Hab. 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
After hearing God’s message, Habakkuk feels the need to pray.
Hab. 3:2 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk acknowledges that he has heard God’s message and understood it. The message is powerful and has made Habakkuk afraid. He knows that God will bring to pass what He has purposed, so Habakkuk is already interceding for deliverance for his people from the judgment to come.
“revive thy work” – This seems to be a reference to the Jews who would be taken into captivity by Babylon. I think Habakkuk is asking God to provoke the people to turn back to Him in faith with new life as His chosen people. Although the punishment is deserved, he is asking for God’s mercy on behalf of his people.
Frankly, I think that is always God’s purpose in judgment. He is always trying to provoke people to turn to Him in faith. That is a principle that has come through loud and clear in my study of end times.
Hab. 3:3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
This seems to be a quote of Moses’ blessing on Israel in Deuteronomy.
Deut. 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
Teman = Edom; Seir is in Edom.
Jer. 49:20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman:
Paran = a wilderness close to Sinai
Num. 10:12 And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.
I think I must have missed something in my readings through the scripture. This verse in Deuteronomy seems to be painting a picture of God’s revelation to Moses and the people of Israel that involves a great deal more than He has seen fit to share with us in scripture prior to these words of Moses. I can’t help but immediately make a connection with the second coming of Jesus as described in Isaiah 63 when He again comes from Edom. Again, it will be a time when His glory is apparent to all and the earth will be full of His praise.
Hab. 3:4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.
This verse continues Habakkuk’s reference to Deuteronomy 33:2. God’s glory must have been shielded from the people of Israel by his cloud of saints.
Horns are a picture of power and authority. The law given at Sinai establishes guidelines for His people as their authority as alluded to in Deuteronomy. I think the “hiding of His power” is a reference to the future revelation of the full glory of God that will be unveiled at His second coming.
Hab. 3:5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.
Hab. 3:6 He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.
Hab. 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
Habakkuk continues to praise God for his provision and protection of Israel as He delivered them from Egypt and delivered the promised land into their possession through great miracles involving nature. It was clear that He was the power intervening on behalf of and fighting for the Israelites.
Because verse 6 references the “nations” plural and a reference to measuring or shaking the earth (from the Hebrew) and causing the hills to bow or sink down (again from the Hebrew, I think this prophecy jumps to the future. Many prophets speak of the shaking of the earth and the falling of the mountains when Jesus returns.
Isaiah 13:11–13 “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”
Ezekiel 38:19–20 “For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.”
Haggai 2:6–7 “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Revelation 16:17–20 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”
Hab. 3:8 Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation?
Hab. 3:9 Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.
Hab. 3:10 The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.
I’m not sure exactly what is being referenced here. I think the point is that God was not angry at the sea or the river; they were just tools He used to deliver His people from Egypt.
God provided an escape for Israel from Egypt by parting the Red Sea. He also cleared a path through the Jordan as they entered the promised land. He will once again intervene in nature to exact His wrath against His enemies and deliver His people during the tribulation period.
Habakkuk is definitely continuing to praise God for His mighty works in deliverance of Israel.
Hab. 3:11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.
Hab. 3:12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.
Hab. 3:13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.
This section begins with a reference to God causing the sun to stand still until the Israelites were able to avenge themselves on the kings of the Amorites and their armies as described in Joshua 10. God always went before His people in battle when they were looking to Him in faith and obedience.
Hab. 3:14 Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.
Hab. 3:15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.
Hab. 3:16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.
In this section, Habakkuk’s praise becomes more personal. He is identifying personally with God’s actions on behalf of Israel.
In verse 16 he seems to begin to reference God’s message to His people through Habakkuk. It’s a powerful message of judgment that produces fear in Habakkuk.
“that I might rest” – I can’t help but wonder if Habakkuk isn’t hoping he is dead when God’s judgment falls. The scripture often references death as rest or sleep.
Dan. 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
John 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Hab. 3:17 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:
Hab. 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
At this point Habakkuk purposes in his heart to rejoice in the Lord no matter how terrible his physical circumstances may get. The word rejoice implies to “jump for joy, to triumph.” He is confident of deliverance and victory in his own life as he places his faith in God.
Hab. 3:19 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. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
Habakkuk declares his confidence in God to provide him the strength that is necessary to overcome in any situation. Just as He has enabled the deer to be sure footed in the high places, God will provide safety and security for Habakkuk, and all His people, who place their faith in Him. Habakkuk could be remembering one of the psalms in this verse.
Psa. 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
Psa. 18:33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
Evidently, Habakkuk was a musician who wrote this prayer to be shared as a song of praise.