Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A continuation from my previous posts.....

I've been studying this week and past weekend for the biblical basis for the book I've started work on. I've begun with the intro, and a chapter on suffering, pain and worship.

As I was thinking about worship in the midst of suffering, an old song came to mind that states, "put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." and so I decided to search the Scriptures for the phrase, Garment of Praise.

Up popped Isaiah 61, and I read that glorious chapter in its context. biblereference.com gave me an interesting cross reference, Habakkuk 3, end of the chapter.

So I read that whole chapter and later the whole book, which is just three chapters. The gist of Hab. goes something like this.

Hab. is disturbed at the sinful nation of Israel and asks God to do something about it. God lets him know, I am doing something about it, I'm sending the Babylonians. At first Hab. gets rather disturbs and dialogues a little more with God about it.

Finally, the last chapter Hab. comes to some conclusions. He realizes what God has is the best for Israel and wraps up his great hymn by singing...

“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 on the nation invading us.

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.

The sovereign Lord is my strength,
He makes my feet like the feet of the deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”


Wow. Some of the most powerful statements in the entire Old Testament. Even though the economy fails, we starve to death and have no hope for a physical future: I will rejoice that I have a Savior.

I wondered why Hab. said what he did, and so I did a little background digging. Frankly, there isn't much other than what you can discover from the Scriptures themselves.

However, interestingly enough, Jewish tradition states that Hab. is the son of the Shummamite woman. This is roughly based on the Hebrew word used by Elisha when he tells the woman, "by this time next year, you will have a son to embrace....." The word for embrace is linked to Habakkuk's strange name.

It's just tradition, we have no physical proof, no genealogies, no pedigree to prove that this is true. However, one thing does stand to link these two individuals together, their unwavering trust and faith in a God that is completely and utterly in control, even when the world as we know it self destructs.

During some moments that I'm having right now as my mother in law battles cancer, this is what I cling to. My God is in Control, even if it doesn't seem to be the case. And because He is my God, I will stand, and rejoice that He is my Savior and that He makes me to stand in the High places and worship Him without fear.