In part one we considered what to do when we are personally devastated. In part 2 we will learn what to do when our circumstances are devastating.
2. What Do We Do When Our Circumstances Are Devastating? (3:17-19)
A. The Devastating Circumstances are described in 3:17-19. After God shows Habakkuk what He has done mightily in the past at Mount Sinai, the Rea Sea, the Jordon River, the conquest of Canaan by causing the Sun to stand still and the defeat of over 30 Canaanite nations, God now shows Habakkuk the future. The future includes the devastation and plunder that Babylon will bring to Israel when it conquers them.
1) What Habakkuk envisioned, Jeremiah, his contemporary, witnessed and recorded in Lamentations. From 588 to 586 B. C. the army of Babylon besieged Jerusalem and completely cut off supplies to Jerusalem. The historical record of this siege is in 2 Kings 25:1-10. Jeremiah’s lament over the results of this siege that he witnessed is recorded in Lamentations 2:20-21. Israel’s food supply would be completely destroyed. It would be like our pantry, refrigerator and freezer being empty and when we rush to the grocery store, the shelves there are also barren.
2) Like Job, the nation would lose everything. What was Job’s response to his devastating circumstances? “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” When it feels like God is slaying us can we trust Him?
B. The solution is to rejoice in what is truly valuable and lasting (3:18-19).
Habakkuk finds his reason for living not in perishable things that he described in verse 17. When the Titanic was sinking, women and children were being loaded on the lifeboats. A lady ask permission to run back to her room one last time for something she did not want to leave. She was given just a few minutes or someone else would take her place. When she got back to her room, much of her possessions were piled against the wall from the steep incline of the sinking ship. Above her bed was a jewelry box of expensive diamond rings and necklaces. She brushed them aside and quickly grabbed two oranges and one apple. What is truly valuable changes as you face the possibility of death.
1. We can rejoice in the Lord in devastating circumstances (3:18a). We will never lose Him and even more importantly, He will never lose us. He promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We are like the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. He finds us and keeps us.
2. We can rejoice in our salvation in devastating circumstances. Again God promised, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.”
3. We can rejoice in God’s strength in devastating circumstances (3:19). In verse 16, Habakkuk did not have the strength to stand up. Now he has the strength of a deer to leap over fences and roads. The statement “He will make me to walk upon mine high places” is used in only two other places.
a) The first is in Psalm 18. David wrote this song when he was fleeing from his enemy, King Saul. For 10-15 years David was a fugitive on the run not for any sin he had commented but for doing the will of God. Yet David was not bitter. He worshiped God in song like Habakkuk is doing in Habakkuk 3. In Psalm 18:33, David wrote, “He makes my feet like the deer’s feet, and sets me upon my high places.” When we are devastated for someone’s fault or sin, we don’t have to become bitter and resentful. God can use the problem to prepare us for future ministry as he did with David. Because of what Spurgeon experienced at the Crystal Palace when he witnessed church members trampled to death in the panic, he was able in his book for pastors entitled “Lecture’s To My Students” to write the chapter “The Minister’s Fainting Fits.” Because of Spurgeon’s devastating circumstances he could later minister to other pastor who would also experience devastating times.
b) The next time this phrase is used is in 2 Samuel 22 in another song by David. This time David is much older. In 2 Samuel 21, David at about the age of 65 attempts to fight Goliath’s younger brother and had not David’s mighty men intervened, David would have been killed. This time David was at fault and God graciously strengthened him and David praised him in 2 Samuel 22:34: “He makes my feet like deer’s feet: and sets me upon my high places.” Yes, there are times when we suffer because of the sins, faults and mistakes of others. But we have all made our share of mistakes. We have blown it also. We have caused others to hurt. Yet God graciously strengthens us when we like David depend on Him.
Habakkuk has provided an example for us. He has showed us how to rest on God’s promises when we are personally devastated and also to rejoice in the Lord and His provision when our circumstances are devastating.