Scripture: Habakkuk 3:17-19 “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, (v.18) yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (v.19) The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights”.
In these recent days of the coronavirus pandemic, have you been forced out of your normal comfort zone? Definitely some more than others. I would think most students are enjoying the unexpected break, but I wouldn’t be surprised if before long some will be going stir-crazy. Though confined to home and getting to sleep in isn’t so bad…there is still school work to be finished and turn in online. It has been different here at the building where our church normally meets. No Bible classes on Wednesday, no Sunday assemblies and now we are posting messages on YouTube has definitely been a change. Restaurants closing and fast food chains are drive through only. Most banks have gone to drive through service only. Our normal fellowship gatherings at the local gyms and handshakes with our friends are no longer a part of everyday life. But am I really uncomfortable? Am I still trying to live my life with the same normalcy and comfort that I have grown accustomed to in life?
The book of Habakkuk is only three chapters yet it has one of the most profound messages in Scripture.
Things are about to get really uncomfortable for Habakkuk and his people. The book begins with Habakkuk complaining to GOD about his present circumstances. “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Habakkuk is upset because GOD appears to be slow in responding to the sin, corruptness and injustices of his day. There was “strife and conflict” all around and the law seemed “paralyzed” to make appropriate corrections. There may be the hint that Habakkuk feels GOD has abandoned the scene or at least GOD has decided not to act or respond to all the sin and rebellion. But the LORD does answer Habakkuk. He tells the prophet something so unimaginable that Habakkuk can hardly believe his ears.
GOD’s Response: I’m going to let the wicked Babylonians overtake you, punish you and take you away from your homeland. Habakkuk is stunned. He can’t believe GOD would actually use a people, a nation more sinful than people who are characterized as “GOD’s covenant people.” In chapter two GOD reminds Habakkuk that no one gets away with anything. GOD will take care of the ruthless nation of Babylon. What happens after this, a prayer from Habakkuk that declares and speaks of GOD’s sovereignty over all creation. The prophet of GOD concludes, “Even if the fig tree does not bud and 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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in GOD my Savior.” Can we, as the children of GOD, still rejoice when the shelves at the grocery store are empty?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for shaking us up. Thank you for getting us out of our normal routines. Thank you for reminding us there are more important things in life than business and bank accounts. Thank you for reminding us there are still lost souls and people who have wandered away. Thank you for calling to our attention our real mission in life; to love GOD with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor. We pray for a deeper trust in You, O GOD, in the midst of these uncomfortable times. In the name of our LORD and Savior we pray, Amen.