“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NLT).
It seemed to Habakkuk that God was indifferent and unresponsive to the evil permeating society in ancient Judah.
In fact, Habakkuk questioned why God would let His chosen people be conquered by those who were more wicked than they were. “Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they?” (vs. 1:11).
Habakkuk candidly expressed his concerns about the injustice and unrighteousness he saw. And his questioning was not so much different than our own questions. Why does God allow evil? Why does God permit injustice?
And God’s answer to Habakkuk’ was quite startling! God planned to send the Babylonians, a godless, cruel and violent people, to deal with the injustice in Judah (vs. 1:6).
Habakkuk found it difficult to integrate God’s answer with what he understood about God’s character.
How could a holy and just God chastise Judah by using a people more unrighteous than the Jews were?
But God is sovereign and almighty and His plans are supreme, even to the extent that He can use the evil actions of people and even the devil himself, to work His good purposes.
The evil one is actively working to disrupt God’s plan: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a).
But God’s plans are not thwarted by acts of evil. God is actively working to declare and impart His salvation to human beings. His redemptive plan is undiminished by the existence and activity of evil in the created order: “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10b).
Like Habakkuk, even though many questions remain, we should have complete confidence in God to work His good purposes in and through our lives and in His created order.
And like Habakkuk, we should embrace God’s good and sovereign will and rejoice in it because God’s sovereignty means tragedy, evil, or injustice won’t change His salvation!