“Plague went before Him; pestilence followed His steps. He stood and shook the earth; He looked and made the nations tremble… Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine, 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 3:5-6a; 17-18 NIV
4th Sunday- Thankful For What Awaits Us!
Habakkuk was living through the most difficult period in his life. The situation around him, must have seemed like a pandemic: disease, moral chaos, and corruption had seized the region of Judah. Habakkuk is transparent in letting God know how perplexed he is with the situation he and his people are living in. Habakkuk, perhaps like few prophets in the history of Israel, challenged God with wanting an explanation for why God has allowed so much disruption to tear apart the fabric of the nation. Habakkuk boldly posited this query, despite the fact that much of Israel’s turmoil was due to its own internal conflict. He also wanted to know why God would allow their enemies, Assyria and Babylon, to invade, pillage, and control the nation. Habakkuk was so distressed about the crisis, that he retreated to a guard post, and quarantined himself in a tower, vowing to await God’s answer. God told Habakkuk to be prepared to write down the answers that would be given to him. God spoke and gave Habakkuk the answer (Hebrew, corazan, vision). God told Habakkuk the enemy would only correct God’s people; but God sovereignty would deliver them. The “just” would be victorious; they would “live by their faith.” Habakkuk being reassured of God’s presence, offered a prayer of thanksgiving. In this great prayer, Habakkuk looked at his scarcity, and emptiness. He saw this as reason to be joyous, because God would restore everything that was taken from them . The barren fields and empty pens, were receptacles awaiting God’s bounty!