The First 15

Saturday July 4, 2020

by Mike Ramsdell



Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine,

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.

The sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.


This is one of my go to places in the bible, verses I memorized long ago. Regardless of the situation, the day, the season, the up or the down, it always fits the moment for me and brings everything into perfect perspective. It’s the balancer for life.

No matter what, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will celebrate that God is my savior. It is always a good thing when there are olives on the tree and grapes on the vine, but whether there is or not God is still God, God still loves us, Jesus is still savior and Lord, and God’s strength for living is readily available.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” These word from Philippians 4:13 were written by Paul while he was in prison. Rather than question the whys and wherefores of his undeserved situation, Paul chose to look to Jesus for strength, just as Habakkuk challenged his people to look to God for the ability to overcome the challenges that life always brings.

A few years ago, I put together a phrase that I often remind myself of that surely fits this season.

I am going to be happy, I am not going to be miserable, I am blessed of all people that my sins are forgiven, I belong to God, God is with me, one day I will be with God, and that is guaranteed by the cross of my Savior Jesus Christ. I repeat this in devotional moments almost every day. It helps me focus on God and not the mess that often seems to define my world.

As it records in Habakkuk, maybe there will be fruit on the vine, maybe not, I will still rejoice because God is my savior, God will give me strength for this season. I will be happy because God is my God and I belong to Him. The Psalmist had certainly watched deer and goats jump from ridge to ridge on the mountains around the city. It looked miraculous. You can do that to God said to Him. God will give us strength to overcome this obstacle that faces us.

Rather than looking to the changing circumstances in the world around us for our joy and peace, the direction of todays Bible reading is “look to God for it”, God who doesn’t change, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever”. Hebrews 13:8. In other words, we can’t look to people and the circumstances of the world we live in for the things that only God can give.

As you read todays First 15, I would ask you to read these words of Habakkuk again, and when you do be reminded that the world of that time was in a 1,000 times more precarious position than ours is. Jerusalem was close to being invaded by the powerful Babylonians, destroyed. Many of the residents would be carried into captivity and slavery in Babylon. It looked like all hope was gone, “YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL BE JOYFUL IN GOD MY SAVIOR” is the advice Habakkuk gives. The words in Habakkuk and Philippians double down on the possibility of a life where the strength of God is made available that allows us to walk through what seems like impossible seasons, all the while growing in faith and courage as the people of God.

Prayer for Today

Some days it seems like I can’t face what is ahead, I ask you to give me the feet of a deer, that I can climb to the high places. Give me the ability to step out of the valley too often I find myself in. God, today I choose to rejoice in you, that you are my God and that I belong to you. I celebrate with all my heart that Jesus is my savior and that you are with me and one day I will be with you. Right this moment, I am grateful that you are God, I am not alone, and joy is as close at my decision to give my heart to you. It is in Jesus name I pray.


The First 15

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