“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls – Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.“ Habakkuk 3:17-18
Come what may, “I will rejoice“. That’s not the easiest thing to say, and it’s even harder to walk out. In the midst of trials, how do we still praise Him?
The book of Habakkuk opens with a conversation between Habakkuk and God. And it’s not an easy conversation. Habakkuk asks some questions. These questions are hard questions . . . they’re questions born out of distress . . . and they’re questions that push back. Habakkuk is frustrated and distraught by the evil surrounding him.
The very opening words of Habakkuk bring these difficult inquiries straight to the feet of God, and these questions, asked over 500 years before the birth of Jesus, seem as if they could have been asked right here, today:
“O Lord, how long shall I cry, And you will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” Habakkuk 1:2-4
This book . . . this back and forth communication between God and one of His prophets . . . where Habakkuk questions and God replies that things are about to be real tough (understatement of the century) . . . reads as if it were being written in modern times. It’s the definition of difficult. It’s not a book full of promises of easy times to come. And I know that I, personally, wouldn’t have handled the answers God gives incredibly well. But rather than shut down and turn away, Habakkuk shows us what exactly what we should do when all looks lost. He offers up a prayer to God, a prayer of awe . . . a prayer of praise . . . a prayer for mercy . . . a prayer for salvation . . . a prayer of faith that says he knows God will rescue His people. He knows God will make him “walk on high hills”.
Habakkuk ends with these words:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls – Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on high hills.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
Not matter what . . . I. Will. Rejoice. Have you ever tried to walk high in the mountains? It’s not a simple stroll in the park. It’s challenging, but it’s also beautiful. It’s worth the hard to be able to walk in those high place. And Habakkuk knows that God will equip him to do just that.
Two things I take away from this book (which is three very short, beautifully written, relevant chapters, and I encourage you to sit down and and study it from beginning to end):
- God can handle our hard questions. He is there for them. So ask Him. Don’t shy away from that conversation.
- Don’t stop praising. Because no matter what comes . . . no matter how hard or devastating . . . our salvation lies in Him, and we must trust that God is in control even when nothing goes our way . . . even if everything around us seems like utter chaos.
We live in a lost world fraught with sin, but no matter what we have to believe and know . . . we must keep the faith that “God is good and He does good” (Psalm 119:68).
It begins and it ends right there.
“Yet I will Rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.“
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