Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Surprising Faith

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. - Hab 3:17 & 18

The small book of Habakkuk is tucked into the books of the prophets of the Old Testament but this prophet doesn't seem to fit the mould. Instead of talking to people on God's behalf the book is a conversation between him and God.

It is one of those profound conversations where the created is questioning the creator with the age old question: Why?

Although Habakkuk does get some answers in the middle of these answers God introduces the concept that is picked up and quoted by New Testament writers.

"the righteous shall live by his faith" 2:4

For Habakkuk the light comes on and he composes the song that we have read above. A song that crystallises the very essence of faith. Not predominately a tool to prise something from an unwilling deity. But as an anchor of trust buried deep in the eternal plan of an almighty God no matter what is going on within our envelope of time.

William Cowper quoted Habakkuk in his hymn Sometimes a light surprises:

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too; Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear, Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.


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