From Questions to Praise
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 143:1-6 | Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 | Revelation 9:1-21 | Proverbs 30:10
Today’s Scripture Focus: Habakkuk 1-3
“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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV)
Habakkuk was a prophet who asked a lot of questions. Tough questions. The big questions we would all like to ask God, even if we wouldn’t have the boldness to ask them. “How long, O Lord?” “Why don’t you answer my prayers?” “Are you ignoring me, Lord?” “Could you please explain why you are doing this Lord? It doesn’t make sense.” These are the kinds of questions Habakkuk raises to God.
The situation that brought on the questions was the impending Babylonian invasion of Judah. God had revealed to Habakkuk that wicked King Nebuchadnezzar and his armies would come in devastating power to Jerusalem and surrounding Judah and bring God’s judgment to his wandering, idolatrous people. But how could God use such a wicked nation and such a wicked king?
The book wrestles with those big questions. The answer God gives Habakkuk is that he is sovereign and is working out his plan in amazing ways–even using the evil plans of wicked kings to accomplish his purposes. Of course, he will ultimately judge Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, but in his sovereign purposes he is using them for a time to execute his judgment upon his own holy nation who has wandered far from the truth.
Habakkuk spends the first few chapters wrestling with these answers. In the end, having been reminded that God is in control and is working out all things according to his purpose and plan, Habakkuk turns from complaints and questions to heartfelt words of trust and praise:
“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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18.
Habakkuk is resting in the amazing purposes of God. He may not understand all that is going on–all that God is doing–he may not understand his timing, but he knows that he can be trusted. He may not like the path ahead (I’m sure he didn’t) but he is still able to find joy, as he trusts the sovereign hand of the one who loves his children with an everlasting love.