It’s been my experience that life is not lived on either extreme but in the middle where we constantly move from uncertainty to certainty, from confusion to confidence, from fear to faith. And often, the defining moments of our lives come as we make such a journey. This was true for the prophet Habakkuk.
As you read, as you follow his story, it begins in a place of uncertainty; a place of confusion and fear. God’s people have strayed far from Him and God seems silent to the cries of the prophet. How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? (Habakkuk 1:2). And when He does answer, it is not the response Habakkuk expected. God tells Habakkuk, I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people. (1:6) They will be God’s instrument to judge His own people.
Habakkuk struggles with this; he questions God and waits on God -- understanding does not come quickly nor easily. Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves. (1:13) I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. (2:1)
God does answer and assure the prophet that the Babylonians will also be judged but more than that, He reveals Himself to Habakkuk and reminds him of His faithful love and great power. Habakkuk comes to accept what has been revealed to him: I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. (3:16) He may not have totally understood, but he accepts it and recognizes this is part of God’s divine purposes and recognizes he must trust the character of God. It was this acceptance and trust that becomes a turning point in Habakkuk’s story. He moves from confusion to clarity, from fear to faith.
At the end of the story he is able to declare: 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. (3:17-18)
What’s interesting about Habakkuk’s story is that as we come to the end of chapter 3, nothing has changed, the people of Judah are still far from God, the Babylonians are still coming, there is still a measure of uncertainty as he looks at the circumstances around him. Nothing has changed except this, Habakkuk has changed. He has turned his eyes away from the circumstances around him and on to the Lord; the Sovereign Lord who is the source of strength and hope and joy.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (3:19)
It is the Sovereign Lord that allows us to stand firm in times of uncertainty; in Him we can have a strong faith. Habakkuk teaches us what it is to have a strong faith in times of uncertainty because we have One to whom we can turn to find strength and courage and hope.
You will never know that God is all you need, until God is all you have. And when God is you have, then and only then will you discover that God is all you need. That’s the message of Habakkuk!