A prayer of the prophet Habakkuk. According to Shigionoth.
Lord, I have heard the report about you;
Lord, I stand in awe of your deeds.
Revive your work in these years;
make it known in these years.
In your wrath remember mercy!
God comes from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.Selah
His splendor covers the heavens,
and the earth is full of his praise.
His brilliance is like light;
rays are flashing from his hand.
This is where his power is hidden.
Plague goes before him,
and pestilence follows in his steps.
He stands and shakes the earth;
he looks and startles the nations.
The age-old mountains break apart;
the ancient hills sink down.
His pathways are ancient.
I see the tents of Cushan in distress;
the tent curtains of the land of Midian tremble.
Are you angry at the rivers, Lord?
Is your wrath against the rivers?
Or is your rage against the sea
when you ride on your horses,
your victorious chariot?
You took the sheath from your bow;
the arrows are ready to be used with an oath. Selah
You split the earth with rivers.
The mountains see you and shudder;
a downpour of water sweeps by.
The deep roars with its voice
and lifts its waves high.
Sun and moon stand still in their lofty residence,
at the flash of your flying arrows,
at the brightness of your shining spear.
You march across the earth with indignation;
you trample down the nations in wrath.
You come out to save your people,
to save your anointed.
You crush the leader of the house of the wicked
and strip him from foot to neck. Selah
You pierce his head
with his own spears;
his warriors storm out to scatter us,
gloating as if ready to secretly devour the weak.
You tread the sea with your horses,
stirring up the vast water.
Habakkuk 3 is identified as a prayer by Habakkuk in response to what he has learned from God in his conversation with Him about justice. It has the tone of a lament, remembering fondly the reports he had heard about God through the tradition of his ancestors. He longs to see those days again. In the midst of His wrath, Habakkuk prays that God will also demonstrate His mercy.
In his prayer, Habakkuk alludes to many of the things he heard God do in the past on behalf of Israel. There is reference to Cush and Midian as nations that God has defended Israel against in the past. He speaks of rivers and seas trembling before God as He rides out on His chariot, perhaps an allusion to the Jordan River and the Red Sea. In the end, though, Habakkuk sees that when God does act like a warrior God, it is in defense of righteousness and against the unrighteous. It’s not a nationalistic motive, taking sides.
When we think of God as a warrior, we most often want His concern to be whatever is important to us. Self-interest is a strong motivator. God’s interest is righteousness and justice, though. If He exercises judgment, it is because He needs to intervene for the sake of justice and not our personal interests. We need to trust that He is just and will do what is right at the right time.
- What is your confidence level in God’s justice?