Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mountain King

They are some of the most moving words in the whole of the Bible. The prophet Habbakuk worked and ministered at a time when the spiritual, social and political life of God's people Israel was at its lowest. Before there would be any kind of awakening or renewal there would first have to be a 70 year period of exile and banishment. Things were pretty tough when Habbakuk
spoke or perhaps sang these words:

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries
don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm–eaten and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the
sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m
joyful praise to GOD. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior
Counting on GOD’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.
I run
like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

This statement of faith was wrung from lips that were more used to complaining. The whole of Habbakuk's prophecy is built around his complaints to God about the unfairness of all that was going on around him. He could not understand how God would allow His people to suffer at the hands of an ungodly heathen nation - the Babylonians. In chapter 2 God told him to write down a vision - and though its fulfilment would be delayed - to wait for it with hope and confidence for it will surely come.

I have my complaints too. I feel like Habbakuk in some small way. It seems so unfair to be in so much pain after so long, and following so much surgery and medical intervention - not to mention healing prayer! Yet, here we are. Now the doctors are telling to me to rest for at least 3 months and to return to London for more procedures. My heart is in the work of God at the church that I have the privilege to serve, and that is all I desire to do. Yet now, through nothing of my own doing, even that is denied.

Then the words of Habbakuk's final prophecy hit me. He shares my mystified sorrow at what is, yet he is rejoicing in the One who rules over all. The God of the mountain makes no mistakes and so the prophet see himself as 'king of the mountain' - dancing on the deadly heights. And this is the secret. Paul the Apostle knew it when he suffered under house arrest and in prison for years on end - and we are blessed by his writings during a period when he must have felt so frustrated. No situation is wasted with God, and even barren-ness is not empty. Out of our unfairness flows His promise of Romans 8:28 that God works every situation for the good of those who love Him and follow His way.

God of the mountain and the valley, help me to rejoice in You today.