17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Just like Job, Habakkuk had a hard time dealing with the problem of understanding God’s ways with the world. He presents dilemmas such as injustice, asking God why He would let evil prevail. God answers His pleas with the facts of His character: His sovereign greatness and His hidden justice. In the end, the key is that “the righteous will live by faith” (2:4b).
At the end of the book, “the prophet provides a basic list of those products and livestock that form the basis of the ancient economy. These are the objects that would be taken in tribute and taxes and by rampaging armies, leaving the land barren. In the face of this devastation, the faith of the author comes through, ‘rejoicing in the Lord’ and knowing that God will be their ‘Savior’ (cf. Ps. 13:5-6).” (Zondervan Commentary)
It is interesting that the faith of the prophet did not only result in a calmness of spirit, but even more than that, a spirit of rejoicing! The word in Hebrew is “alaz,” meaning “to jump for joy” or exult; be joyful; triumph… “in the LORD.” The statement is repeated in another form, using the phrase “I will joy,” meaning, “to spin around,” (under the influence of a violent emotion) or to be glad… “in the God of my salvation.” The indication is that this God is the supreme God - the Great and the Mighty. This salvation in which Habakkuk rejoiced was liberty, deliverance, prosperity, and safety. Something to notice is the fact that, in the proposed scenario, there was in fact the absence of prosperity. Therefore, this type of wealth must not be physical.
“The Lord my God is my strength” or his force, army, wealth, virtue, valor, host, might, power, riches, and substance. Although there would be no fruit, no olives, no meat, no flock, and no herd, Habakkuk would have riches and substance because he would have the Lord - his strength.
“...and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Very similar phrases can be found in Psalm 18:33 and Isaiah 58:14. As a child of God, Habakkuk had the privilege of trusting God for his safety and inheritance. Of course, just as in the case of riches and sustenance, sometimes safety and inheritance are purely spiritual. However, they are very real and very wonderful. In the meantime, as Habakkuk understood, God is more than enough to strengthen, sustain, and bring us joy.
According to Life Application Notes commentary, “Habakkuk had asked God why evil people prosper while the righteous suffer. God’s answer: They don’t, not in the long run…. God is alive and in control of the world and its events. We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. But we can be assured that he is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world.”