This coming Sunday, we’re doing something a little different when we gather together with the church. Instead of having a particular passage to study and having someone designated to guide us through that passage, we’re simply setting a theme: thankfulness. Everyone is planning to come together with a song, a passage of Scripture, a lesson, a prayer request, etc. concerning thankfulness and gratefulness.
(Yes, I know that many believers meet together in this way all the time. We’ve met together this way before. However, this is not the way we normally meet together.)
As Margaret and I were talking about being grateful to God this week, I kept thinking about a passage in Habakkuk. Yes, Habakkuk. This is actually one of Margaret’s favorite passages.
To set the passage in its context, Habakkuk foresees the coming invasion of the Babylonians. They are growing in strength, and he knows that God is going to use that nation to punish Israel for its disobedience.
At the end of this short book, Habakkuk records this prayer/song:
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,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
The prophet looks forward to a time (perhaps after the Babylonians invade the land) when there are no figs, no grapes, no olives, no grain, no sheep, no cows, nothing. The people will be starving.
Yet, in this midst of these, Habakkuk says that he will find joy in God. This is the attitude that I want in my own life.
There have been many struggles in our life lately, and we often do not find joy in the presence of God, even though we know that he is with us. In spite of our struggles, we have never been in a situation where we had nothing, where we were hungry.
If Habakkuk can look ahead to a time when he has nothing and yet continue to see himself finding joy in God, surely I can do the same thing.
Unfortunately, today, I still look at times when my wants are not met (my wants, not my needs), and I still seek others things for my joy.
I recognize that in order to live continuously and consistently in a state of gratitude and joy in the Lord, I must be content in him and only in him.
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Alan Knox is a PhD student in biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a web developer. His interests include PHP and ecclesiology. His dissertation topic is the purpose of the gathering of the church in the New Testament. By God’s grace, he tries to live what he is learning about the church.
He writes about how our understanding of the church affects (or should affect) the way the we live our lives among other brothers and sisters in Christ. He's found that many aspects of our understanding of church (gathering, leading, teaching, etc.) are woven together such that it’s almost impossible to focus on only one aspect.
Find out more on his website, The Assembling of the Church.