Perilous Times Primer #45
March 31, 2022

Tremble Before God/Triumph in Disaster

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines; though
the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though 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 joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.
Habakkuk 3:17—19

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Habakkuk: A Prophet for Our Time

To set the stage, I am going to quote extensively from The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck.

“Why is there so much oppression? Why all the injustice? Why do evil men prosper? Why do the righteous suffer? Why doesn’t God do something? Why doesn’t God clean up this mess?” … “Centuries before Christ visited this planet, an ancient prophet looked around at the violence and wickedness of the world and cried out to God, ‘Why? … why? … why?’ (Hab. 1:3–14). The prophet not only asked the mysterious whys that plague mankind; he also received answers to his questions. The answers given by the Creator … are carefully recorded in the little book called Habakkuk.”

“Habakkuk wrote in a time of international crisis and national corruption … the crisis internationally was serious. But of even greater concern was the national corruption … Habakkuk wrote his lament over the decay, violence, greed, fighting, and perverted justice that surrounded him.” (pp. 1505–1507).

God’s Answer to Habakkuk

In response to all the “why’s” of Habakkuk, God had but one final answer. As the threat of Babylon’s conquest of Judah loomed, Habakkuk questioned how a just and holy God could use a wicked heathen nation to judge His people. God’s answer was brief and final, “But the just shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4b). It is not for us to know how, or when, God will judge the wicked. Our task is to live by faith. And even in the midst of the most challenging conditions, to “live” refers first to eternal life, and then to abundant life (John 10:10). This simple yet profound truth is the foundation of three of Paul’s greatest epistles (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).

The Answer Applied

It was no easier for Habakkuk to learn this lesson than it is for us. But learn it he did! “I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble” (Hab. 3:16b). The inner struggle was engaged and won by the power of simple faith. He was then able to face a fearful and uncertain future with the exultation expressed in Hab. 3:17–19. How we need, in this hour, to learn and apply Habakkuk’s lesson to our day! In the end, the question is never “Why,” but rather is “Who?” And we know Him who has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Let us stand firm in faith!

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