“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 … yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Habakkuk was a prophet, and he had no easy task. He saw his people’s moral and religious downfall, and this disturbed him deeply. But he is even more shocked when God responds that He will use other nations to judge his faithless people. Habakkuk doesn’t understand what God is doing: “Why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13, ESV). And when God answers, the prophet is utterly shaken. “O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear”. “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound” (Habakkuk 3:1 and 16, ESV).
And yet, Habakkuk trusts God. He says he will quietly wait for the Lord to intervene. He knows that God’s judgments over his people will be serious and that he himself will have to suffer the consequences, too. If God takes away his blessing, there won’t be enough food and people will suffer from a famine. But Habakkuk nevertheless sings that he “will rejoice in the Lord” (Habakkuk 3:18).
Habakkuk is like a child that trusts its father: he doesn’t understand all that God is doing, he knows that His punishments will be severe, and yet he is assured that God is gracious and righteous.
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