Habakkuk has questions for God, and God had answers that Habakkuk probably wished he hadn’t heard. It was after God’s answer to the prophet’s second question that Habakkuk demonstrates what I believe to be one of the most amazing expressions of worship in the Bible! Much can be learned from the entire Habakkuk-God dialogue in the book, but I simply want to briefly reflect on the last few verses.
In the course of the last two chapters, Habakkuk has heard that his country, Judah, will be taken captive by the Babylonians. This is no small deal! The Babylonians would build a ramp over the city wall with dirt (1:10b), pillage the city, most likely kill the small children, and disabled, and march the remainder of the inhabitants into captivity. When the Assyrians took cities captive they would strip the prisoners naked, attach fishhooks to their lower lip, attach the hooks to ropes, and would lead them across the desert in this manner. Weather or not the Babylonians did this I don’t know, but we know that their treatment of Judah would not be comfortable.
In the midst of this terrifying news he first expresses his fear (“I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me” 3:16), then Habakkuk decides to trust God, and displays to the world his true heart of worship!
“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” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV).
When everything around him crumbles, the true source of Habakkuk’s joy and satisfaction is revealed. Even when there is no food or income for his people, Habakkuk says, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will take joy in the God of my salvation!” What an awesome example of worship!