November 19, 2021
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen...”
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit 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 triumph in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! YHWH, my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! For the choir director: on stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
I don’t like to go work out at the gym. But I know I need to go in order to be healthy. I have experienced that while I never like to start a workout, I always feel revived when it’s through. Presently, many of us are facing tough “workouts.” Some are facing job loss, health loss, loss of a loved one, loss of a home, or the loss of a relationship. If I have learned anything in my walk with the Lord, it is simply to trust in Him and to cling to His character. This, He has revealed in His Word. That’s not to say I have mastered faith! I’m just saying I know my Master is faithful.
The last three verses of Habakkuk’s prophecy are the expression of a truly revived man who has learned to find all his “springs” in the Lord. You almost have to live in a desert region (as I have) to appreciate water that emerges from the least likely of sources. But if we change the backdrop to finances, don’t we all appreciate when money or opportunity shows up, seemingly out of nowhere? Paul surely had Habakkuk in mind when he encouraged the Philippians through a season of bitterness and strife:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any praise – dwell on these received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
There is such a difference in the spirit of Habakkuk from beginning to end. He begins bewildered and confused, full of questions and perplexities. And Habakkuk ends as one who has found the answers to all his questions, whose soul has found satisfaction in the Lord God Himself. We can all identify with his questions and confusion, and in Habakkuk’s patient endurance, we find encouragement to hold fast in faith.
Habakkuk is such a short book; if we blink, we will miss the major lessons: Even the most pious men have questions. Nobody fully understands God or knows His plans, although He has revealed enough of Himself (clearly articulated in His Word) for us to follow Him rightly. Therefore, no man is without excuse on the day He comes to test (or ultimately judge) us. We all have doubts, and God constantly allows situations in our lives that weigh our personal theologies against His Biblical truth. And when He has tested us, given we hold faithfully, we shall emerge rejoicing.