There are two points I want you to be aware of from verses 17-19 of the third chapter of Habakkuk.
- Joy is not based upon what God does, but who God is (17-18).
- The foundation of our joy is God’s character, not his gifts.
- Look at verses 17-18 in your Bible:
- Habakkuk lists out the things that God might [“Though; if”] take away in the coming calamity with the Chaldeans:
- Figs: Luxury food; (Christmas presents)
- Fruit on the Vines: Grapes/Wine, the beverage of the day (Drink)
- Olives & Field: Oil & Grain for food; (Food)
- Flocks & Herds: Farming tools, clothing, Economic collapse; (Money & Jobs)
- The list essentially covers everything. He is saying, “If God takes everything from us…” Observe how he finishes his statement in v18:
- “Yet” I will rejoice in the Lord. Look at the center of his rejoicing! He is rejoicing in God, not in the things God has given him, because God can and might take all those things away.
- One commentator said it this way, “Habakkuk exhibited the kind of relationship with God which enjoyed the divine person more than the things he could do for the prophet.”
- Look at his second statement: I will take joy in the God of my salvation. At the end of the day, Habakkuk was one of God’s people and he knew that his standing before God would eclipse the tragedy he was preparing to endure. His faith in God was not a blind faith. He based his understanding of God’s character upon the things God had done in Israel’s history (3:3-16).
- Illustration: During World War II, Corrie Ten Boom and her family put their own lives in jeopardy to aid Jews and other refugees trying to escape the Nazis. Over 800 Jews were saved through the efforts of her Family and their friends as they provided refuge, food, love, and care. After two years of hiding Jews and Dutch resistance workers, Her family was betrayed by informants and their house was raided. The family was sent to prisons and even concentration camps. Corrie survived and following WWII her response to the love of God in the midst of tragedy was powerful: “You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”
- To the stressed out, perfect Christmas idolator: What would you do if you couldn’t have the perfect Christmas? What if the rolls do get burned? Is Christmas ruined? No! The Rolls are ruined and Christmas will continue. What if God took everything away from you? What if everything you counted on to have the perfect Christmas vanished? Would Jesus really be all you needed?
- To the believer who is walking in darkness this Christmas: Jesus is the God of your salvation and truly all you need. Don’t be fooled by the advertising and the commercials and the lights. Sin has ruined everything and eventually all the lights will come down, the presents will get broken and the dinner will give somebody heartburn. Christmas isn’t perfect. Jesus is perfect. He came and lived a perfect life and died a perfect substitutionary death so that you could have real, eternal, soul-anchoring joy. Trust in him.
- Joy is not based upon what God does, but who God is.