Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food . . . (Hab. 3:17)
The fig, grape, and olive were among the main agricultural products in Israel, and thus they were occasionally used as symbols in the Bible. The fig symbolizes peace, prosperity, and divine favor. The prophets at times mention the absence or destruction of figs as a threat or warning for disobedience. The grapevine was a symbol of fertility, as it was one of the land’s primary resources. Its destruction is often evoked as a threat and a punishment from God. The olive tree, known as the symbol of peace, is sometimes pictured in prophecy being cut down as a sign of the Lord’s chastisement.
Habakkuk announced the threats, the desolation, and the punishment that fell upon the people, saying their fig, grape, and olive harvests would fail. The failure of the flora would have a direct impact on the fauna. The sheep would not graze in the pastures, and the oxen would not plow in the fields. Despite the efforts made by farmers, the crops would fail because Israel was under God’s judgement. A difficult time was on the horizon.
Though times are tough, though immorality reigns in this world, though the foundations are overturned, and though our days may be gloomy, God calls his people to holiness. Do not focus on the harshness of the times. Instead, walk and live in godliness.
Let us live and walk in holiness whatever the season.
Handy Calixte is an ordained pastor of L’Église Wesleyenne d’Haïti and likes writing about various biblical topics. He and his wife, Johane, have three children.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.