The book of Habakkuk was written against a backdrop of apostasy, judgment, and unbelievable hardship. It was written during a time when Jehoiakim the king of Judah led the people back into idolatry and away from the Lord. As a result, God is preparing to judge the nation. Habakkuk is having trouble understanding why God would use a heathen nation like Babylon to punish His people. He cannot understand why God doesn’t just purge their sins and draw them back to Himself and to righteousness.
Habakkuk is a lot like Job. He argues his case, but in the end, he realizes that God is not to be worshiped merely because of the temporal, material and physical blessings of life, but simply for Who He is. Thus, he ends his words with a song of thanksgiving to God for Who He is and for the unchanging benefits that belong to those who know Him! Habakkuk had reason to fret, but he chose to be thankful instead! The keywords of these verses are “although” and “yet”. Habakkuk is saying, “I sure don’t understand all that is happening, but I am going to thank God anyhow!”
I want to take these verses and show you that regardless of how things may look on the surface, we have a reason to “Thank God Anyhow!”
I. v. 17-18a THANK GOD, HIS SOVEREIGNTY NEVER CHANGES
Circumstances change, God never does – Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17! Egypt – 7 years of plenty, 7 years of famine; Job’s life; Great Depression; Our own economy. I may not be able to rejoice in my situation, but I can always rejoice in my Sovereign! Habakkuk is painting a bleak portrait of the future, but he looks away to a God Who is always the same! “Lord” = “Jehovah” – “The Self-existent; eternal; changeless; covenant-keeping God” – “the I AM”. One we can depend on in desperate time; we can trust in troublesome time; we can believe during unbelievable times; we can lean on Him at all times!
We may not always know what He is doing, Isa. 55:8-9; but we can always trust Him to do what is right, Gen. 18:25. We may not always understand His plan, but we can trust Him to have the best plan, Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:28. No matter how things may appear, God is still in control. He still knows best and He always does what is right. If I can believe this, then 1 Thes. 5:16-18 becomes a possibility in my life! He will always be God; therefore we can be thankful anyhow!
II. v. 18b THANK GOD, HIS SALVATION NEVER CEASES
Things might get worse in this life, but things do not affect my salvation! Salvation does not depend on things going well. Salvation rests solely on the grace and power of God! Life is uncertain at best, (One phone call or doctor’s visit can change everything), salvation is eternal in nature. The word “salvation” applies to more than just the soul. The word also means “deliverance and rescue”. That reminds me that this world is not my home. He is coming to rescue and deliver His children one day! Things may get bad here, but this world is not our home, Phil. 3:20! We are headed to a better land, Rev. 21-22! Praise God, the Lord has been good here, but the best is yet to come, 1 Pet. 1:3-4!
Things may get bad here, but things cannot take away my salvation – John 10:28; Heb. 13:5. God’s children are saved “to the uttermost”, Heb. 7:25. – That is as saved as you can get! May lose everything here, but I can’t lose Him or what He has given me! (Job and his hedge!) (Isa. 49:14-16 – He can’t deny us!) God’s salvation ever ceases; therefore we can be thankful anyhow!
III. v. 19 THANK GOD, HIS STRENGTH NEVER COLLAPSES
“Strength” = “Ability” – Our strength does not lie within us. The Lord is our strength – Psa. 27:1; Isa. 40:31; Phil. 4:13. When we are unable to stand, He enables us. When we can’t go on, He helps us. When we are in the deep valley; He leads us to higher ground. “Hind’s feet” – speaks of grace, agility, and swiftness. “High places” speaks of the mountain tops where the deer is free from the dangers found below. Habakkuk is telling us that God enables him to rise above his circumstances and that God gives him the strength to stand above the battle and to enjoy precious freedom in the Lord! In other words, he is saying, “God turns my doubts to shouts! And He gives me peace in the midst of my problems!”
That is what God did for Job – Job 1:20-21; and Paul – 2 Cor. 12:9. and that is what He can and will do for you! God enables His children to stand when their own strength fails; therefore we can be thankful anyhow! In his trials, Habakkuk learned a valuable lesson. He learned a lesson that all of God’s children need to learn. He learned that God is both our salvation and our song. (Isa. 12:1-2; Ex. 15:2; Psa. 118:4) He learned that he had nothing to fear from life, but that he had a real reason to be thankful anyhow!
If you are saved, you possess every reason to be thankful that Habakkuk possessed. So, regardless of what you might be facing today, look to God, lean on God and be thankful anyhow!