December 18, 2018
Written by Larry Stockstill
Joy is the biggest prize Satan could ever steal from a Christian. Someone once said, "If he can steal your joy, he can spoil your goods." The prophet Habakkuk knew how important it was to keep his joy, and he was determined to hold on to it tightly, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Joy is the one precious commodity Satan cannot take from you unless you give it to him. When you have your joy, you will say with Habakkuk, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as sure-footed as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains" (Habakkuk 3:19). The little deer's feet are so nimble that even when he is knocked from a towering precipice, he still lands on his feet. With joy in your heart, you will always land on your feet, no matter the trial.
Perhaps you can rejoice when everything is going perfectly, but what about when the bank balance is zero and all your efforts seem to be unfruitful? Purpose today to "always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
5 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
9 They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand.
10 At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it.
11 Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!”
12 Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?
14 You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler.
15 He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich.
17 Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?
1 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
2 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
3 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.
4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
5 “Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.”
6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!”
7 Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them.
8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.
9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm!
10 You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life.
11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond.
12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
15 “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness!
16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the LORD’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory!
17 The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.
18 “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols!
19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it.
20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.
2 O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. Selah
4 His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.
5 Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels.
6 He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
8 Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD? Was your anger against the rivers, or your indignation against the sea, when you rode on your horses, on your chariot of salvation?
9 You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows. Selah You split the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw you and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice; it lifted its hands on high.
11 The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear.
12 You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger.
13 You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah
14 You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters.
16 I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.
17 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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.
3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.
4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.
6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,
8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth;
9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.
10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.
11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.
13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God,
14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.
17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths.
18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths.
19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk,
21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!
7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
10 Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
Source for scripture texts: www.digitalbibleplatform.com