Habakkuk 3:16 to 19.
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
The theme of the book of Habakkuk is: From Fear to Faith especially in times of great crisis. Here’s an overview: Habakkuk was complaining about God’s indifference to the wickedness of God’s covenant people only to be shocked that God was not indifferent at all, but was in fact preparing the Chaldeans to punish his people, This led him to complain again. He questions God’s justice in using instruments of judgment more wicked than the people God intends to punish. God bluntly tells Habakkuk to trust him in chapter 2, verse 4, and he reveals that after he has used the Chaldeans or Babylonians to punish his people, he will in turn punish them too. Although he trembles with fear over the coming judgment, Habakkuk rejoices in God, trusting that God will not only deal justly but will work out salvation in the end.
Here are a number of things we learn from the book of Habakkuk that we can apply to our lives in the face of the pandemic we currently face.
1. RECOGNIZE GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
God is not the author of sin (James 1:13) but he is its governor. Nothing can happen without his permission.
Isaiah 45:7 says —
“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
Believe it or not, this is actually an encouraging truth and much to be preferred over the idea that calamities are random events that God neither foresees nor controls. If God is in control, even if we don’t understand why he allows such things to happen, we trust that his wisdom and love will never allow these things to happen in the first place unless some great good were to come out of all this.
Thus, even this pandemic was at least allowed by him for wise and holy reasons.
Habakkuk 3:5 says —
“Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels.”
2. REVERE GOD’S HOLINESS
Habakkuk not only complained about what he thought was God’s indifference, he also questioned God’s justice or holiness. When bad things happen, our tendency is to ask Why, O Lord? We question God’s justice. God explained to Habakkuk the righteousness of his ways: he would punish his people, he would also punish the Babylonians. But at the outset, he simply told Habakkuk to trust him. Often the proper response to the incomprehensible tragedies of life is simply to be still and know that God is God.
Habakkuk 2:20 says —
“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
God knows what he is doing even if we don’t.
3. REJOICE IN GOD’S SALVATION
So even though Habakkuk didn’t understand how God could allow such a calamity to befall his people he simply put his trust in God. Thus, he was able to rejoice even in the midst of calamity (for example, famine) because he knew God would produce salvation out of all this (see Romans 8:28).
Habakkuk 3:1213 says —
You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah
I believe one reason why God allowed this pandemic is so that people all over the world will remember him and find salvation.
Habakkuk 2:14 says —
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
During this time of pandemic, so many online bible studies via Zoom and other platforms have sprouted all over the world. So many prayers and Bible verses are posted on social media such as FB as never before.
It is interesting that Paul makes use of Habbakuk 2:4, “The just shall live by faith” in relation to God’s righteousness in justifying sinners. God is just in justifying sinners who have put their faith in Jesus because Jesus satisfied God’s justice when he died for their sins. The great calamity which was the death of the Savior became the cause of great joy because of the salvation which his death produced, a salvation received by faith and not by works. That is why in times of pandemic let us overcome fear with faith. God is in control, he knows what he is doing. He is sovereign and holy. And he will produce salvation in the end. In wrath, he is actually remembering mercy. Trust him and rejoice!