November 24th – Walking by Faith in a Dark World



The genius of great worship is that its songs teach people the deep truths of God. The Psalms is the greatest hymn and prayer book ever written. The Psalms were all chanted or sung in worship, and taken away in memories so that God-centred thinking went with people into their busy lives in the world. All true revivals teach the deep truths of Christian theology in song. Martin Luther wrote songs which thousands of young people, in his day, sang as ‘Top of the Pops’. The Wesleys wrote and sang ecstatic praise, but in the words of wondrous theology. “He breaks the power of cancelled sin and sets the prisoners free” is one line from a hymn that educated thousands of searching people.
On these last two days we have been looking, albeit too briefly, at the three chapters which, in the Bible is “The Book of the Prophet Habakkuk”. Well, the third chapter is a hymn or psalm which puts to music the theology and teaching which can stick to their minds like wet paint. How do you pray about the world? How can we ask God to intervene in a greedy, crooked and violent society? How do genuine believers pray in a land full of idols? How do I trust him in a world like this? How do I express it, my faith in believing prayer?
That’s why Chapter 3 is in the prophecies of Habakkuk. How do you walk with God by faith when everything has gone wrong?
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 Saviour. Habakkuk 3: 17-18
You may prefer the words from another Psalm, the best known one, and that line which says: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
Oh, by the way, that psalm in Habakkuk has two musical instructions, telling people how to sing and play it. One is ’sela’ – three times it appears, and it means ‘intermezzo’ – stop singing and listen to the music, as you ponder what you’ve just sung.The other is ’shigionoth’ which comes from the root word ‘Shagah’, which means ‘Gone off the rails’, ‘wandering off’. Thus a shigionoth means, like a drunken reel, or when you sing this ‘let your hair down’ and stamp, or even dance to the beat. That’s how to teach theology!
A Prayer:
In submission to your will we bend our purposes, work and play, and when we are exhausted we continue putting our trust in you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now read Habakkuk Chapter 2 from verse 6 (his ’six woes’), and Chapter 3 (his hymn).

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Thought 4 The Day

One single fact opposing all wit and argument is that no one ever repented of being a christian on his death bed. (Hannah More)

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