Rejoice in The Lord
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food, though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17)
A modern day Habakkuk might say, “Although our crops are failing for lack of rain; inflation has made feed so expensive we can’t feed the flock; union wages are so high we can’t afford to hire reapers; higher interest rates are making it impossible to borrow money – and even if we could harvest our crops we can’t get enough for them to cover our expenses – yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
Most modern day Habakkuks would say all but the last part. We don’t find many people rejoicing in the Lord nowadays. We do find people complaining about the stock market, the high cost of sugar, the shortage of gasoline, the sluggishness of business and the high unemployment, but we do not find them expressing their joy in the God of their salvation. Surely the lesson Habakkuk would have us learn is that we are to rejoice in the Lord in spite of the troubles we may be facing. Most people simply moan and groan about their troubles, but forget to find joy in the God of their salvation. How about us? Are we so full of the love of God that it shines through, even when we are sick or out of work? Do we recognise that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away – “blessed be the Name of the Lord.” How do we stand up to the troubles that come our way? Whatever trouble comes to us is allowed by God, else we would not have it. Do we honestly believe that “there has no temptation taken us but such as is common to man and God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear”? But will the temptation also make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it? By studying the lives of the faithful of other ages, we can get an insight into how we should act when we are faced with trials. We know that we are going to be tried, for “whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” Nehemiah had enemies within and without, yet the work he was doing was blessed by God. God could have struck all Nehemiah’s enemies dead so that the wall could be built without being hindered, but this is not the way God prepares us for that future temple of which we all hope to be part.
Jesus promises us that “he who overcomes and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations”. It is impossible to overcome unless there is something to overcome and challenge us. Even in this life there is joy in doing the difficult tasks. A game of tennis is no fun unless we have an opponent who can challenge us and return our serve.
Let us face life confidently, knowing that “all things are working together for good for those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We know that “if God be for us” there is nothing, or no-one who can be against us. So we can cry out with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
We do not know what the year 2017 will bring to us. We do know that Daniel told us of a time of trouble that is coming and it isn’t here yet. So let us take courage, knowing that “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” These comforting words of Elisha relieved the anxiety of his servant when he saw that they were surrounded by Syrian soldiers. The angels that were present then to help Elisha are still alive, and are able to deliver us if that be the Lord’s will. It is easy to be frightened when we are in trouble, but instead, let us take courage like Joshua did, when he was afraid. God told him, “Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed.” Believing this, we will “rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation.”
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him,and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7
Bro Moses Komanya and Sister Wife of Bro Mwanzogolo in Mikumi Ecclesia
Bro Moses Komanya (Mwaanza, Tanzania)