Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I was feeling very discouraged this morning about some circumstances I'm dealing with in my life. I have to confess, as I sat down with my breakfast to pick up where my Bible reading plan left off, I didn't have much enthusiasm. I am so thankful that I decided to spend that time reading in my Bible because what I got was major encouragement and a gospel reminder from the Book of Habakkuk!

First of all, Habakkuk is one of those little books in the back of the Old Testament that most of us have to use the table of contents to find (or at least flip through those pages until we land on that tiny, three chapter book). Habakkuk was a prophet right before the people of Isreal were sent to exile in Babylon. He didn't live in a very encouraging time, to say the least.

When I read Habakkuk 2:4 and saw the notes leading to passages in the New Testament that quote that verse (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38-39), I looked the verses up in my ESV Study Bible and read some notes that were given for those verses. That's how I "got" the gospel from the Old Testament today!
Habakkuk 2:2-4, ESV
And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come; it will not delay.
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
    but the righteous shall live by his faith."

The ESV notes said:
"It will take faith to wait patiently for God's plan to unfold, but "the righteous shall live by faith." It is quoted in NT to emphasize that people are saved by grace through faith and that Christians should live by faith (Hebrews 10:38-39)."

Romans 1:16-17, ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

For Romans 1:17, the ESV notes said:
"The life of faith is all-encompassing: it is by faith that one initially receives the gift of salvation (eternal life), but it is also by faith that one lives each day (Hab. 2:4, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38)."

Hebrews 10:35-39, ESV
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

For Hebrews 10:37-38, the ESV notes said:
"The quote from Habakkuk 2:3-4 encourages perseverance; it announces that the wait for the end will be short, that faith is required from the righteous, and that "shrinking back" invites God's displeasure, and this displeasure, as the next verse clarifies, means final judgement."

Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV
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.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

For Habakkuk 3:17-19, the ESV notes said:
"Anticipating great destruction at the hands of the Babylonians, Habakkuk has radically changed--he began by informing God how to run his world, and ended by trusting that God knows best and will bring about justice. Even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances, but in God himself. Yahweh has become Habakkuk's strength (Psalm 18:32, 39)."

"Habakkuk can have sure-footed confidence in God and can live on the heights even amid extreme circumstances. (see Malachi 4:2, "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.")"

These verses helped me to remember my confidence in God's ability and faithfulness and it strengthened my faith this morning. I love how immediately after those verses in Hebrews 10, we get the "Hall of Fame of Faith" in Hebrews 11!

Like Habakkuk, by God's grace, I was able to get up from my table with my heart filled with praise and great joy in God, instead of feeling discouraged by my circumstances.

May God encourage your hearts and minds today.

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