant circumstances?  After all, nothing happens by chance or accident; God ordains all things in accord with His sovereign will and holy perfection.  Should we then rejoice over “miserable” circumstances in our lives?  Or should we view with glee the “come-uppance” of the unrighteous?  No, but we still should “rejoice in the Lord” and “joy in the God of . . . [our] salvation.”  For when all is said and done and as the ages of eternity roll along, the stuff of time will not matter.  All that will remain will be our Lord and what He has done for and through us.  Waiting on Him in confidence and hope and submitting to His will in all things are the substance of genuine blessing.  May it be so in your life and in mine.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page