Archive for February 22nd, 2008

Rejoice in the Lord? Now?!

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Today’s scripture: Habakkuk 3:17-19 & Psalm 22:1-5 (ESV-text and audio) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

At first glance, Habakkuk seems crazy. He lists all the things that are going wrong in his life. Most pressing, he’s under the threat of impending starvation, because there’s no food left anywhere — no grapes, no olives, no sheep for milk or meat. He and his family seem destined to die a terrible death before the season is out. “Yet,” he says, “I will rejoice in the Lord.”

How is that possible? How can someone “rejoice in the Lord” when everything has gone wrong? When he’s starving? The answer comes from the Psalm Jesus quoted on the cross: “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”

For Jesus on the cross, death was not just coming soon, it was imminent. When he said those words, he was suffering from nails in his hands and feet, lash marks on his back, and a crown of thorns on his head. In order to have the voice to say those words, he had to push down on the nail in his feet, hold himself up, and gasp for breath. He was under too much strain to quote the whole Psalm, but you can be sure he knew the rest of it.

The writer begins Psalm 22 by stating that he can’t see, hear, or feel God. He feels far from God. Abandoned. But, then, he recounts the things God did for his ancestors. He reaffirms his faith in God, not because of his current circumstances, but because of how God has been faithful in the past. He reminds himself that it hasn’t always been so bad. And, this gives him hope that it won’t be bad in the future.

Habakkuk said, “I will exult in the God of my salvation.” Despite his circumstances, he rejoiced in a God who had proven faithful in the past and would prove faithful again. Jesus quoted Psalm 22 as he was dying, and God proved faithful by resurrecting him from the dead.

Thought for the day: Count your blessings. It seems like such a trite idea, and yet it’s often exactly what we need to bring us through tough times to the resurrection that waits on the other side.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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