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Habakkuk 3:16-19 16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

Faith Rests-“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.”  Never underestimate the value of learning the discipline of waiting and the role it can play in the development and display of your faith.

God has built the component of waiting into our lives to give us an opportunity to grow our faith.  Scripture records examples of people who suffered painful consequences because they didn’t wait for the manifestation of God’s promise. Take Abraham and Sarah, for example.  God made a promise to Abraham that he would bless Abraham and Sarah with a son through whom the rest of the world would be blessed.  Abraham’s descendants through the Son of Promise were to be as numerous as the sand on the seashore.  Abraham was 75 when God made this promise to him, so I am sure Abraham was expecting that it would be a pretty quick conception since he and Sarah were already seasoned seniors.  But listen, when God gives a promise, it is because He wants to do something that can only be attributed to Him.  He wants His fingerprints to be on it.  He wants His glory to be seen.  He wants His people to trust Him to do it.  He doesn’t give us promises so we can achieve something but so that we can believe something and then receive something that is just from Him and not our effort.  It follows, then, that The passing of time doesn’t diminish the promise of God.  It strengthens it.  It validates it. 

Rather than nurture the promise, rather than confess the promise, rather than possess the promise by faith, Abraham and Sarah tried to possess the promise by the flesh.  Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child with her Egyptian maid, Hagar.  And so he did.  Present-day Muslims point to Ishmael as their forefather while Jews descended from Isaac.  How the Middle East could be different today had Abraham and Sarah just waited!  Interesting that even though Abraham and Sarah got impatient and acted in the flesh, GOD STILL HONORED HIS PROMISE!  Praise God that He is still in control even when we mess up. Scripture tells us that it was 25 years between the time Abraham and Sarah were promised a son and the manifestation of that promise, but God kept His promise.

Listen, there is a difference in creating an Ishmael in the flesh and in waiting on an Isaac in faith.  When you act out of impatience what you produce will be born out of your efforts and your will.  There will be a component of “settling for” or accepting something than is less than God’s best, something you will have to wrestle with for a long time or even a lifetime.  But when you wait on God, what will be conceived or born in your life will be the result of God’s will and will be God’s best.

Genesis 18:11 tells us that when Sarah got pregnant, there was no earthly way it could have happened.  For she was well past childbearing years.  Abraham and Sarah got the credit for Ishmael.  God got the glory for Isaac. If you are truly committed to God getting glory through your life, then you will choose to wait in faith rather than create something in the flesh.

In  your waiting, resist getting angry.  Resist getting anxious.  Resist acting in order to make something happen and RELAX.  Breathe in the peace of God.  Don’t settle for anything less than the fulfillment of God’s promise.  Don’t compromise your faith by trying to make something happen.  Don’t create an Ishmael that you will have to wrestle with the rest of your life.  Faith rests.

Not only does faith rest, but faith also Faith Rejoices

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Living by faith means your relationship with God is more important than any earthly provision or comfort.  It means that when provisions or comforts are stripped from you, you can still rejoice when you possess Jesus.

Circumstances are ever changing.  Just like there were years of plenty and years of famine in Egypt; just like Job’s life constituted years of prosperity followed by years of pain and suffering followed by another round of prosperity we know that life is filled with ups and downs.

But there is one thing Christians can always rejoice in.  God is never changing!  He is always the same.  He can always be trusted.  He is always at work, and His love for you is unfailing.  Even if you wind up with nothing, if you possess Christ, you have everything you need.

Rejoicing in Christ is a decision of your will.  “I WILL bless the Lord at all times.  His praise WILL continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1) Our decision to rejoice can’t be contingent on how things are or on how we feel about how things are.

If Habakkuk had depended on his feelings, he would never have decided to rejoice.  If his praise was contingent upon physical blessings he would never have rejoiced.  But Habakkuk didn’t look inside to his feelings.  He didn’t look around at his circumstances.  He looked up and saw a God that would never fail him even though everything around him in the natural was failing.

Exercising faith by learning to rejoice in crisis is not only the mark of a mature Christian, but it is also the mark of a wise one because as you learn to rejoice whether you feel like it or not, your mindset, your perspective, and your attitude about your circumstances takes on a different dimension.  You gain a spiritual mindset that will increase your tenacity, renew your spirit and spur you on to keep going.

Not only does faith rest and faith rejoice, but faith also receives.

Faith Receives. “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

As you rest in God’s Sovereignty and rejoice in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and salvation, you are then in a position to receive supernatural strength and a change in your outlook that prompts you to look towards the future.  Though a person’s circumstances could dictate that a person feel low, think low, and stay low, the person of faith will receive supernatural strength and an enablement to be able to anticipate a new location, a higher plane, a place beyond where you have ever been before.

Habakkuk made a great transformation or shift in his thinking from verse 16 to verse 19 of chapter 3.  His faith stabilized him! Faith does that for us.  It stabilizes us.  It gives us a firm foundation and a track to run on.  In verse 16, we catch a glimpse of his emotional and even physical state.  When he thought about what was ahead he said, “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.”  He was weak in the knees, faint of heart and faint in his body.  His heart was racing.  He was basically describing a panic attack.

But what happened when he made the decision to rest in the Lord and rejoice in God alone?  He received strength to think that not only would he get through it, but that he would be sustained to the point where he would land up on the heights!  When we decide to totally rely on the Lord, it is amazing how refreshed we become.  Instead of being overwhelmed we are empowered.  Instead of being in despair we become determined to conquer.  And what is different about being on a high place? You gain a perspective above your problems that you can’t get when you are walking in the midst of them!

Resting, rejoicing, and receiving from Christ and receiving Christ as Savior in order that you might receive the strength to rise above life’s challenges!

This week, I overheard my husband talking to someone about a book he had read called “The One Thing.”  It
Psalm 139:13-18  13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am
Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit?   Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you