“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18 (ESV).
Habakkuk is a Prophet in the time leading up to the Babylonian captivity. He was a contemporary with other prophets such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zephaniah but nothing else is said about him in the Bible except for this short book. He enters into a discussion with God over the question of injustice – how do people get away with evil and yet God seems to do nothing! How can a righteous God tolerate the unrighteous behaviour from his people?
God answers Habakkuk with enlightening him of the impending Babylonian captivity. God informed him that he would use Babylon to bring his judgment on his disobedient people. Habakkuk asks how a righteous God can use a group of people more unrighteous than the people he is disciplining to bring judgement. The second answer God gives, reassures Habakkuk that the answer will come at the appointed time, God will finish dealing with Babylon in Revelation. God instructs Habakkuk to write down the warning of doom to ALL unrighteous people. In this, he includes the words “the just shall live by faith” a message that maybe more familiar to us from the words of Paul – well this is where he gets it from.
Our verse this morning comes in Habakkuk’s response to God’s promise of sufficiency to his people in chapter 3. God will provide salvation to those who put their trust in him. Habakkuk responds in worship to God… “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” (3:17-19).
Habakkuk know things are going to get unpleasant for the people of Israel yet he chooses to trust and put his faith in God. He chooses joy and rejoices in God who will do something about human iniquity. Joy is hard work while difficulty is on the horizon but it is a true act of faith in God who has promised and will deliver salvation to his people.