Habakkuk began his prophecy on a note of despair but he ends up by focusing on his source of strength.
What would you say is your source of strength? What do you rely on most to get on in life?
- Is it your physical fitness?
- Perhaps it is your level of intelligence?
- Are you a highly talented individual?
- Who do you rely on most – your marriage partner, peers, parents, children, or colleagues?
- Who really exerts the greatest influence on your life?
Habakkuk 3:19 CEV
‘The LORD gives me strength. He makes my feet as sure as those of a deer, and he helps me stand on the mountains. To the music director: Use stringed instruments.’
As we noted in the previous verse, if everything that was normal and predictable collapsed, the prophet declared that he would still rejoice in the Lord.
Is this not, in effect, exactly what the world has come to experience through the Coronavirus pandemic? Everything that we regarded as normal and predictable in life, was thrown into disarray. As a result, people coined the term ‘the new normal’. And what is the new normal? No one seems to know.
- What effect has the virus had on your normal pattern of life? Do you now have a new normal?
What exactly is the new normal? It seems to be different in every country.
Here in South Africa, the new normal includes the constant emphasis on being vaccinated against the virus. We are continually urged to wear masks when we enter malls, shops, restaurants, churches etc. We are reminded to keep a safe distance from one another and to keep sanitizing and washing our hands.
- How has the virus affected your relationships?
The prophet affirmed that the Lord continued to be the source of his strength in the face of the forthcoming devastation by the Babylonians (a.k.a. Chaldeans). Despite the fact that the circumstances confronting him had not shown any signs of improvement, Habakkuk had discovered the secret to being able to walk sure-footed like a deer climbing a steep mountain. “The Lord has given me strength.”
The devotional writer Beth Moore makes this comment:
“Faith is never the denial of reality; it is belief in a greater reality. Yes we are indeed surrounded by discouraging circumstances. But the reason we don’t have to yield to fear and discouragement is the presence of God in the middle of our circumstances.” (‘Believing God day by day’ by Beth Moore)
DAVID’S SOURCE OF STRENGTH
We saw in our last session how although David was chosen to replace King Saul as king of Israel this only happened after Saul was killed in battle.
Following David’s slaying of the giant Goliath and being appointed commander in chief of Saul’s army, the Lord gave him success after success in battle. So much so that the people began chanting
“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7 NIV)
Scripture goes on to record, “Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?'” (1 Samuel 18:8 NIV)
From that point onwards, out of jealousy, Saul attempted to assassinate David.
Psalm 59 is a psalm that David wrote when Saul sent men to spy on David with a view to killing him. The psalm is headed, “When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.” (Psalm 59:1)
David opens with an appeal, “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me.” Then in several verses, he highlights God as his source of strength.
“You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress,’ (Verse 9)
“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” (Verses 16 & 17)
Despite having to frequently flee for his life, David acknowledged that the Lord constantly came to his rescue as the source of his strength.
At the end of a three-week period of mourning, fasting and prayer Daniel received a vision of a man. From the description of the man, this appears to have been an archangel. (Daniel 10:1-6)
He said to Daniel:
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” (Daniel 10:10)
“Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:14)
Daniel said to the one standing before him,
“I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” (Daniel 10:16b,17)
The passage continues:
“Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. ‘Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,’ he said. ‘Peace! Be strong now; be strong.’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” (Daniel 10:18,19)
Daniel was overawed at this vision of a spirit being and the message concerning a great war (Daniel 10:1). He was weak both physically from his time of fasting, and spiritually. In his weakened condition, he was given a word of assurance which was the source of strength.
Life is full of experiences that sap our strength and may even cause us to doubt the goodness of God.
The apostle Paul wrote of a particular weakness that he experienced:
“. . .in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – bold mine.)
Whatever our area of weakness, we have a God who desires to turn every weakness into a source of strength.
We all have our weaknesses, but some seem worse than others. Whatever your weakness, wherever you need to be strengthened, bring that before the Lord in prayer and His power will help you overcome your weakness.
Join in with this magnificent choir as they sing God is Our Strength and Worship to the wonderful Dam Buster’s March.
If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.