A Song of Faith
No matter how committed to God we consider ourselves to be, Habakkuk’s prayer in these verses is probably not what springs to our minds when we are faced with terrible circumstances, as he was. But his prayer was not for himself alone! Indeed, it was to be accompanied by a choir and instruments and prayed by God’s people (Habakkuk 3:19).
Habakkuk was imagining a situation that would amount to great devastation for an agricultural society. No fruit, produce, yields, flocks, or herds meant a completely broken economy and a chronic shortage of food. Yet Habakkuk says that even if confronted with that scenario, our greatest concern should be neither pestilence nor plague but that the work of God would be revived. Ultimately, Habakkuk said he would be found singing, trusting the sovereign work of the Lord. The God of salvation was all he needed for joy (Habakkuk 3:18).
How is Habakkuk able to say, and pray, this? Throughout his prayer, the prophet also recounts God’s great works throughout history (Habakkuk 3:3-16). These serve as a reminder to him that God is sovereign, God is good, and God is always to be trusted. Even the darkest of days gives way to the dawn in God’s sovereign purposes; and though the dawn sometimes tarries, it does not fail to arrive. Habakkuk knows that God saves His people, and that is sufficient cause for joy. And it is the same for us. God’s dealings and deliverance of His people through the Old Testament foreshadow His ultimate deliverance in Jesus. It is in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that God remembers mercy in wrath and the believer is safely brought through death to life. We’re not exempt from calamity—but because of God’s great work, we can still rejoice. The dawn of salvation will come, however dark the moment.
As we consider Habakkuk’s prayerful song, we should ask ourselves two questions: Am I as concerned as the prophet for the reviving and fulfillment of God’s work? And is God alone sufficient for me? May the prayer of the prophet become yours as you seek to further God’s purposes among His people in this time. And when the world appears to crumble around you, you can still find joy in the God of your salvation. By faith you can sing:
’Tis what I know of Thee, my Lord and God,
That fills my soul with peace, my lips with song;
Thou art my health, my joy, my staff and rod;
Leaning on Thee, in weakness I am strong.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
3God came from Teman,
and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His splendor covered the heavens,
and the earth was full of his praise.
4His brightness was like the light;
rays flashed from his hand;
and there he veiled his power.
5Before him went pestilence,
and plague followed at his heels.1
6He 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.
7I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
8Was 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?
9You stripped the sheath from your bow,
calling for many arrows.2 Selah
You split the earth with rivers.
10The mountains saw you and writhed;
the raging waters swept on;
the deep gave forth its voice;
it lifted its hands on high.
11The sun and moon stood still in their place
at the light of your arrows as they sped,
at the flash of your glittering spear.
12You marched through the earth in fury;
you threshed the nations in anger.
13You 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.3 Selah
14You 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.
15You trampled the sea with your horses,
the surging of mighty waters.
16I 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.
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.