Habakkuk 3:17-18 – “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” NIV
Have you ever enjoyed a fig straight from a fig tree? I have! As kids, we ran around the neighborhood enjoying the fruit of fig trees, pear trees, and even plum trees. I probably ate healthier when I was younger, then I do now! Those are some of my fondest childhood memories. Eating fresh fruit from a tree is a delight that few people know. I’m glad for the experience!
Habakkuk is a short book in the Bible. God and the prophet is having a discourse; the prophet asks a question, God answers. The prophet wants to know when justice will be served on the wicked. He, like so many today, wonders why God seems to not answer him, intervene in what is going on, and save them. God responds by telling him how amazed he and the people will be when they see what will happen by His hand. Not accomplishing what the prophet thinks He should do, but accomplishing His will!
Habakkuk then appeals to God’s character of being a holy God and basically tell Him that his answer is a little harsh. What He has planned, punishment of Judah by the hands of the Babylonians, seems too much! He waits for God’s answer, standing watch to hear His response. God gives Habakkuk a vision. He tells him to write it down because it will happen at its appointed time. And reminds him that the just shall live by faith!
Throughout this discourse two things are noted: God as a Warrior God, and the prophet as being in awe of Him as he intercedes for His mercy. He recalls to mind who God is, reciting His attributes of purity, holiness, and that the Babylonians attacking Judah to punish them seems problematic to him.
Then the prophet begins to sound like a psalmist as he states, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
He came to the conclusion that He could safely trust that God knew what He was doing. (Go figure!) He knew he needed to live by his faith, which was based on God’s character and not what he was experiencing! Everything that they needed for their livelihoods, crops, sheep, and cattle would be taken or destroyed. Life as they knew it would be over. But Habakkuk came to the place where none of it mattered more than his trust in God.
Sounds similar to today! I’m not saying that this pandemic is the hand of God! I truly don’t believe that for a second! But I am saying that this pandemic has thrown the world for a curve. And everyone is ready to “get back to normal”. They say people are going crazy. They need to get back to work, back to church, back to living! This is one of those times when I will say, “I get it!”
But here’s my point: Though the economy is not thriving, though I am to stay at home and limit my activities, though I am to wear a mask when I go out, though I am not able to go to church or work, though I can’t go out to eat at my favorite restaurant, though I can’t hang out with friends and family, though we have no vaccine in sight and this might go on for even longer, yet will I praise Him and be joyful in my Savior!
Habakkuk didn’t minimize the state of his beloved Judah, nor the things that they had to endure. Neither do I minimize any thing that’s happening in the life of the people who read this blog, or those who haven’t been enlightened enough to know that they should (just kidding); but I trust God. I trust His character, I trust His history with mankind, I trust His word that this is not how it ends, and I trust His love for us. Not sure when all this will be over, but I know it will. But even if…I will yet praise Him! Wonderful Jesus!