December 19 – Jesse Tree Story Day 20
I had my work Christmas party this week and found myself a bit overwhelmed. I think that place was the most God-less place I’ve been this month. It even topped Walmart’s Black Friday. My overwhelming feeling was where do I start shining God’s light in so much darkness? Sometimes I have a feeling like this season of life staying home with my kids, getting involved in kids and women ministries, and growing, growing, growing is a season of preparation, God getting me ready to go and face this battle when I start working in the office again. Can you relate to any of this? How do you deal with hardened hearts?
READ: Habakkuk 1:1-2:1, 3:16-19
Habakkuk was a prophet of God at the same time as Jeremiah, during the last kings of Judah, before the fall of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon. Habakkuk raises complaints before God. His question that permeates this book is, “Why are You allowing bad things to happen to Your people?” How would you answer this question?
Habakkuk gets pretty whiny in his complaint, basically asking God in vs. 1:12-13 why He’s choosing the Babylonians, who are far more sinful, to punish the Israelites, who are bad but not that bad. God’s first answer is in vs. 1:5: “’Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.’” As Paul preached in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch to Jews and Gentiles, he repeated this verse from Habakkuk 1:5, reminding his listeners that prophecy warns they won’t believe the Good News that Jesus is our promised Savior, warning their hearts may stay hardened.
The rest of God’s answer to Habakkuk’s questions is not part of our reading today, but His answer is strong enough that Habakkuk changes his tune from whining to praise. In fact, in vs. 3:18, despite all of the horrible things happening around him, Habakkuk finds himself where I hope we all can get—smack-dab in the center of God’s will: “’…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.’” I also like how God as Savior is alluded to here, foreshadowing the amazing miracle to come! REJOICE! REJOICE! Emmanuel shall come to us, o Israel!
No matter what, I will rejoice and be joyful in God.
I rejoice in You, My Lord and Savior, my Help, my Provider, my Peace, and Your love that You continually rain down upon me. I am filled with joy as you fill my heart with Your presence! Help me not to lose sight of You in the midst of stress, darkness, and struggles, for You are my Everything, and all else pales in comparison to You! My desire is to rest in your arms in the center of Your will.