Though the fig tree should not blossom nor fruit be on the vine, 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.
Ah, two of the most beautiful verses in all the Bible. Do you feel the weight and the wonder of what Habakkuk just said? Think about this short three-chapter book and all that it contains. Like this wrestling before God with honest questions. God, why, why, why is this happening? As Habakkuk sees evil and suffering and injustice around him and he gets to the end and this is his conclusion.
Regardless of our circumstances, joy comes from the Lord.
Listen to the conclusion again. Though the fig tree should not blossom nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, there be no herd in the stalls. In other words, when nothing is right when everything is barren, fig-trees not blossoming. There’s no fruit on the vines. There’s no produce from the olive tree. There’s no food in the field. Nothing. The flock has gone. There’s no herd in the stalls. Like there is nothing. In total barrenness and desperation and need yet, verse 18. I will rejoice. Not even just trust in God. I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Huh. God, for this kind of faith in my heart, in our hearts, God help us.
Amidst all the things that are going on in our lives today, amidst hard things going on in our lives, even if everything’s bleak and empty, God helps us to see that you are better, greater, more, than all the best things of this world put together. That if the fig tree was blossoming and fruit was on the vines and olive trees were producing fruit and the land was yielding food and the flock was in the fold and the stalls were full with the herd. If all the things in our life were going right, if we didn’t have you, we would not have joy. If we didn’t have you, we would not have strength, satisfaction, peace, life. You are the source of all these things for us. God help us to live with that kind of faith. Help us to experience this kind of life that says, “Take it all away from me and I will still have joy in my God. I will still have joy in his salvation.”
We think about Philippians chapter three when Paul says whatever was to my gain I counted loss for the sake of knowing Christ for the surpassing greatness that’s found in knowing you. God help us to see that you are better. You’re indeed better than all the best things of this world put together. Help us to look to you as our ultimate source of satisfaction and joy and life and salvation and in this, to be free from the ebb and flow of constantly looking to the stuff of this world, even to good things, to people in this world for these things. God help us ultimately to look to you for all these things. Such that when the fig tree doesn’t blossom and in those times where there’s no fruit on the vine and the fields are yielding no food and the flocks cut off from the fold and there’s no herd in the stalls. It seems like nothing is going right.
Even in those moments, those days, those months, those years, even then we will rejoice in you and find joy in you, the God of our salvation. Hear God we praise you, that when everything in this world is taken away from us, including our very breath, when we die, that we will have you and eternal life with you. You are our salvation. You are our hope. You are our life. You are our strength. You are our joy, O God. Help us to live in this reality today, to make this confession today and tomorrow and the next day and the next day no matter what happens, for all of eternity to say, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. We pray this in Jesus’ name, the one who makes this kind of never-ending everlasting joy possible for us in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.