THANK GOD ANYHOW!

The book of Habakkuk was written against a backdrop of apostasy, judgment, and unbelievable hardship. It was written during a time when Jehoiakim the king of Judah led the people back into idolatry and away from the Lord. As a result, God is preparing to judge the nation. Habakkuk is having trouble understanding why God would use a heathen nation like Babylon to punish His people. He cannot understand why God doesn’t just purge their sins and draw them back to Himself and to righteousness.

Habakkuk is a lot like Job. He argues his case, but in the end, he realizes that God is not to be worshiped merely because of the temporal, material and physical blessings of life, but simply for Who He is. Thus, he ends his words with a song of thanksgiving to God for Who He is and for the unchanging benefits that belong to those who know Him! Habakkuk had reason to fret, but he chose to be thankful instead! The keywords of these verses are “although” and “yet”. Habakkuk is saying, “I sure don’t understand all that is happening, but I am going to thank God anyhow!”

I want to take these verses and show you that regardless of how things may look on the surface, we have a reason to “Thank God Anyhow!”

I.  v. 17-18a  THANK GOD, HIS SOVEREIGNTY NEVER CHANGES

Circumstances change, God never does – Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17! Egypt – 7 years of plenty, 7 years of famine; Job’s life; Great Depression; Our own economy. I may not be able to rejoice in my situation, but I can always rejoice in my Sovereign! Habakkuk is painting a bleak portrait of the future, but he looks away to a God Who is always the same! “Lord” = “Jehovah” – “The Self-existent; eternal; changeless; covenant-keeping God” – “the I AM”. One we can depend on in desperate time; we can trust in troublesome time; we can believe during unbelievable times; we can lean on Him at all times!

We may not always know what He is doing, Isa. 55:8-9; but we can always trust Him to do what is right, Gen. 18:25. We may not always understand His plan, but we can trust Him to have the best plan, Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:28. No matter how things may appear, God is still in control. He still knows best and He always does what is right. If I can believe this, then 1 Thes. 5:16-18 becomes a possibility in my life! He will always be God; therefore we can be thankful anyhow!

 II.  v. 18b   THANK GOD, HIS SALVATION NEVER CEASES

Things might get worse in this life, but things do not affect my salvation! Salvation does not depend on things going well. Salvation rests solely on the grace and power of God! Life is uncertain at best, (One phone call or doctor’s visit can change everything), salvation is eternal in nature. The word “salvation” applies to more than just the soul. The word also means “deliverance and rescue”. That reminds me that this world is not my home. He is coming to rescue and deliver His children one day! Things may get bad here, but this world is not our home, Phil. 3:20! We are headed to a better land, Rev. 21-22! Praise God, the Lord has been good here, but the best is yet to come, 1 Pet. 1:3-4!

Things may get bad here, but things cannot take away my salvation – John 10:28; Heb. 13:5. God’s children are saved “to the uttermost”, Heb. 7:25. – That is as saved as you can get! May lose everything here, but I can’t lose Him or what He has given me! (Job and his hedge!) (Isa. 49:14-16 – He can’t deny us!) God’s salvation ever ceases; therefore we can be thankful anyhow!

III.  v. 19   THANK GOD, HIS STRENGTH NEVER COLLAPSES

“Strength” = “Ability” – Our strength does not lie within us. The Lord is our strength – Psa. 27:1; Isa. 40:31; Phil. 4:13. When we are unable to stand, He enables us. When we can’t go on, He helps us. When we are in the deep valley; He leads us to higher ground. “Hind’s feet” – speaks of grace, agility, and swiftness. “High places” speaks of the mountain tops where the deer is free from the dangers found below. Habakkuk is telling us that God enables him to rise above his circumstances and that God gives him the strength to stand above the battle and to enjoy precious freedom in the Lord! In other words, he is saying, “God turns my doubts to shouts! And He gives me peace in the midst of my problems!”

That is what God did for Job – Job 1:20-21; and Paul – 2 Cor. 12:9. and that is what He can and will do for you! God enables His children to stand when their own strength fails; therefore we can be thankful anyhow! In his trials, Habakkuk learned a valuable lesson. He learned a lesson that all of God’s children need to learn. He learned that God is both our salvation and our song. (Isa. 12:1-2; Ex. 15:2; Psa. 118:4) He learned that he had nothing to fear from life, but that he had a real reason to be thankful anyhow!

If you are saved, you possess every reason to be thankful that Habakkuk possessed. So, regardless of what you might be facing today, look to God, lean on God and be thankful anyhow!

Selah – You Raise Me Up (Acoustic) – 2018 Version

 

Selah – You Raise Me Up

 
 
 

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary

When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up, to more than I can be

 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up, to more than I can be

 

There is no life no life without its hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity

 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
And I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up, to more than I can be
You raise me up, to more than I can be

William McDowell – You Are Here

“You Are Here” is from the Dove Award-winning gospel album  ‘Sounds Of Revival II: Deeper’

 

CHORUS:
you are here
you are here now
have your way, as we bow down

VERSE 1:
Here I am, drawn by your presence
as I tried on holy ground
when u see, everything changes
and I will never be the same

CHORUS:

VERSE 2:
Lord you here
cry of your people
how we long for more of you
when you move, everything changes
and we will never be the same

CHORUS:

BRIDGE:
Take control…
here and now…
Take control…
here and now…

CHORUS:

BRIDGE:
Take control…
here and now…
Take control…
here and now…

CHORUS:

Taking Jeremiah 29:11 Out of Context

It’s written on graduation cards, quoted to encourage a person who can’t seem to find God’s well and doled out like a doctor explaining a prescription: Take Jeremiah 29:11 a few times, with a full glass of water, and call me in the morning. I think you’ll feel better.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” Jeremiah 29:11 tells us—possibly one of our most beloved, yet most misunderstood, verses in the entire Bible.

Sure, it might make a person feel better, but this verse as we often prescribe it is being taken completely out of context. It doesn’t mean what people think it means. It’s time to back up and see what the author of Jeremiah is actually saying.

When it comes to reading the Bible, we can sometimes be so familiar with the words on the page that we read them, but we don’t really understand them. We see the words and hear the words, but we don’t make any sense out of them. Familiarity can breed laziness, and so many of our misunderstandings about the scriptures happen because we are too familiar with the passage to look it with fresh eyes. If we would come to the Word of God with fresh eyes more often, we would realize that some of our most common interpretations of Scripture passed down to us don’t make much sense when viewed within the context of the passage.

Like any author worth his salt, the writer in Jeremiah begins by stating the subject of the passage: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon … “ (Jeremiah 29:4).

This verse, quoted to countless individuals who are struggling with a vocation or discerning God’s will, is not written to individuals at all. This passage is written to a whole group of people—an entire nation. For all the grammarians out there, the “you” in Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t singular, it’s plural. And you don’t have to be a Hebrew scholar to realize that “one” versus “many” is a big difference.

And the verse just before it is perhaps even scarier. For in Jeremiah 29:10, God lays down the specifics on this promise: that He will fulfill it “after seventy years are completed for Babylon.” In other words, yes, God says, I will redeem you—after 70 years in exile. This is certainly a far cry from our expectation of this verse in what God’s plans to prosper us really mean. He did have a future and a hope for them—but it would look far different than the Israelites ever expected.

So what? Some of you may be thinking. Even when the verse is taken out of context, it still offers value, right? God does know the plans of individual people, so it’s just as well to keep prescribing Jeremiah 29 for those seeking God’s plan for their life, right? Well, yes and no.

We need to let the Bible speak to us, not allow our own personal bent to speak into the Scriptures. If Jeremiah 29 is speaking to the nation of Israel, and not just one person, then we should start with the truth in the Scriptures. Context matters—God speaks at a particular moment in time, to a particular people group, for a reason.

What this means is that God has plans for a whole group of people, namely the nation of Israel. And if we read on in the Scriptures we find that this promise was fulfilled: those in exile returned, and the nation of Israel was restored for a time. God made a promise through the prophets, and that promise came true.

But that’s not the end of the story, either. There is something to the out-of-context prescriptions that so many make using this verse. God is a God of redemption, after all, and He wants to redeem people and put them on a path of wholeness, just as He wanted the nation of Israel to be redeemed and whole again.

As John Calvin says about this passage, the prophet is speaking not just of historical redemption, for that period in time, but also of “future redemption.” For the Israelites, God listened to their prayers when they sought Him with all their heart, and in His time, He brought them out of exile.
But how does any of this apply to us today? Can we still take heart in such a beautiful promise—even though it was spoken to people long ago, people in a far different situation than ours?

First and foremost, we are all in this together. This verse does not apply to isolated individuals or to a broad community. It applies to both, together, functioning as one. The image painted here is one of the individuals in the community, like the Body of Christ which Paul talks about. Here are a bunch of people, worshiping God together, hoping for future redemption.

The theologians Stanley Grenz and John Franke explain in their book Beyond Foundationalism just how a community “turns the gaze of its members toward the future.” The future in Jeremiah is one that is bright—one that everyone in the community through prayer and worship seeks as their collective future hope. Many of us want to desperately know the plan that God has for each one of us as individuals, but let the prophet Jeremiah remind us that it’s not all about us, and it might not look like what we think.

Even more important than our decision about which college to attend, which city to move to or what job offer to take is the future hope of the Kingdom of God foretold by the prophets and fulfilled in the reign of our new and coming King. In this way, the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 is bigger than any one of us—and far better.

Praise Is What I Do –

“Praise Is What I Do” is a worship ballad from the Shekinah Glory Ministry’s 2001 debut album and is sung by William Murphy. 

Praise Is What I Do

Praise is what I do
When I want to be close to you
I lift my hands in praise
Praise is who I am
I will praise him while I can
I’ll bless, him at, all times
And I vow to praise you
Through the good and the bad
I’ll praise you
Whether happy or sad
I’ll praise you
In all that I go through
Because praise is what I do
‘Cause I owe it all to you

Praise is what I do
Even when I’m going through
I’ve learned to worship you
Know my circumstance
Doesn’t even stand a chance
My praise outweighs the bad
And I vow to praise you
Through the good and the bad
I’ll praise you
Rather happy or sad
I’ll praise you
In all that I go through
Because praise is what I do
‘Cause I owe it all to you

Praise is what I do
Is what I do