11/18/12 Yet I Will Rejoice in the Lord!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 Under: Sermon

Text: Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)

17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls - 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Intro: Could you carry on if everything normal in your life collapsed? Could you still rejoice if others thought there was nothing you could rejoice for! You ever have one of those days where you thought it couldn’t get worse and it did. Habakkuk a man of God a prophet was having one of those days but you could multiply it by 10.

Application: Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

1. The Element of Sin: Romans 3:23

This is one of the greatest confessions of faith found anywhere in Scripture. Habakkuk has faced the frightening fact that his nation will be invaded by a merciless enemy. The prophet knows that many of the people will go into exile and many will be slain. The land will be ruined, and Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed. Yet he tells God that he will trust Him no matter what happens!

Can you do that? Can you really trust God no matter what?

The God of nature can alter and control all the powers of nature to make earth, sea and heavenly bodies carry out the purposes of His judgment against sinners, or for the salvation of His people. His true children can, in the midst of earth’s distresses, rejoice in Him who is the God of their eternal salvation, our salvation cannot be stripped away it can however be strengthened. We look at our world today and we witness all these different events.

The element of sin does not have to control us nor the results of it.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

- We can rejoice in the Lord, sin does not have to have dominion.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

2. The Element of Hardship:

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

Every year at this time we are reminded of the Hardship and yet thanksgiving the Pilgrims experience in the new land; as Habakkuk clearly mention we must also remember hardship and even lose and still find solace! Did I say that? Can you really find comfort through a poor economy, loss of jobs, foreclosure buildings burning down, marriages being challenged and all kinds of other stuff? The Bible says rejoice and again I say rejoice.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! How many times have you heard me make that statement? Our present troubles are: Light affliction? Is it possible the light affliction we deal with can produce a blessing from God?

Verse 17 consists of six conditional clauses controlled by the word “though”. The six clauses seemed to be rising to higher levels of severity, with the loss of figs ranking least and the loss of the herd in the stalls causing the greatest economic damage. Figs served as a delicacy in Israel, but their loss did not produce severe hardship. Grapes provided the daily drink, but again the loss of the fruit of the vine would produce inconvenience rather than poverty. The olive crop on the other hand produced oil for cooking and lighting. Grain (barley and wheat) provided for the staple diet of Palestine. The failure of the fields to produce food might mean starvation for large segments of the population. Both sheep and cattle made up much of the wealth of Palestine. Sheep and goats provided wool and the occasional meat for the Israelite diet. Hebrews did not normally eat cattle, but they were used for preparing the soil for planting and other heavy work.

The loss of any of these individually might be survived. Together, the losses spelled economic disaster and devastating loss of hope-loss of their daily provisions, loss of their economic strength, loss of the Lord’s blessing due to their sin. But Habakkuk knew that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

The prophet vowed to remain faithful to the God of his salvation. Though he might lose everything in this world which normally brings life and joy, Habakkuk vowed to rejoice in the Lord and to joy in God. More than “toughing it out” or “hanging in there” Habakkuk would be “joyful” in the God of his salvation.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

3. The Element of Faith:

“I will wait patiently on the Lord”. If Habakkuk had depended on his feelings, he would never have made this great confession of faith. If Habakkuk looked ahead, he saw a nation heading for destruction, and that frightened him. When he looked within, he saw himself trembling with fear, and when he looked around, he saw everything in the economy about to fall apart. But when he looked up by faith, he saw God, and all his fears vanished. To walk by faith means to focus on the greatness and glory of God.

One of the marks of faith is a willingness to wait patiently for the Lord to work. We cannot run ahead of the Lord: we must wait patiently! When you know that God is working in your life, you can afford to wait quietly and let Him have His way.

Habakkuk is a changed man! Instead of complaining, he is praising the Lord. God turns sighing into singing if we (like Habakkuk) take time to wait before Him in prayer and listen to His Word.

Habakkuk shows us how to deal with life’s problems: admit them honestly; talk to God about them; wait quietly before Him in prayer and meditation on the Word; when He speaks, listen and obey. Never run away from the difficulties of life, because God wants to use those difficulties to strengthen your faith. “Never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light.” The just shall live by faith.

"Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

They say Habakkuk was the doubting Thomas of the Old Testament. He could have allowed his current situation to control his faith but he didn’t.

Habakkuk’s name means ‘embrace” this prophet figured it out. His soul was revived, his eyes were reassured, the prophet’s heart rejoiced and he became a renewed man. He embraced his faith and now understood the just shall live by faith and in that he was thankful. Are you thankful?

Conclusion: Habakkuk teaches us to face our doubts and questions honestly, take them humbly to the Lord, wait for His Word to teach us, and then worship Him no matter how we feel or what we see. God doesn’t always change the circumstances, but He can change us to meet the circumstances. That’s what it means to live by faith.

Habakkuk: A prophet who vowed to be thankful in hard times, one who loved God enough to thank Him in distress. How can one be thankful when things are difficult? When the provision of God changes be thankful He is unchanged. God does not change so be thankful! When suffering, be thankful for His Salvation.

We are never far from problems in this life, everything about us is fragile life itself is uncertain - Salvation provides eternal life, eternal life is promised (John 3:16). Heaven is ahead “Let not your heart be troubled!” The best is yet to come! Two of my favorite verses: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

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