Scripture: Habakkuk 3:17-19 reads this way:
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.
Context: Habakkuk was a prophet in the 600s B.C., during the final days of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of the Babylonian Empire. Why is knowing that important? Because believers in the one true and living God have gone through, and continue to go through, hard times. God’s people are promised trouble. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33b). God’s people go through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps 23:4a). In the 600s B.C. God’s people were in a dark place spiritually. But God had his prophet to speak to those with ears to hear.
Connection: Perhaps my favorite part of chaplaincy is talking with people offline, when they speak honestly, not just fill up space by bloviating. Recent conversations reveal many people are troubled. They are down. They are worried. They are grieving over the jettisoning of God from almost every area of life. Most folks don’t want God. He is perceived as a killjoy by unbelievers. Biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high. The list could go on and on. Thus, many believers are troubled. And yet, God has his Word to encourage the true believers. As in Habakkuk’s day, when Israel was headed into captivity in Babylon (present-day Iraq) under Nebuchadnezzar, God spoke.
Encouragement: I don’t know where you are on an individual level, but the Lord does. John wrote about God’s omniscience: “… he knows everything” (1 Jn 3:20b). Listen to David in Psalm 139:1-4:
O LORD, you have searched me and
You know when I sit down and when
I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
Takeaway: Habakkuk spoke to believers in his day. God still speaks through his Word today. God remains the same. “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Ps 145:18). The great enduring question remains the same, too: Do folks really want the truth?