Habakkuk 3

Yet I Will Rejoice.

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” ­– Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT

In the good times we are great at being grateful. But what about the not-so-good times? How well do we praise God when we don’t seem to have much to praise Him for? I’ll be honest, praising God in the midst of troubles is hard to do. I find it difficult to rejoice in God when my circumstances are less-than-favorable. The picture of the apostles singing hymns and praising God from a dungeon has always bothered me. I tend to see myself as breaking into song once God has delivered me from my trial, not in the midst of it. I want to praise Him once I get out of prison, not while I’m in it. Yet, in the book of Habakkuk, we have the prophet singing the praises of God while he is still in the middle of a dire situation. Nothing has changed regarding his circumstance. There has been no improvement. In fact, Habakkuk says that he is willing for it to get worse, and even if it does, he will rejoice in the Lord of his salvation. Amazing! But what changed Habakkuk? Because when the book started he was busy throwing questions at God. He was full of doubt and indecision. He wanted answers and solutions to his problems. What changed?

It would appear that Habakkuk got a vision of God. He writes, “I wee 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” (Habakkuk 3:3 NLT). With a glimpse of who God really is, Habakkuk’s view of God had changed. He saw God’s power, awesomeness, majesty, and His ability to do whatever He wants to do. He saw who God was and began to trust Him for His character. Rather than dwell on his circumstances, Habakkuk learned to look at his God. Habakkuk’s growing awareness of the greatness of God made his fear of his circumstances diminish. He began to trust. He said, “I will wait quietly for the coming day…” (Habakkuk 3:16b NLT). Because he had discovered the truth about the character of God, he knew he could rely on God to deliver His people. And even if everything got worse – the crops failed, the sheep died, and the circumstances in Judah went from bad to worse – he was going to rejoice in the Lord. He was going to find joy in the God of his salvation. He didn’t have to find joy in his circumstances. His joy was going to be found in God. Because of who he knew God to be, he knew he could rejoice. His God was faithful and true. His God was powerful and capable of delivering His people from the worst of circumstances. Habakkuk was not going to judge his God based on the circumstances, but he was going to judge his circumstances based on his God. He closes the book by claiming, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to treat upon the heights” (Habakkuk 3:19 NLT).

“It is right and proper to voice appreciation of God’s goodness when he bestows all that is necessary for life, health, and prosperity. But when these things are lacking, to rejoice in God for his own sake is evidence of pure faith.” – F. F. Bruce, Habakkuk

Father, living safe in the valley, free from trials and troubles is not what You have called us to. I want to be like a deer, able to exist on the dangerous cliffs of life, protected by Your strength and equipped to live on the edge. Help me to see my life circumstances as opportunities to discover more about You. I want to see Your power, strength, love, mercy and grace revealed through the bad times, not just the good times. May I learn to rest quietly in You and wait patiently and expectantly in Your salvation. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org