Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the field 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 saviour.
This is such a bold statement of faith.
I must admit, it’s hard to rejoice in the Lord and hold on to him when all the odds are against us.
A personal story: I went out looking for an apartment today. After looking for a few apartments…i came back to my room frustrated because I couldn’t get what I wanted. Either it was too expensive or far away from where I was looking.
Reading this verse, it seems to me that Habakuk had figured out a way of rejoicing in the Lord when all things don’t seem favourable.
Let’s delve into this verse and understand how Habakkuk was able to hold on to promises that seemed impossible.
First, The Background
Here’s an excerpt from the NIV bible explaining the background of the book,
The Prophet begins by asking how long God will allow evil to triumph. The divine reply is that God is raising up the Babylonians as his tool of correction. This leads to Habakkuk’s second question: Why do you allow the wicked to swallow up those more righteous than themselves ? God replies again, explaining that the Babylonians will be judged just like the Assyrians, and that the righteous must await this in faith and patience.
There are two prayers here;
God answers and acts on the word he spoke.
God answers Habakkuk but he is asked to wait in patience before it can happen.
When we pray, God answers prayers through a promise but often times it takes time for God’s promises to be fulfilled. A delayed promise does not mean God is unable to do what he promised to do. We see in the life of Abraham. God promised Abraham, You will be the father of many nations. (Genesis 17:1-6) It didn’t happen overnight. He had to wait for those promises to come through. Abraham had to hold on to these promises, believing that one day it will come through.
During those waiting periods, what God promised for us will seem too impossible to hold on. It will seem impossible for such a thing to come to pass.
We expect all things to be fulfilled immediately but God doesn’t work that way. He has a different perspective. He uses such times to build our faith and patience on him. We often think believing in God, having faith and patience is an easy task. I can tell by experience. It’s not easy. But God expects such characters to grow and bloom in us. Building up belief, faith and patience in God is a task and it is something that needs to be practiced and nurtured every day.
When I think of Abraham, I think of it this way. The faith that He had at that time when God promised and to the time when it was fulfilled (When Isaac was born) his faith and patience in God would have grown tremendously. God is more interested in transforming…making us more like him than just fulfilling his promises. He is more keen on transforming us than just providing us with what we need.
Habakkuk held to promises that seemed hard to hold on to…and did it so with a huge statement of faith. He understood the secret of how God works and so we also need to do . that is saying, no matter what the situation seems to be like, I will rejoice in God my saviour.
When situations seem hard and nothing seems favorable to us. Let us learn to rejoice in God. When we rejoice we build faith and patience… that will eventually lead to fulfill God’s promises for our lives.