17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, 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, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
One of the greatest things we can discover through our difficulties is that it is possible to praise when we are in pain. Don’t believe the lie that you can’t love God in the loss, because some of the most authentic times of adoration are often when we feel the most awful. Habakkuk reminds us that moving from pain to praise is a process and that worship is not complete until we follow the arc from agony to adoration. It is only when pain has been acknowledged that we are ready to read the prophet’s prayer in chapter 3. There we see that Habakkuk has moved from a complaint about problems to a composition of prayerful praise. This process is seen in the transformation from an interrogation of God to intercession to God. Worry can be transformed into worship, fear turned to faith, terror becoming trust, that hole filled with hope and anguish melted into adoration, how, by:
- Revering (3:2-4)
Habakkuk reveres God beginning in verse 2-4: “I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy. I see God moving across the deserts from Edom, the Holy One coming from Mount Paran. His brilliant splendor fills the heavens, and the earth is filled with his praise. 4 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden.”
When you are filled with grief you need to gaze on the glory of God. Habakkuk begins by focusing on God’s holy character and reminds us that God is…
Awesome – “I stand in awe”
Merciful – “Remember mercy”
Present – “God came”
Holy – “The Holy One”
Glorious – “His glory covered the heavens”
Praiseworthy – “His praise filled the earth”
His superior splendor – “His splendor was like the sunrise”
Powerful – “From His hand, where His power was hidden”
When we are in the midst of problems we often ask God the “when” and “why” questions and often He doesn’t answer because the answer is really “who”, God Himself. As we look to the “who” and not the “why” we discover that we have a personal God, who knows our troubles and sees our tears. We also discover that we have a powerful God and that it’s not about our plans but His purposes, He is God and I’m not. He sees what you are going through He has the power to something about it but He also has a purpose in it. Psalm 93:1: “The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength.” Whatever life tragedy you are facing right now, come back to the truth that you have a personal and power of God. The painful truth is that it’s not about you and God’s plans and purposes are often different than ours as Isaiah 55:9 declares: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” What if you would choose to revere God? When we do it expands our view of God enabling us to see the greatness and His grace. In revering God we rediscover who we really are.
- Review (3:5-15).
As we revere God we can’t help but review His redemptive work, and Habakkuk now looks back at God’s redemptive hand. All but one of these verses speak about God and what He has done, when we review we discover that God is doing much more than we thought. It is good for us to go back and remember what God has done in our lives and in the lives of His children in the past. When we do we remember that God has always come to the rescue of those He has redeemed. We are told to remember or not forget over 200 times in Scripture, we have poor memories and need to remember His promises. Instead of panic what if we took time to ponder God and His provisions in the past? We are prone to be reactive yet Habakkuk teaches us that when we are discouraged we must review and then recite what God has done. Psalm 103:2 “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” There is great value in review and reflection. What God has done in the past He will do in the present and He will be faithful in the future. Verse 6 says that His ways are eternal, which means He hasn’t changed, nor will He change. The truth is that God is always involved, even when He seems inactive and Jesus reminds us of that in John 5:17: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” When you’re not sure you can worship because of the pain, make it a point to revere God and then review what He has done.