is always a word that merits reading in times of serious trouble:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit 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 triumph in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation (Hab. 3: 17,18, HCSB).
In an agricultural nation such as Israel, crops and animals meant survival. But to the writer, there was a greater source of assurance than these basics. He rejoiced in the Lord in spite of lean times because he knew that God controlled all things and these matters could be safely placed in His hands! Do you do the same when all else seems scarce and threatening?
Three times in 2 Peter this expression is used (NIV) in 3:11, 13, 15. The future objects mentioned are “The Day of God,” the “new heavens and new earth,” and a summary statement including both of those just mentioned. The time in view for these wonderful things to happen is at the second coming of Jesus Christ. At that time He will put down all authority and opposition, defeat death, and give genuine Christians new resurrection bodies. What a wonderful day that will be!
New Years Day is just ahead—it is a time when many people “look forward.” Here’s hoping, believer, that you will align yourself with Peter as you contemplate the future. Forget your New Years’ resolutions; they come from you. These wonderful events mentioned by Peter are no resolutions—they are the promises of God. If you are looking forward to them then I will be able to truly wish you happy New Year (after all what is happening that could bring more happiness?). Looking forward to them will brighten your outlook all year long.
Paul didn’t (see 2 Cor. 4:1, 16 HCSB). He didn’t, even though he had greater reason than you probably do for giving up (see vs. 7-15).
What kept him going on and on and on in spite of his trials? He tells you later in the chapter. Even though trials were wearing him out physically, inwardly he was being “renewed day by day (v. 16).”
Now why would God pour strength into him that way? Because he had the proper outlook, for one thing.
Here’s what he said:
What is happening to me is momentary, light, affliction. (v. 17).
How could he say that after all he underwent? He compared it with what was yet to come.
What was that? In contract to each of those three words, he looked forward to
an eternal weight of glory.
That’s what we all need—the belief in what God says awaits those who serve Him.
Elijah was depressed. So goes the superficial reading of his life. No he wasn’t! He was angry. He wanted the Mt. Carmel revival to become a lasting, nationwide event that would turn the people as a whole back to Jehovah. It didn’t happen. Just as in his successor’s case, when people came to John by droves to be baptized, they soon grew cold and went back to their old ways, Carmel soon faded from the peoples’ minds. In John’s case, the house swept clean invited seven new demons. It was so bad that God wiped his generation out in 70AD!
In the mountain, God showed Elijah that He works not only in spectacular and outwardly powerful ways (as at Carmel), but that He also works in still, quiet ones as well.
That was what he needed to learn, but there is no reason to think he did.
At any rate, we must learn the lesson. There are usually several thousand unknown faithful who have not bowed the knee to Baal! When things don’t go as you hope, instead of becoming angry, begin to look around to discover God’s way. He is usually up to something—something far better than you had planned and hoped for!