Habakkuk Chapter 3

Habakkuk’s Prayer
1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.  2 O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. 3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran.                                                                               Selah

His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. 5 Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels.  6 He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways. 7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. 8 Was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord? Was your anger against the rivers, or your indignation against the sea, when you rode on your horses, on your chariot of salvation? 9 You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows.                                                                                                                    Selah

You split the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw you and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice; it lifted its hands on high. 11 The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. 12 You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. 13 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
14 You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret. 15 You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters.

Bible Commentary 3:1-15

After Habakkuk’s two complaints and God’s corresponding responses, this last chapter reveals the transformation that has occurred in the depths of the prophet’s soul. Habakkuk’s prayer of praise, petition, recollection, and thanksgiving have much to teach us about the nature of prayer.

     Consider verse 2. As he stands before God, the prophet reverently recognizes the holy and righteous purposes of God (“your work, O Lord, do I fear”) but also the grace of God (“in [your] wrath remember mercy”). Then, despite the struggles that he is experiencing, Habakkuk asks that God’s perfect will would be done (“In the midst of the years revive it, in the midst of the years make it known”). The prophet recognizes God’s unsearchable plan for establishing his kingdom and offers to God a prayer of trust and confidence, with reverence and awe, knowing God is a consuming fire (cf. Heb. 12:28-29).

     Many prayers of trust found in the Bible begin by recounting God’s faithfulness in the past (e.g. Psalm 90 and reveal steadfast hope in God’s promises for the future (e.g. Psalm 121). Because of God’s past faithfulness and future promises, we can pray with faith in the present without losing heart (Luke 18:1). In Habakkuk’s prayer, he remembers God’s faithfulness in Israel’s history, recalling deliverance from Egypt’s bondage (v. 5), safe passage through the Red Sea (v. 8), defeat of Canaanite enemies (v. 11), and establishment in the Promised Land. “Your anointed” (v. 13) referred to the Davidic king and the people he represented, but the word used there is the Hebrew word from which we get “Messiah.” The final Davidic heir, representing God’s people, was yet to come.

     In reviewing God’s faithfulness in Israel’s history, Habakkuk can face his fears with faith and trust in the God of all history. For at the climax of all human history, the Messiah did come. God truly did “in wrath remember mercy” (v.2). At the cross of Christ, God’s wrath was poured out on his own Son, so that we who trust in Christ might be washed clean in an astounding act of mercy.

16 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.

Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord
17 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, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Commentary for 3:16-19

The recounting of God’s faithfulness in Israel’s past (vv. 1-15) draws our minds to the great and mighty deeds of the Lord on behalf of his people down through history. And all these deliverances and provisions foreshadow the ultimate mighty deed of history: the coming of Christ “when the fullness of time had come” (Gal. 4:4). The ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to his people is found in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20) Through his life, death, and resurrection, he delivers us from sin’s bondage, brings us safely through death to life, and thus defeats our greatest enemies–Satan, sin, and death. And at the end of history, Christ will establish us in the eternal promised land of heaven.

     This is why, even amid many difficulties and uncertainties, we can continue to “quietly wait” (v. 16) and “rejoice in the Lord” (v. 18) in prayer, looking to him as the “God of my salvation” (v. 18). When life crumbles all around us (v. 17), we need not despair. God has not abandoned his purposes. He remains with us, even in the trials and struggles. Jesus Christ has brought us to himself. We are restored to God. Hell cannot touch us, for we say, “God, the Lord, is my strength” (v. 19). We will rejoice in God.

Another reminder that in times of trouble, ‘God is our strength’. He is always there for us and he will never abandon us. I know that in severely stressful and sad times, it is hard to remember this right away, but as I have been reading my bible over and over again, it has become easier for me to remember this sooner, when I go through stressful times. Thank you Lord!

Here is a very short summary of the Book of Habakkuk by The Bible Project

I wish everyone a very blessed day.


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