Here we are. November 3, 2020. Whether you’ve already sent in your absentee ballot, or you’re about to grab your mask and black pen and head to your polling place, I’m sure you can’t wait for this election cycle to end. And yet, perhaps you also approach this day with a bit of trepidation. We’ve been told that this election carries more import than any of its predecessors. While that may be media-hyped hyperbole, we certainly do feel the weight of our country’s future as we fill in our ballots today, fearing that even bleaker days may lie ahead. But imagine that you were given a sneak peek at the nation’s future—and it was even worse than you feared. How would you respond? That’s exactly what happened to Habakkuk.
You may not be all that familiar with the minor prophet Habakkuk. After all, his name is difficult to spell and even harder to pronounce, and his book is only 56 verses long—and it’s a book of prophecy! To put it in political terms, Habakkuk is a “flyover state.” However, this tiny prophetic book could not be more relevant to today.
Habakkuk cries out to God about the wickedness of his people, wondering how long the Almighty will allow His covenant people to besmirch His holy name. God answers in a very surprising way: He will use the Chaldeans (who will become known as the Babylonians) to judge Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. Habakkuk can’t believe it. How could God use a pagan people even more wicked than idolatrous Judah as His agents of judgment? God responds by reminding Habakkuk of His sovereignty: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (2:14).
Even without reassuring answers to his questions, Habakkuk bows his face before the Lord and writes a song of faith and humility. And it’s the final lines of that song that I want us to carry today into the polling booth and tonight as we watch election returns and tomorrow (or whenever it happens to be) that a winner is declared.
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though a wicked man reside in the White House,
And the economy be driven into the ground;
Though the Supreme Court be packed with godless justices
And a vaccine for COVID nowhere to be found.
Though persecution come to the land of the free
And the price of proclaiming the Gospel be my very life . . .
Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (a few lines added to v. 17)
Regardless of the outcome of this election, may we still rejoice in the God of our salvation, our strength, shield, hiding place, and refuge! He is our hope. We have no other.