"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."
Habakkuk is a little known prophet of the Old Testament, but he happens to be one of my favorites. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah, a REAL favorite of mine, and legend has it that he ministered to the needs of Daniel when that notable prophet found himself in the lion's den. This can't be historically proven, but it's a nice image, isn't it?
Habakkuk prophesied about the coming Babylonian invasion, when King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah and ransacked Jerusalem, destroying the First Temple in 586 BC.
Like us, Habakkuk struggled to understand God's ways. He wrestled with trying to understand why wickedness, strife and oppression were rampant in his country, yet God seemingly did nothing about it. When God revealed to him that He was preparing to do something about it through the "ruthless" Babylonians, Habakkuk's perplexity only deepened.
He cried out, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong;" and then asked, "Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?" In essence, he was asking why would you allow the wicked Babylonians to destroy your favored people?
God makes it clear that He will eventually deal with the wicked in His own time, and in His own ways; Habakkuk must rest in His assurances. The opening verses of this post reflect the prophet's peace in his circumstances and his worshipful response.
Like Habakkuk, I sometimes look around me, and the wickedness of the world weighs heavy. Since 1973, there have been approximately 50,000,000 abortions in the U.S. Don't you think those souls are crying out for justice? The US State Department reports that approximately 300,000 American children are at risk for the sex trafficking trade. Pornography, greed, rape, murder..... the list goes on and on. As the world speeds toward utter chaos, debauchery and evil, I am sometimes overcome with hopelessness.
And when I contemplate what our immediate future may hold; what a failed economy, civil unrest and religious persecution might look like, I, too struggle with God's ways.
But in those darkest moments, my soul longs for comforting words from the Holy Spirit; promises that justice will be served to the wicked and God's goodness and mercy will reign supreme. And I realize that even if the worst happens and we are struggling with daily survival, God will still be on the throne. He will be in charge. Evil will be punished and my faith will be rewarded. And like Habakkuk, I will shout out my confession of Trust and Joy in the Lord!