Read HABAKKUK 3
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.
2 Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.
4 His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
5 Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
6 He stood, and shook the earth;
he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
and the age-old hills collapsed—
but he marches on forever.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
8 Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
when you rode your horses
and your chariots to victory?
9 You uncovered your bow,
you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10 the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
the deep roared
and lifted its waves on high.
11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
at the glint of your flying arrows,
at the lightning of your flashing spear.
12 In wrath you strode through the earth
and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
churning the great waters.
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
17 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,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances” (Elizabeth Elliot, 1926–2015). Elisabeth Elliott learned this truth in a time of great difficulty. A timely reminder for us.
In reply to Habakkuk’s appeal to God to manifest his power (2), God fills the prophet with awe and hope by appearing to him in majestic splendor (3–7) and showing him his glorious victory over the enemies of his people (8–15). Recovering from the overpowering impact of the presence of God, Habakkuk is content to wait patiently for judgment to overtake the invaders (16). From here, we clearly see the turning point of the prophet’s perplexity.
Numinous encounters with God are one of the key factors for Christian growth. That does not necessarily mean that everyone has the same overwhelming experience as Habakkuk. God can appear to us through small daily mundane things, much as he reveals himself to Elijah in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). Thankfully, having the Holy Spirit living in us, our encounter with him can be as natural and intimate as breathing.
No matter how he chooses to manifest himself to us, the impact of meeting him proves to be life-transforming. Returning to Habakkuk’s case, all worldly circumstances in his time remain depressing and despairing—the fig tree, vine and olive tree yielding no fruit; wheat or barley not growing; domestic animals vanishing. However, Habakkuk is able to rejoice and exult in a God who is his deliverer and strength (17–19).
Amid the raging storm, the prophet has grown from restless doubt to deathless faith; from protesting anger to quiet contentment; from shattering fear to unshakeable courage; from devastating despair to assuring hope; from deepest sorrow to overflowing joy! The new depth of faith infused in us after a divine encounter is like a tiny candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness of a long and lonely night!
Are you ready to rejoice in the Lord regardless of the circumstances? Why or why not?