Habakkuk 1:11b (Babylon) “They are deeply guilty, for their strength is their God.”
Habakkuk 2:4 “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
Habakkuk 2:18-19 What good is an idol carved by man, or a cast image that deceives you? How foolish to trust in your own creation, a god that can’t even talk! What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols, “Wake up and save us!” To speechless stone images you say, “Rise up and teach us!” Can an idol tell you what to do? They may be overlaid with gold and silver but they are lifeless inside. But the Lord IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE. Let all the earth be silent before Him.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails; and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
Acts 16:6-10 Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north to the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. …that night Paul had a vision, a man from Macedonia… so we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded God was calling us to preach the Good News there.
Acts 16:22-25 The mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with rods. They were severely beaten… the jailer put them in the inner dungeon and clamped them their feet in stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening…
How do we come to live in confidence like the prophet Habakkuk describes in Habakkuk 3:19; “surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” One of Robin’s favorite books is “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. It’s an allegory dramatizing the journey each of us must take before we can live in “high places.” I haven’t read it, but I think after thinking about that question this morning, I will. What enables us to live that way?
Habakkuk 1:11 and Habakkuk 2:4 contrast those who live in dependence on self and their own strength with living in dependence upon God, and His faithfulness. There is an interesting correlation in Habakkuk 2 between living according to our own strength, and idolatry. It seems like those who are depending on themselves in Habakkuk 2:4 are the same ones who are worshipping idols in Habakkuk 2:18-19.
I think we find the answer to our question in Habakkuk 3:17-19 and in Acts 16:22-25. Habakkuk describes a time of incredible loss and physical trial. The crops fail, the fields dry up, the flocks all die, and the barns are empty. But, in the midst, Habakkuk says, “Yet will I rejoice in the Lord.” In Acts 16:22-25 we find Paul and Silas, after being beaten severely, through into prison. And not just the common cell, they were thrown into the inner dungeon and put in the stocks! But, we find them, at midnight, singing and rejoicing loud enough that all the other prisoners heard it!
So, how can we live as one with “hinds feet on high places,” “surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights?”
- The Lord must be our strength.
- We must walk in dependence upon the Spirit. Paul and Silas were lead by the Spirit to go to Macedonia. That led to their imprisonment. Because they knew, without a doubt, they were doing what God wanted, they could sing and rejoice while in the dungeon in the stocks!
- We must learn to rejoice, not because of the circumstances, but because we are confident in the Lord who is above the circumstances. And what He does is always good! (Ps 25:10)
- I pray you will continue to grow in your trust in the faithfulness of God, and not in your own strength.
- I pray you will be able to rejoice, no matter what circumstance you find yourselves in, not because of the circumstances, but because of your confidence in the one controlling the circumstances
- I pray you will pursue and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit
- May you become become surefooted as a deer on the heights!