Habakkuk 3

Habakkuk’s Prayer

1 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.

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The prophet beseeches God for his people. (1,2) He calls to mind former deliverances. (3-15) His firm trust in the Divine mercy. (16-19)

Verses 1-2 The word prayer seems used here for an act of devotion. The Lord would revive his work among the people in the midst of the years of adversity. This may be applied to every season when the church, or believers, suffer under afflictions and trials. Mercy is what we must flee to for refuge, and rely upon as our only plea. We must not say, Remember our merit, but, Lord, remember thy own mercy.

Verses 3-15 God's people, when in distress, and ready to despair, seek help by considering the days of old, and the years of ancient times, and by pleading them with God in prayer. The resemblance between the Babylonish and Egyptian captivities, naturally presents itself to the mind, as well as the possibility of a like deliverance through the power of Jehovah. God appeared in his glory. All the powers of nature are shaken, and the course of nature changed, but all is for the salvation of God's own people. Even what seems least likely, shall be made to work for their salvation. Hereby is given a type and figure of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. It is for salvation with thine anointed. Joshua who led the armies of Israel, was a figure of Him whose name he bare, even Jesus, our Joshua. In all the salvations wrought for them, God looked upon Christ the Anointed, and brought deliverances to pass by him. All the wonders done for Israel of old, were nothing to that which was done when the Son of God suffered on the cross for the sins of his people. How glorious his resurrection and ascension! And how much more glorious will be his second coming, to put an end to all that opposes him, and all that causes suffering to his people!

Verses 16-19 When we see a day of trouble approach, it concerns us to prepare. A good hope through grace is founded in holy fear. The prophet looked back upon the experiences of the church in former ages, and observed what great things God had done for them, and so was not only recovered, but filled with holy joy. He resolved to delight and triumph in the Lord; for when all is gone, his God is not gone. Destroy the vines and the fig-trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal heart to cease. But those who, when full, enjoyed God in all, when emptied and poor, can enjoy all in God. They can sit down upon the heap of the ruins of their creature-comforts, and even then praise the Lord, as the God of their salvation, the salvation of the soul, and rejoice in him as such, in their greatest distresses. Joy in the Lord is especially seasonable when we meet with losses and crosses in the world. Even when provisions are cut off, to make it appear that man lives not by bread alone, we may be supplied by the graces and comforts of God's Spirit. Then we shall be strong for spiritual warfare and work, and with enlargement of heart may run the way of his commandments, and outrun our troubles. And we shall be successful in spiritual undertakings. Thus the prophet, who began his prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy and triumph. And thus faith in Christ prepares for every event. The name of Jesus, when we can speak of Him as ours, is balm for every wound, a cordial for every care. It is as ointment poured forth, shedding fragrance through the whole soul. In the hope of a heavenly crown, let us sit loose to earthly possessions and comforts, and cheerfully bear up under crosses. Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and where he is, we shall be also.

Cross References 47

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Probably a literary or musical term
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the middle of verse 9 and at the end of verse 13.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HABAKKUK 3

The title of this chapter is a prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, composed after the manner of a psalm of David, and directed to the chief singer, Hab 3:1,19. The occasion of it is expressed, Hab 3:2 in which the prophet declares his concern for the work of the Lord, and the promotion of the kingdom and interest of Christ; and observes the various steps that were, or would be, taken for the advancement of it; for which he prays, and suggests that these would be after the manner of the Lord's dealing with the people of Israel, and settling them in the land of Canaan, Hab 3:3-15 and there being several things awful in this account, both with respect to the judgments of God on his enemies, and the conflicts and trials of his own people, it greatly affected the mind of the prophet, Hab 3:16 and yet, in the view of the worst, he expresses his strong faith in the Lord, as to better times and things, that would most assuredly come, Hab 3:17-19.

Habakkuk 3 Commentaries

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.