In life there is always an abundance of things thrown our way that are cause for complaint. Habakkuk knew this all too well. He was weary of witnessing oppression. While the lives of the oppressed got much worse, the lives of the wicked got better. Habakkuk complained, “Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted” (Habakkuk 1:3-4 ESV).
What’s even worse is that Habakkuk noticed that righteous people are like the fish of the sea. . . helpless to save themselves when the wicked cast their nets, swallowing them up and making offerings to their dragnet. The wicked profited off of stealing from and selling the people they oppressed: “for by them (the righteous oppressed) he lives in luxury and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?” (1:16-17).
God answered Habakkuk and reminded him that the righteous live by faith and those who oppress others will receive their judgment. Habakkuk appropriately ends by acknowledging that hard times will come, but we still need to rejoice: “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” (3:17-18). Even in the hard times, God is still God and we should take joy in the God of our salvation.