Habakkuk 3:18

Verse of the Day Devotion: Habakkuk 3:18

“Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:18   

Do we give God the glory in everything?  I imagine that when something we have been waiting for finally comes to pass, we rejoice in God that He has provided what He has for us.  When the big raise comes in, or the incredible promotion happens, or when our kids succeed beyond our expectations, I know I say, “Praise God!!”.  However, what happens when things do not work out as we desire?

In chapter 1, Habakkuk cries out to God regarding God’s supposed non answer to a prayer.  “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save.  Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists, and contention arises.  Therefore, the law is ignored, and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore, justice comes out perverted.”  Habakkuk 1:2-4.  God answers them by saying I am about to do something they would not believe if they were told.  “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs.  They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves.”  Habakkuk 1:6-7.

Habakkuk then responds, “Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct.  Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You cannot look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” Habakkuk 1:12-13  He knows who God is and he knows He is good.  However, he is questioning what he sees.   He asks the ‘why’ questions. He knows God but sees something that is contrary to what he knows.  How many times in these situations do we call out Why, why?

Habakkuk then prays to the Lord.  He speaks of Him, declaring what good He has done in past times for His people.  “In indignation You marched through the earth; In anger You trampled the nations. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For the salvation of Your anointed. You struck the head of the house of the evil to lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.” Habakkuk 3:12-13.  He knows trouble is coming, and he is fearful.  “I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us.” Habakkuk 3:16.

However, next he declares his trust in the Lord no matter what.  “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,”  Habakkuk 3:17.  What Habakkuk is saying is no matter what the results of the Chaldean attack is, if there is no food in the fields or animals in the barns and stalls.  If there is nothing left to meet their needs, God is still good.  “Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18. What a beautiful picture of complete trust.  When we find ourselves in situations that appear hopeless; where our means of meeting a need does not look like it will happen, can we rejoice in God?  Do we rejoice in God?  Nothing is impossible for God.  “‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,’” Jeremiah 32:17.  We need to praise His name no matter what situation we find ourselves.  There is nothing He cannot do.  And if this is true, and He is a loving and faithful God, which He is, then there is nothing for us to be concerned with, and we should rejoice in the idea we shall see His hand work on our behalf.  Do we trust God in our difficulties and trials as Habakkuk did in his?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 5:3

Verse of the Day Devotion Romans 5:3

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.” – Romans 5:3

Chapter five begins with the word ‘therefore’.  This denotes that it is a continuation of an idea that was at the end of the previous chapter.  “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2.  In fact, “Having  been justified by faith” summarizes the entire argument of the first four chapters. Those who have placed their trust in Christ can rest assured that their faith has been credited to them as righteousness. And because we have been justified by faith, we also have peace with God through Jesus Christ.  This speaks of the new relationship that exists between God and those who turn to him in faith. As Paul used the term, it does not primarily depict a state of inner tranquility. It is external and objective. To have “peace with God” means to be in a relationship with God in which all the hostility caused by sin has been removed.

Their confidence is based on the fact that Christ was put to death for their sins and raised again that they might be declared just. “Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” Romans 4:23-25. And because of this we stand, and we exult in hope of the glory of God. However, what comes next in our focus verse can be very difficult. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.” Romans 5:3.

From our focus verse, we see that not only do we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, but we also rejoice in our sufferings.  The believers’ joy is not simply something they hope to experience in the future but a present reality even in times of trials and distress. Their joy is not a stoic determination to make the best out of a bad situation. Christian suffering is a source of joy because its purpose is to build character in the believer.  James puts it this way.  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4.  We are to regard trials as a thing to rejoice in; a matter which should afford you happiness. We are not to consider it as a punishment, a curse, or a calamity, but as something we can experience joy in.  Thus it is the experience of coming through a time of testing that produces hope. Our confidence in God’s ability and willingness to bring us through difficult times leads to an ever brighter hope for that which lies beyond. Hope is not superficial optimism but the confident assurance of that which will surely come to pass. It distinguishes those who have kept the faith in times of severe testing.

In essence, we should be confident in God regarding everything we may experience, both what ‘we’ deem good or bad.  If we find ourselves in times of tribulation, we should rejoice knowing that God allows it because we can be strengthened,  “knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3b-5. No matter the situation, realize that it will strengthen us to do God’s work.  And because of this, we can be thankful.  “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.