(Habakkuk 3: 17-19)
In many ways, Habakkuk’s story is like that of Job’s. Though Habakkuk had not been afflicted personally with trial, God’s people were being afflicted by their neighboring nations. Assyria had conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and Babylon had just conquered the kingdom of Assyria and would soon come to destroy the southern kingdom of Judah. And behind it all is God’s hand of judgment on his people for their idolatry. In the face of this, Habakkuk boldly places the question before God as to how he could do this. How could God use the ungodly to punish his people? And ultimately, by God’s grace, Habakkuk comes to the same conclusion as did Job: God is sovereign and he will use those means that he chooses to rebuke his people. Yet, no matter how harsh the rebuke may seem, God will redeem his people as well. What a message of hope this is today, in a world that seems to have embraced chaos instead of holiness.
At the end of this little book, Habakkuk gives us a picture of his garden. It is a picture of barrenness and destruction. There is no blossom on the fig tree, no fruit on the fine, and the olive crops have failed. There is nothing in the fields, either plant or animal, and there is nothing in the stalls. This is a picture of a desolate land. Yet, it is not desolate at all! Why? For he understands that his strength, his help, and his salvation do not come from the crops that he produces or the animals that he owns, but it comes from the hand of God himself. God will deliver his people even when all of the means that this world has to offer are spent.
In the time of impending doom that Judah was facing at this point, what a message of hope and encouragement this is. What a stark reminder it is to us? So often we look only with discouragement at our own gardens. The things of our life may not be working out the way we have planned, never-the-less, if our trust is in God, he will provide for us our needs. God is a great and merciful God, and is abundant in blessing toward his people. Let us learn from Habakkuk’s own testimony; the sure provision of God is better than all that the world can provide.