Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls,Habakkuk 3:17(NASB)
Habakkuk as part of the remnant of Israel who remained faithful to the Lord. He was jealous for the nation of Israel, who had strayed far away from the Lord their God. He did not understand why God did not punish the iniquity of the house of Judah, and bring them back to Himself, as He had done in times past. It seemed to him that despite the northern, apostate kingdom of Israel having already been sent into captivity by Assyria.. that the southern part of the kingdom was escaping the inevitable wrath of God. This prophet knew that God's chosen nation had wandered far from Him and had fallen deep into apostasy and idolatry.. and this prophet of God wanted them to return to the Lord.. and yet it seemed that God was turning a blind eye to their spiritual adultery. How long, he mourned, before the wicked go unpunished?
But how perplexing for this godly man to hear that God was going to use the wicked Babylonians nation to punish His chosen people! Habakuk knew that the pagan practices of the Chaldean nation were even more ungodly and evil, than Judah's apostasy. They were a cruel, brutal, sadistic, violent and prideful nation, with an insatiable appetite for bloodshed a contempt for God.. who were steeped in a corrupt governmental system, which was unsurpassed.
Habakkuk could not understand how God could use such an evil and treacherous nation to punish His people Israel, whose sins did not seem to be so great by comparison. But all sin must be punished.. and Habakkuk was given great assurance by God, that the barbaric nation that He would use to punish His own people.. would themselves be broken to pieces by the Lord's own righteous judgement upon them.
The realisation that a terrible time of tribulation was about to deluge the little kingdom of Judah, brought the prophet, Habakkuk to his knees in sorrow and repentance.. and He pleaded.. that in His wrath, God would remember to be merciful to the apostate and idolatrous nation of Israel that was called by His name.
Habakkuk knew that God's righteous judgement on His people was inevitable, but he also glimpsed the goodness of God and His never-failing faithfulness towards His chosen people.. And he was given a great assurance.. that the coming terrible time of tribulation would have a purifying effect on Israel - God gave Habakkuk the assurance that... like Abraham, the just shall live by his faith and that their faith would be credited to them as righteousness.
And so despite knowing that a time of terrible tribulation was fast approaching the people of God.. Habbakuk was able to trust the Lord to keep His promises.. and was able to pray with surety: 'though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines.. though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food.. though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls.. YET I will exult in the LORD. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.. for the Lord my God is my strength.'
The full and final purification and restoration of Israel is yet future.. but for the moment God is working through His Church, in this present dispensation of the grace of God. And yet there seem to be many shadows of Israel's past, that parallel the current apostasy that is raging through the corridors of the Church today.
As God's people we have, in many respects, become corrupt. We have compromised the truth of God's righteous word by accepting unrighteous laws into our midsts without challenge. We have embraced many worldly ways, watered-down the truth of God's word and allowed false teachers and doctrines of demons to infiltrate our churches and our minds - and we have forgotten what it is blush.
As a Church, we need to call out as did Habakkuk.. and pray that in His wrath the Lord would remember mercy. We should get on our faces and confess.. that as the Body of Christ, we have not done what we ought to have done... and we have done the things that we should not have done. And as the Body of Christ we should humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God's face, turn from our wicked ways; and cry out for His mercy.
And as a Church we need to be prepared to pray as did Habakkuk when he realised the depth to which Israel had fallen - 'though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines.. though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food.. though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls.. YET I will exult in the LORD.. yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.. for the Lord my God is my strength.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Habakkuk and for the truths that we can learn. We acknowledge that like Israel we have gone astray and wandered far from You . We have left our first love and flirted with the world.... Forgive us we pray. Keep us faithfully looking to Christ and living by faith .. for You alone are our strength and our salvation - in Jesus name we pray, AMEN.