Friday, 13 May 2011

Proclamation from the mountain

I’ve been reading Habbakuk this week. I’ve been particularly struck by the fact that after this prophet wrestled with God, questioned Him, received a personal response from Him, and struggled under the vision of impending judgment and suffering to come which left him with pounding heart and trembling legs, he was able to make such a strong declaration of faith in His God that no matter the circumstances, he would trust Him and rejoice in Him. He then concludes by saying:

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. – Hab 3:19

It struck me that Habbakuk’s walking on the heights in the face of crop failure, famine and the persecution to come from Babylon sums up exactly the contrast between the theology of glory (man ascending self-confidently to God) and the theology of the cross (God reveals Himself to man, particularly in the weakness and mercy of the suffering - as outlined by Michael Horton in his book A Place for Weakness). For the world would look at the circumstances facing Habbakuk and conclude that all was lost – whereas it was precisely at this moment that God was at work, bringing His purposes to fulfilment through judgement upon the nations of the earth.

I’ve been reflecting on a post I made earlier in the year, “Revelation from the peaks”, where I concluded that much of my experience of God has taken place on the mountains. Yet when I look back on those experiences of God – being broken by His Holiness, being undone by His Law, being laid low by His Glory – it certainly seemed at the time that these were in fact times in which I was in a dark valley, enduring great inward struggles and pain. It is only now, in hindsight, that I can look back and see that paradoxically these were mountain-top experiences.

And this verse has particularly been impressed upon me today:

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, Here is your God! – Isa 40:9

It seems to me that there is a call here to the people of God who have come to know their God through the mountain-top experiences of suffering and struggle, who are starting to see Him more clearly from this perspective, to make a bold, fearless proclamation to the people of God as to Who this God is. This proclamation of His Sovereignty, His Holiness, His Majesty, His Justice, yet also of His Compassion, Lovingkindess and Mercy to the Redeemed in Christ, will surely help to “strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (Isa 35:3-4). May God grant us the grace to be bold in our proclamation!


  1. Diana!

    I so love your post. It makes me think "no cross, no crown".

    Heaven will not be won without sorrows and tears and sin and affliction.

    "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation." (Rev 7:14).

    And I so agree with you -- with the same comfort that we have received we will comfort others and boldly declare, "Our God, He is faithful!"

    Thank you for this beautiful and encouraging devotional. You truly handle the Word well dear sister!

    Love you dearly!

  2. Very good post and encouraging insights! Blessings!