It’s been a long time since I posted Part 1 of this short series, based on some devotional thoughts I shared at church years ago. In fact, I’ve since lost my notes from it and am reconstructing from very poor memory. But this is what I think I talked about next:
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,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior. ~ Habakkuk 3:17-18
I know this passage of scripture doesn’t speak directly about being grateful, but it does communicate the joy that should accompany our gratitude — even in times when there doesn’t seem to be (as) much to be thankful for.
These two verse are near the close of a prayer of Habakkuk that was a psalm or song of Israel; a song of praise for God’s power in nature — His power to provide as well as withhold blessing; His sovereignty to do so.
One entire tribe of Israel’s twelve, the Levites, was commissioned to stand and give thanks to the Lord every morning and evening (1 Chronicles 23). Rain or shine, famine or plenty.
It is in the culture of this thanksgiving-in-song that Habakkuk can write his song of joy in the midst of want and disaster.
So ingrained is it in the heart of Daniel, that even in captivity he still bows to offer this thanks three times a day — even though it might cost him everything (Daniel 6:10).
And knowing what is about to befall Him, Jesus can serve the Passover and still give thanks for the bread and the cup that will come to represent His body and His blood (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22).
This is how it becomes the question for His followers: Will we still give thanks whether we eat meat or abstain (Romans 14:6)? Will we fix our eyes on the eternal and give thanks even when our temporal world is wasting away (2 Corinthians 4)? Will we trust in His providence and give thanks even when it is not immediately in evidence (Philippians 4)?
Will we give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?