Saturday, December 10, 2022
Reader: “My soul glorifies the Lord.”
Response: “And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Scripture: Habakkuk 3:13-19
You went out to rescue your chosen people,
to save your anointed ones.
You crushed the heads of the wicked
and stripped their bones from head to toe.
With his own weapons,
you destroyed the chief of those
who rushed out like a whirlwind,
thinking Israel would be easy prey.
You trampled the sea with your horses,
and the mighty waters piled high.
I trembled inside when I heard this;
my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,
and I shook in terror.
I will wait quietly for the coming day
when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.
(For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)
This is the final passage from Habakkuk. Like yesterday’s reading, the prophet harkens back to the history of God saving his people with his reference to the exodus. There is even the curious phrase about “crushing the heads of the wicked,” a phrase reminding me of the curse placed by God where the Redeemer mortally crushes the head of the serpent in the Garden while absorbing a wound. (Gen 3)
In spite of the agricultural disaster that has befallen God’s people, the prophet’s writing portrays uncommon, undeterred hope, and relentless fortitude. As one who grew up on a farm and currently oversees the farm with my sister, crop failure is the most difficult kind of disaster. Barren fields speak of prolonged hopelessness and waiting for another year to pass. Crops don’t appear in a day. Livelihood depends on a successful harvest. Failing crops, starving flocks, dying cattle, and empty, dusty, cob-webbed filled barns speak of catastrophic failure. This reality is one of the reasons farmers are so tuned to the weather and freely admit, “it’s up to the good Lord.” Prayers in churches attended by people in agriculture tend to be different from those in city churches. Livelihood is truly dependent upon the Lord in a very earthy way!
Having said this, one short, three-letter word speaks of undeniable, unquenchable faith in spite of all circumstances. That word is “yet.” It is a “Hold it! Not so fast” word. Faith in the sovereign God of truth is demonstrated so clearly in Habakkuk’s song.. “I will rejoice . . . I will be joyful . . .” My strength is in him. As we await the Lord’s return, some of us may be experiencing “crop failure” or “empty barns.” Remember that most powerful of words, “Yet!” Hold on! Not so fast.” Don’t draw hasty conclusions. The Lord is my strength; he is the source.
Music: “O Come, All Ye Faithful” Voctave Go see and hear them whenever you can!
O Lord, help me to understand that there ain’t going to be nothing come my way that you and me together can’t handle. ―Anonymous