Lord, Your majesty is too awesome for us to comprehend.
Read HABAKKUK 3
3 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.[a]
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.[b]
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.
- Habakkuk 3:1 Probably a literary or musical term
- Habakkuk 3:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the middle of verse 9 and at the end of verse 13.
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.
‘Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge’ (Ps 61:2,3)
We learn so much about prayer in Habakkuk. The book begins with prayers of complaint, but by chapter 3 Habakkuk has learned to listen to God’s replies and has a new perspective on God’s ways. Now he is able to remember what God has done in the past (1–15) and confidently commits himself to whatever the future holds. That is so challenging!
By using the format of the psalms, the chapter employs vivid imagery to describe God’s actions in nature and history, although in non-specific terms. This language is applicable to any situation, at any time. Central to it all is the concept of God’s mercy (2). God is implacably against evil and injustice, but ‘judgment is not His last word; it is His pathway to transformation and salvation.’ (G Emerson, Minor Prophets II, Doubleday, 1998, p39) That doesn’t mean Habakkuk finds it easy (16), but he can ‘wait patiently’ because he knows that God is just and will judge the nation’s attackers too. In the meantime, his faith shines through as he envisages hard times coming (17); he can even rejoice in God, finding in Him the strength to cope with whatever lies ahead (18,19). The image of mountain deer leaping fearlessly on rocky crags is so vivid!
What makes the difference? How can Habakkuk move from the desperation of chapters 1 and 2 to the strong faith of chapter 3? How can we – very much to the point – be helped by this in our own sometimes desperate situations, whether personal, national, or international? The answer, surely, is the reality of Habakkuk’s prayer life. It’s relatively easy to pour out our complaints to God, but how much do we really listen to His replies? How much do we allow God to change our perspectives? How much are we really willing to trust Him, whatever happens?
Re-read verses 17–19 prayerfully, substituting your own fears for those expressed in verse 17, and give yourself into the Lord’s hands.
Lord, we continually rejoice in You, the God of our salvation, who will bring all things to a righteous ending.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.