God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
The remarkable thing to me about the end of this little prophetic book is the deep truth in these closing verses.
None of what Habakkuk sees around him seems good or indeed likely to happen. He lives not just with the absence of evidence, but evidence to the contrary. The fig tree may not blossom, no fruit on the vines and so on.
What if this year turned out to be worse even than last? I wonder what you would think. The signs are not promising, even if we adapt to COVID, the economic and social damage is enormous. Children have missed out, and the most vulnerable are least likely to recover. It may be a long road back and our great grandchildren will still be paying the bill.
Likewise in the church, it has been difficult to maintain and encourage one another and I am enormously impressed with the response in prayer and enthusiasm for outdoor services. But, again, lying ahead are difficult financial challenges, both for us and nationwide and further ahead, perhaps socio-political issues that may rend the church apart.
Where is peace?! We need to be realistic, else we are like the false priests in Jeremiah’s time who proclaimed peace, peace, where there is no peace. But Habakkuk takes us a little deeper. Beyond the obvious, the signs of well being and blessing, the things we see and hear that shape our thinking. He takes us beyond the prospects even of poor harvests, (v17) to the God who is behind it all.
He declares his relationship is with the, ‘God of my salvation…. The Lord, is my strength.’ Rather than remote and impersonal , God is involved and makes plans to redeem Habakkuk. God offers us the same strength and encouragement each day. To see things differently, to endure what may hurt, to create space for God to work something.
This is what puts a spring in his step, the joy that knowing God brings the stamina and energy to overcome what lies ahead. This hope is what helps us, hope that nothing else offers, but that God offers afresh every day to you and me, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, however it is.
Almighty and eternal God,
we pray that you would
through the right knowledge
of your divine Word
through your Holy Spirit.
Grant us peace and health
as we do the work
of our callings
with your blessing;
through your dear Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.