Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Habakkuk
“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. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
Oh, what a great little Book Habakkuk is – besides having the coolest names, Habakkuk is a wonderful prophet Book that isn’t so much a prophetic word to the people, but rather is a record of Habakkuk’s own personal struggle with his faith because he can’t grasp the reasons for the Lord’s action of having the enemies of Israel succeeding (or being blessed) by taking God’s people into captivity. It’s the classic question of ‘Why do the unrighteous prosper, especially at the expense of God’s people?’ This ‘prophecy’ – written sometime after 609 BC – is unique because it is a conversation between Habakkuk and the Lord over Habakkuk’s questions as to why the Lord is allowing sin to run so rampant in the southern kingdom of Judah, and why the Lord is allowing the Babylonians/Chaldeans to overtake Judah.
Of course, the reason that the Chaldeans were successful against the Israelites was because this was the Lord’s means of disciplining His rebellious children, while also teaching all of us that God is sovereign in all His decisions; infinitely wise in His reasoning; and perfect in His love to eventually turning things around for His people.
But this particular verse, which is found at the very end of Habakkuk’s book is a beautiful reminder that despite the pain, suffering, questions, doubts, and heartbreaks, if the redeemed child of the Lord trusts the sovereignty, wisdom and love of their God, then we are still able to praise Him, knowing that He will be glorified; we will learn; and we will be more like Jesus because of it. Once more, here’s the verse we are looking at:
“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. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.”
Here we see the writer – and it could be you and I as well – going through the toughest time of his life (remember Job?) and his struggle is metaphorically expressed through the illustration of a heartbreakingly poor harvest. This was an agrarian society, so the crops meant everything to the people and to their survival. So Habakkuk, after having his personal encounter with the Lord, is humbled and realizes what is most important. If the figs don’t bud; if the grapes fail to grow; if the olive crop goes kaput, and the rest of the fields grow nothing, and if all of the livestock vanish, Habakkuk says that he will still rejoice in the Lord; he will be joyful in the Lord because the Lord is his Savior, and his strength, and Who will – despite the tragedies – raise Habakkuk – Israel – and those who walk with Christ – up to new levels of maturity and blessing.
It’s hard to look at and believe in future blessing when you are in the midst of a deep, dark, and damp dungeon, but with Christ reigning in our hearts, He will bring that ray of hope that will lift us up and get us over that painful trial.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30