17 Even though the fig tree does not blossom, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even if the olive harvest fails,
and the fields produce nothing edible;
even if the flock is snatched from the sheepfold,
and there is no herd in the stalls—
18 as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will find my joy in the God who delivers me.
19 The Lord God is my strength— he will make my feet like those of a deer,
equipping me to tread on my mountain heights. – Habakkuk 3:17-19
Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances. They are fleeting and temporary. But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us. It is dependent on our internal attitudes. It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy. If we lose it, it is because we give it away. It is our strength that gets us through every day. There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus. When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”? When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers. When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph. Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”. All day, every day, all our life long.
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”
And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”
12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” — Jeremiah 1:11, 12 NLT
The almond tree is particularly significiant in the Holy Scriptures. It is a sign of hope because it blossoms in the middle of the winter on a leafless tree. It reminds us that there is life even in our darkest hours. It is connected with charity in the book of Numbers becasue Aaron’s rod was from an almond tree and it blossomed and brought forth fruit overnight. Charity because the Levitical tribe lived on the gifts of the people, they had no earthly possessions. In the original KJV, the branch was called a “rod” which symbolizes power or leadership. In Old Testament times, the fruit of the almond tree was beleived to be the external expression of the goodness that is in all of us. Here in Jeremiah, the branch or “rod” of the almond tree is associated with God watching over HIs word and HIs people with power to perform. It means that He will carry out His plans and nothing nor anyone can stop Him from doing so. Our part is to spread His word among the people. Just as Moses told Aaron to take the incense and go between the dead and the living to stop the plague, we are to take the Word and stand in the gap to stop the advance of sin. We speak the Word and stand, God’s Word accomplishes and produces the fruit.
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it. — Isaiah 55:11 NLT