“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor 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” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV).
Habakkuk is a short book, only three chapters. It plays out like a psalm, or quite simply, like a conversation between God and Habakkuk. Habakkuk was a minor prophet in the mid-700’s BC while Israel was under threat from the Babylonian empire.
If that wasn’t enough, Habakkuk bemoans the awful, unrighteous state of Israel, that seems to be overlooked by God. There is no justice and there seems to be no judgment. Habakkuk asks God when He is going to start paying attention to his prayers!
God’s response to Habakkuk is even more disheartening to him. God says, “I’ve got something big planned. I’m going to have the Chaldeans (who ruled over Babylon) come in and take care of business. You want judgment; I’ll show you judgment!
Habakkuk is dumbfounded that God would use a people even more wicked than the Israelites to bring the judgment he was looking for. I can understand his reasoning and frustration. First, he is upset with God that nothing is being done about the rampant ungodliness in Israel. Then, when God tells him that He is doing something, and clues him in, Habakkuk doesn’t like God’s method. It doesn’t make sense to him.
Speaking for myself, I have had numerous disagreements with God about how He went about His work in me. I’m sure you can identify. We would much prefer if God did things our way, and in our time. But…wouldn’t that make us gods? God understands our frustrations; He has to deal with us!
Eventually, Habakkuk sees the light. He decides that he will let God be God. He then exemplifies and models the contentment we are so often encouraged to develop. He says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor 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.”
He basically says that regardless of what happens in life—invasion, infestation, famine, drought—God is sovereign and God saves. Whether or not we like His methods or His timing, we need to trust that He knows best. It’s not an easy path to walk, trusting God with everything; but it is the most gratifying.
There will always be things in this world that vex us. We will always be able to form the “perfect judgment” in our hearts. But just think of how much happier we could be if we would just focus on being who God wants us to be instead of how we’d run things if we were in His place.
So, when your world is crashing down around you, when your cries to God seem to go unanswered, when the plans you’ve made for your life don’t seem to be going according to your schedule, trust God. Take joy in Him. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways than our ways (Isaiah 55:8).
Think mindfully on these things. Blessings on your week!