Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may 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.
(Habakkuk 3:17,18, NKJV).
First, Habakkuk is a real book in the Bible. For those of you who have been neglecting to read your Bible regularly it is in the Old Testament. Habakkuk is not one of the better known prophets but these verses show how serious he was about the LORD. In his day Babylon was about to capture Judah because of their sin. Habakkuk could see how hardhearted the nation of Judah was.
Have you ever experienced intense hunger or wondered how much longer before you get to eat? This is the context that Habakkuk is setting up for verse 18. We know toward Judah’s end they suffered several severe famines. Verse 17 contains seven qualifiers to verse 18. Basically, verse 17 is stressing a situation where there is absolutely no food. It is a description of a famine. During famine, there is nothing to eat. Where there is nothing to eat people starve. If people starve long enough they will die.
Now with the qualifying done Habakkuk says in verse 18 that he will rejoice in the LORD. He will be happy in God even if God lets him starve to death. This is devotion to God. This is exactly the type of devotion that Christians should have. You may be thinking well that is kind of extreme and you are right. Jesus said “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:33, NKJV).” You are commanded by God to love Him more than anything else in this world. That includes your own life. This kind of dedication can help keep you out of trouble because you would sooner die than sin.
Habakkuk goes on to say that he will delight in the God of his salvation. If you have ever done without food for more than twenty-four hours you know that hunger pains are not pleasant. Yet Habakkuk is going to delight in God while starving to death. Not only that but he says that God is the author of his salvation in spite of pending death. This is how Habakkuk can delight in God, he knows that God is the one who saves. Habakkuk is not looking for salvation from death but from the wrath of God.
Truly God is the author of salvation but God does not promise salvation from a difficult life. God promises salvation from His eternal wrath to all those that are the disciples of Jesus. Job knew this as well and said that even if God slays him he will trust God (Job 13:15).
To practice devotion like Habakkuk, Job and many others you need to have the correct view of life. Life does not consist of the present flesh and bone that we live. This is just God’s proving ground for His saints. When you really get a hold of the understanding of how much you deserve hell and how gracious God is to have granted you salvation then you will be like Habakkuk. You can sing praise to God even if you are slowly dying.