When the Fig Tree does not Blossom
Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vine…
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17,18 NKJV)
We often repeat a positive confession, “God is good, all the time!” And this is true, absolutely. But then we discover that God’s ways may at times be contrary to our ways. We pray for A, but He sends B. How do we respond when we receive bad news or we face bad odds? Our response is important. Even in negative situations.
The night that Jesus would be betrayed, He took the cup after the Passover supper and drank of it declaring it to be “the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20) That cup is referenced in the Passover Seder as the Cup of Redemption. The fourth cup of the Seder meal is known as the Cup of Praise. It corresponds with a hymn from Psalm 118 which was customarily sung as a recessional. The Gospels say that before they went out, they sang a hymn:
This is the day the Lord has made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it…
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His mercy endures forever.
Christ Jesus is the great example and pattern for us. We see His willingness to face bad times with joyful praise, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2)
The Old Testament gives us a great example of the value of praise. Jehosaphat, king of Judah, had no sooner initiated reform when Judah’s enemies allied themselves against him. It was an axis of evil that badly outnumbered Judah. Jehosaphat fasted and sought counsel of the Lord. (See 2 Chronicles 20:3) A prophet of God declared to the solemn assembly which the king called together in Jerusalem, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”
Then Jehosaphat “appointed those who sing to the Lord and praise the beauty of holiness” to go out before the army. The choir sang praises as it marched out to meet the enemy. When they began to sing, “the Lord set ambushes” against Judah’s allied enemies. They turned upon each other, destroying one another. All the enemy were slain. No one escaped. A great amount of spoil lay on the battlefield. Thus Jerusalem received the returning warriors with great joy, “for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.”
We can praise in every circumstance. We don’t rejoice for bad things. But we can praise God because He is always good. All the time! And He causes all things to work together for our good because we love Him. (Romans 8:28)
Knowing this, we can always offer up praise to Him, even when it is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving!
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