“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” – Habakkuk 3:17-19
The Lord give and the Lord takes away. Our confidence is not in the stuff we receive but in God himself. He is the ultimate source of our good. He is the ultimate means of our eternal satisfaction. God is. Everything else exists at God’s good pleasure. There is why his gifts make such poor gods. They were intended to be pointers to a greater reality. That God Himself is the ultimate gift. Money, sex, alcohol, drugs, luxury, comfort…the list is endless. The very sun that warms our planet will one day be replaced by the light shining forth from the glory of God! I sometimes wonder what heaven will be like. These verses make me think that the common answers people give miss the point of the pleasure we enjoy in this life. People think that heaven will be this cacophony of pleasure; a hedonist’s dream come true. The great (or sad) axiom of the sixties will become reality (minus any consequences): If it feels good, do it! From that, visions of everything from golf, to beaches to rivers of Chick-fil-a sweet tea have been offered up to explain what heaven is like. Very rarely do you hear anyone say, “God will be there,” or “Jesus will be there and we can worship him forever!” The modern church feels necessary to invent heavenly pleasures to interest people in perhaps choosing Jesus. Choose Jesus and play free golf for eternity (I can almost hear the jingle for “The Villages” playing). Choose Jesus and see your long dead relatives who also choose Jesus. Choose Jesus and sit on the pristine beaches of heaven sipping frozen fruity drinks (non-alcoholic of course…remember, there is no booze in heaven). It is quite ludicrous when you think about it. We are peddling heaven like a retirement community in south Florida. A place where all your worries are gone and the sun never stops shining. The church is afraid to tell people that the worship of God is continuous in heaven (that line doesn’t typically bring in the masses). Too many “christians” (and I use that term lightly) abhor the thought of an eternal worship service. Perhaps those people don’t truly understand their own sinfulness. In fact, I know they don’t. When one comes to understand even a small bit of how deep their sinfulness goes…the saving work of Christ becomes that much sweeter to the saved soul. It becomes even sweeter when the one understands that salvation is not a choosing of man, but the choosing of God. When that light has shined forth into the heart of the elect, the idea of an eternal worship service sounds like heaven.
It is scary to think about those who chase heaven for reasons other than Jesus. Sadly, they will be among those who Jesus does not know. They will be cast aside into the eternal flames of destruction because they treasured something other than Jesus. Their god was heavenly pleasure and their reward will be hellish torment.
These verses spoken by the Holy Spirit through the prophet Habakkuk will be read at my wedding. I want to remind myself, my wife and my guests that in this moment of great joy and pleasure, that God is the true pleasure and the true joy. All these earthly things are but shadows of the joys to come. I want people to cast down their selfish, pleasure-hungry visions of heaven and embrace a God-centered vision of heaven; one in which we enjoy not his things, but God alone in all his magnificent and all-encompassing glory.