Habakkuk 3 (ESV)

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

   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.

   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.

   His brightness was like the light;

rays flashed from his hand;

and there he veiled his power.

   Before him went pestilence,

and plague followed at his heels.

   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.

   I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;

the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

   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?

   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.

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.

 

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.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

 

1. What we fear reveals what we serve

  • In ordinary conversations, even among Christians, we express fear of just about any threat to our well-being, but meet stares or raised eyebrows if we mention fearing God.
  • We worship what we fear the most.
  • We don’t really fear the coronavirus. It’s just a symptom of our deeper disease. What we fear most is losing imaginary control over our lives.
  • We fear a loss of our sovereignty.
  • We fear death.
  • God exists for our happiness.
  • Fear of God has been watered down to an idea of respecting him but i9t’s impolite to speak of a dread of God.
  • Habakkuk doesn’t allow us this illusion
  • Background to Habakkuk 3

2. The fearful report of the Lord (v 1-7)

  • I tremble at your work, I fear it (Philip Yancy – child praying)
  • In the midst of the years, revive it
  • In wrath remember mercy
  • Bright majesty
  • Shook the earth
  • Crushed Egypt and Midian and other nations
  • Recounting God’s power over the mountains and the waters and the forces of nature.

 

3. I tremble and wait (v 8-16)

  • Habakkuk addresses God directly in verse 8-12
  • Was God angry at rivers and mountains that He swept away?
  • Was His wrath directed at the sun and the moon.
  • No, this was all for His glory and on behalf of His people.

 

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.

  • God fought for His people
  • He was on their side.
  • God overcame the fearful forces of His creation and swept aside the immovable for His own people.
  • It’s good to have God as your warrior and on your side.

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.

  •  He contemplates the coming judgment for Judah
  • He contemplates the works of evil men.
  • He trembles at what is coming and what he cannot control
  • But He admits it to God.
  • Habakkuk is confessing his fears to a merciful God
  • Bindi Jua the gorilla
  • We sometimes think that God’s mercy is unpredictable and don’t want to try it.

4. I will rejoice and sing of my hope inf You (v 17-19)

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.

  • Total economic collapse
  • If we lose everything we still have God
  • Reality that God is the most to be feared
  • He has the power over both death and Hades
  • Reality is that God is most merciful
  • He will take care of those Who trust in Him
  • He may not deliver us from sickness and death of the Body.
  • But He has our back and we will dwell with Him forever.
  • Christ’s most frequent command
  • μὴ φοβεῖσθε
  • Fear Not, Do Not Fear, Take Courage
  • Why can Christ tell us this?
  • Is it because our faith produces wealth and health?
  • Is it because we will have no troubles?
  • We are all fallen in a world that is under curse.
  • Death, pestilence, and disease are aspects of our fallen Creation.
  • Our sin places us at enmity with God.
  • It is a fearful thing to be an enemy of the God described by Habakkuk.
  • Thanks be to God that in Christ we have been recondliced.
  • We become God’s children in Christ.
  • We can bring our fears and our concerns to Him.
  • We can tell Him that we fear to lose our lives and we fear for the future of our jobs.
  • We can count on His mercy in Christ.
  • We can fear Him above all else and worship Him and know that He has our back.
  • Yet though we lose everything we still have Christ and we will be redeemed by Him and rise again.
  • We are freed from worrying about tomorrow.
  • Cast your cares upon Him.

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
    Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
    It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones (Prov. 3:5-8).

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