Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Joy of the Faithful

Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation
(Habakkuk 3:18).
If you have been paying attention recently, you know there is a global food crisis. Millions of people are now in need of food assistance. Even rice in Asia can no longer be assumed.

Our global distress is not far from that which Habakkuk imagined for himself. In verse 17, he wrote:
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls
Habakkuk writes of a time when everything assumed failed. The trees that you assume will bear fruit are barren. The fields that you assume will sprout food are dry. The cattle that you assume will help in the toil of farming and give protein are absent. Just insert your assumption and its lack and you will understand Habakkuk's sorrow.

Yet in this state of total collapse, Habakkuk confesses joy? Exactly. The Genevan reformers made this note in the first study Bible:
He declares in what the joy of the faithful consists, though they see ever so great afflictions prepared.

- Note on Habakkuk 3:18, 1599 Geneva Study Bible
Universally, we wrap our joy around the assumed rhythms of life. Birth. Growth. Health. Age. In our assumptions we forget that none of it is assured. There is only One who is constant. There is only one hope that is assured. There is only one joy unassailable... and it is not in this life. So when even the floor drops out from beneath us, our joy consists in Him.

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