“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” — Habakkuk 3:17–18
On a bluff overlooking the ocean, I sat staring into the distance. Families played on the beach below, oblivious to the turmoil I was in and the emotional “fog” that encompassed my soul. Though the day was bright and sunny, it seemed that wave after wave of sadness swept over me. I considered the loss and pain my family was enduring, and wondered when life would return to normal. In fact, would “normal” ever be an option for us again?
Then, as those troubled thoughts chased through my mind, it seemed a still small Voice whispered to my soul, “And if nothing changes, will I be enough for you?” At first I tried to pass off the words as just a fleeting thought, but then they came again, “If nothing changes, will I be enough for you?”
To be truthful, I did not want to hear those words. Deep in my heart, I knew God was enough. The sticking point was the “if nothing changes” part. I wanted to shout my response, “But things have to change, Lord! This situation must be rectified.”
Looking back, I realize now that the enemy of my soul was attempting to tear down my faith in the promises God had given. The question was not about God’s ability to intervene in the situation at hand. At stake was the willingness of my heart to embrace the plan of the One who is in control of every situation. Could I truly accept that He alone would be enough, whatever happened?
The chapters prior to today’s text describe the dire situation facing the prophet Habakkuk. God had revealed that Babylon would invade Habakkuk’s homeland and execute judgment on his people for their sins. Fear had gripped Habakkuk’s heart as he saw the growing power of this enemy, and he realized that his people would soon be overcome. The prophet wrestled with the thought that God would use such an evil nation as an instrument of justice. In our text today, however, Habakkuk expressed his decision to hold to his faith in God, even though he did not fully understand.
That day on the bluff, I prayed and finally made a determination similar to the one Habakkuk expressed in our focus verse. My conclusion was this: If Jesus is all I ever have, He is enough. Though my heart is broken and my words are ignored, Jesus is enough. Though I walk alone, Jesus is enough. In heartache beyond comprehension, let me hold onto Jesus, because He is enough. My troubled thoughts became a prayer, “No matter what comes, Lord, help me hold onto the assurance that You are enough!” And He did help. The fact that God was in control in those difficult circumstances was proven in the weeks and months that followed.
Today, are you facing a seemingly impossible situation? Are you conflicted or anxious about what you see on the horizon, and uncertain about how resolution could ever come? Learn a lesson from Habakkuk’s affirmation of faith! We may not always receive the answers we want, and the answers may not come when we think they are needed. However, we can purpose to keep our eyes on Jesus and rest in Him. He has a plan in place for us, and it will work out for spiritual good if we will just hold steady in faith.
Chapter 3, which is designated by Bible scholars as a prayer, is Habakkuk’s response to the vision God had given him of the judgment that would come upon Judah at the hand of the Chaldeans (Babylonians). The prophet began by asking for a revival of God’s work in the current chaotic situation, requesting compassion and mercy for the people although God’s anger was warranted. In highly figurative language, Habakkuk remembered Israel’s exodus from Egypt (verses 3-7) and recognized God’s power in and over creation (verses 8-11). His prayer reflects the cultural understanding of his day that the sea and rivers can be destructive or constructive, a curse or blessing. In this case, they illustrated God’s power over darkness and oppression.
Habakkuk alluded in this prayer to incidents from Israel’s history, including the Flood of Noah’s day, the Exodus, the crossing of Jordan, and the Battle of Kishon, and each of these incidents involved God’s miraculous deliverance. In verses 12-15, the prophet rehearsed God’s deliverance through His anointed leaders, like Moses, Joshua, and David, and he expressed his own awe at those deliverances. The Hebrew word for anointed is mashiyach, which is also used specifically in reference to the Messiah or Anointed One. The implication was that all the prior anointed leaders who brought deliverance pointed ahead to the Messiah who would bring full salvation.
In verses 17-18, though obvious tokens of God’s goodness had been withdrawn (crops had failed and flocks had perished),the prophet expressed his determination to still rejoice because of his relationship with the God of his salvation. The “hinds’ feet” in verse 19 alluded to the stability and agility of deer, who are sure-footed even in dangerous terrain. Habakkuk’s point was that God would give His followers confidence and ability to navigate with assurance through difficult times.
III. The prayer and praise (3:1-19)
A. Prayer for future intervention (3:1-2)
B. Praise for past intervention (3:3-15)
1. God’s person (3:3-4)
2. God’s power (3:5-15)
C. Peace in present inactivity (3:16-19)
Even when events around us are troubling and the future seems uncertain, we can have a confident assurance that God is in control and will cause all events to fit into His divine plan.