Posted in 2Timothy, Habakkuk, Hebrews, Psalms

Long Term Joy

“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, yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

God wants you and I to have a joy in His love and union with us that transcends our circumstances. Habakkuk is declaring an absolute freedom from God having to do anything a certain way or give a certain outcome. God is Sovereign and it doesn’t matter what’s going on in my life or on this planet, it really doesn’t change anything. He loves me, He delights in me, and His joy and salvation are my strength. Whatever faces me, God will show me how to walk on my “high places,” or as the Amplified version says, “make me to walk (not stand in terror, but to walk) and make (spiritual) progress upon my high places (of trouble, suffering, or responsibility)!”

We live in a culture that is addicted to short-term pleasure and has often lost the ability to sacrifice for long term joy. Paul said that in the end times people would be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2Timothy 3:4) God is all about pleasure, “at His right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11), yet He is more concerned about the long term than the right now. This is a problem for us because we want pleasure now, and if we aren’t having it we can be tempted to think that God has left us or is somehow mad at us because obviously, in our minds, “He’s not blessing me now!”

Yet to become godly we will go through much suffering, internal and external, and often be called to sacrifice short term success in man’s eyes for Christ’s sake. We can resent this, or like Moses, we can by faith “see Him who is invisible” and choose to embrace ill treatment with the people of God rather than live for the passing pleasures of sin. (see Hebrews 11:25-27)

God does care about what we’re going through. He cares so much that He will not short-change a process that He knows will lead to our long term joy.

Posted in Acts, Habakkuk, Hosea, Psalms

A Song in the Night

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me.” Psalm 42:7-8

The Psalmist is in a time of mourning and desperation that has invited him to go deeper in God. God’s breakers have swept over him and they have broken him down to where all he has left is a thirst for God Himself. (Psalm 42:2) Have you ever been here? Are you there right now? God has a song He wants you to embrace; a song in the night.

David was in the wilderness being chased by Saul even though he had done nothing wrong. He had been anointed by Samuel and had an early victory over Goliath, but now an army was seeking to kill him and he was on the run with his men, hiding in caves. (Psalm 27:3) At this time David heard God say to his heart, “Seek My face.” (Psalm 27:8) In the midst of David’s great need for His hand (power to deliver), God invited David deeper, to seek His face (who He is). May our response be similar to David’s: “Your face, oh God, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)

Three things happen to us when we embrace the song in the night:

  1. Our joy becomes centered in God alone. Habakkuk says that when famine strikes and all external blessings are cut off, he will rejoice in God because God alone is his Savior, Strength, and Guide through life’s most difficult times. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
  2. Our identity changes. Hosea declares that experiencing God’s tenderness in the wilderness will lead to us calling God our husband instead of our master. (Hosea 2:14-16) It’s in the frustration and despair of the wilderness that God calls us deeper and changes us. David says it this way: “Your gentleness makes me great.” (Psalm 18:35)
  3. We prepare the way for our own deliverance. David says the rising waters will not reach him because God has surrounded him with “songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7) Paul and Silas sang this song in jail and it led to an earthquake that freed all of the prisoners (Acts 16). Is it midnight in your life? Lift your eyes higher, seek His face, and sing His song.