Community in Action January 15, 2021

Though the fig tree not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the field produce no fruit.

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.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

    We are going through a difficult period in our lives during this “unprecedented” time. There is political unrest in our country, concern about our health, and a lot of soul searching, It doesn’t seem to let up and yet there are times when hope pops us like a paper white out of the cold hard ground.

    We don’t know always know when hope will come nor do we know how long it will last. Sometimes it seems like we keep taking two steps backward for every one step forward. But last night Joan and I watched a great movie, a hopeful movie, which began with a story about a homeless girl who lived in a bus, but ended with a community which she had longed helped that helped her (the movie is called “All Together Now”).

    I read the passage above yesterday in my eclass on the Prophets through the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies. Habakkuk is only three chapters long and in some ways is like an abbreviated reading of the Apocalyptic book Revelation. Habakkuk is a conversation between the prophet and God.

    The prophet is asking how long will injustice and wrongdoing continue? And though God does not tell him when it will end God does say when the end comes destruction will come to those who put their faith in idols as opposed to putting their faith in him. 

    In fact in chapter 2 verse 4 the prophet records God saying, “the righteous person will live by faith.” I often associate this quote with Paul in Romans 1:17, but actually Paul is quoting Habakkuk, and Paul also affirms this in Galatians 3:7. 

    What would faith be if we were so certain in life that we had no concerns? Though I might want to try living like that for a while, but as we walk through the valleys we learn that God is continually there with us. It is those little moments of watching the paper white coming out of the ground, or the time when we see the otters frolicking in the canal, or when we get that unexpected letter or phone call from a friend, just when we need it, which brings hope to my soul.

    So as I read through Habakkuk and I relate to his complaints still I take heart in the dialogue God has with this prophet. And I take the above two verses which come at the end of his prayer as my own and say with him in verser 19, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”

    God will carry us to the place which is safe and we will look back, down, at our past and claim God was with us during those difficult time and then we can celebrate with joy that Jesus is our savior.

    Growing in faith with you,

    Pastor Randy

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