Tag: fig

Dec 18 Rejoice…always

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Father, Habakkuk sees the injustice of the wicked prospering and succeeding in their treachery.  He prays: “Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord.  Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known…”

I echo his words, Father.  How I long for You to make such a display of Your power that none can deny You.  That everyone in the world would see what I see in You!  Then all would worship You as You deserve.

The prophet Habakkuk reminds me of Job in the final assessment of his condition.  Job said “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.”  Amazing! 

Habakkuk was just as steadfast in his statement of faith.  He painted a dire picture of possible conditions, then restated that he would still “rejoice in the Lord” and “be joyful in God my Savior.”

Habakkuk proposed “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails  and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.”  This would have been a dire circumstance in deed. 

As I learned before, a fig tree takes longer to mature and produce fruit than most fruit trees.  So no buds means no figs!  This would mean that years of effort and care had come to nothing.

Also, as they are the last fruit to appear, at the end of the summer, they would have been the last hope of food to get them through winter.  Figs can be eaten fresh, or dried and pressed into cakes to store for later use.  No figs would mean no food stores to last till the next year’s crops came in.

With no grapes on the vine, there would be no wine!  Wine and bread were the staples of the diet.  And wine was also instrumental in celebrations.  So no celebrations!  Drying the grapes produced raisins that, again, could be eaten or pressed into cakes and stored.

Olives were a crop that had many uses.  Besides eating olives, the oil was pressed and used in soaps, cosmetics, cooking and medicines.  It was also used for fuel in their lamps.  So no olives meant literally, dark times indeed.

In Habakkuk’s time people depended on the crops they planted to provide food for their tables.  Without these crops, there would be none.  The only meat in their diet was from the sheep and cattle in the stalls.  Without them, famine and starvation were in their future.

This picture Habakkuk paints is one of complete failure of his basic needs for life.  Yet he is willing to accept it all and still rejoice in You!

Father, give me a steadfastness of faith like Habakkuk had.  Help me in all circumstances to “rejoice in the Lord”! 

Help me, when there seems no hope by earthly standards, to “be joyful in God my Savior.”  I praise You Father, and I stand in awe!  Amen

Habakkuk 3:1-19

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Dec 7 Where there is life, there is hope

purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-napa-vineyard-45209Father, what a picture of joy and hope when You say “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert.”  Because in the desert, very little grows.  The lack of water and the intense heat plus sandy soil produce low, scrawny plant life.  But to find grapes: something juicy and good that can nourish, is a wonderful and valuable find!

When living in or crossing the desert, a find like this can be the difference between life and death.

fig-tree-1658686_960_720A similar picture is seen in the next part of the verse: “when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.”  For a fig tree is different from most other fruit trees.  It will take four to five years, and sometimes six or seven years for a fig tree to produce it’s first crop of figs.

So all those years, care must be taken to keep it watered and fertilized and protected from the weather and winds, parasites and disease so it will be healthy enough to produce.  Then, when seeing the early fruit, you know it has all been worth it!  There is success!  And hope of many more harvests to come.

Both of these create an emotional response of relief, satisfaction – that the future is secure and what has been done and accomplished was worth it.  I love seeing this in projects or ministries I have been involved with and lives I have impacted.  It is a good feeling that any positive influence will continue on in their lives.  I feel that same delight and hope when I think of my children.

But then all was taken away: “…they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.”

Delight is erased.  Hopes are dashed.  Joy is replaced with sadness, grief and anguish over the loss of those involved and the prospect of the joyous future that had been envisioned.

Father, do You delight in each one of us, and then anguish when we fall away from You?

I am Your child.  Keep me from turning away from You.  Show me clearly where and when there are idols I have been drawn to: pride, possessions, money, fame, popularity, whatever.

Help me and my children and loved ones walk in a manner worthy of You.  Father, let “our mouths be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.”   We give You thanks and praise!   Amen

Hosea 9:10; Psalm 126:1-3