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The Book of Habakkuk
The little Book of Habakkuk opened in gloom. Habakkuk questioned God about it. But now . . . it closes in glory, and with a high note of praise, and confident faith.
This chapter can be divided into three sections: #1. In the first two verses, we have the prayer of the prophet. #2. Then there is the program of God in verses 3-17, and then #3. the position of the prophet in verses 18-19.
Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. (KJV)
Habakkuk's prayer is Hebrew poetry. It is a song of high praise, a poem filled with deep, passionate feeling. "Shigionoth" seems to be a musical term. "Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite." (Psalm 7). The poem/song has a special heading, and it is fashioned similar to the Psalms.
What a change in the life of Habakkuk! His patient experience on the watchtower and his patient waiting for an answer from God has instilled in him tremendous faith. Oh! That this might happen to us!
The prophet's eyes were opened to something he did not see before. This chapter is really his song to God. Many of David's Psalms were addressed "To the chief Musician," as did Habakkuk: "To the chief singer on my stringed instruments" (Hab.3:19).
The "prayer" of the prophet, is really contained in the words of Hab.3:2. The remainder is praise and thanksgiving, for God's past mercies in the deliverance from Egypt and the entering into the Promised Land. But, as thanksgiving is always an essential part of prayer, and Hannah is said to have "prayed," whereas the hymn which followed is throughout one thanksgiving. Her gladness and thankfulness of heart simply burst forth in her remarkable prophetic song (1 Sam. 2:1-10).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid . . . or, "my hearing" which the Lord had caused to be heard from and of Himself. The report that had been made to him, and other prophets before him, who says, "who hath believed our report?" (Isa.53:1).
The prophet had heard with the inward ear of his heart, "Thy speech," . . . or Thy report, what may be heard and known of God. O LORD, I have heard Thy report, and am alarmed. The tidings of the judgment which God is about to inflict upon Judah through the Chaldaeans, and after that upon the Chaldaeans themselves. The prophet is really alarmed at this.
Even in the overthrow of the mighty Chaldaean (the empire of the world), the omnipotence of Almighty God is displayed in such a terrible way, that this judgment not only inspires joy at the destruction of the foe, but frightens the prophet at the omnipotence of the Judge of the world.
"Thy speech" . . . the report or declaration God made to Habakkuk concerning the future corrections to His own people, and the devastations Babylon would make among them, also the destruction which should fall upon the Babylonians by the Medes and Persians. The prophet also saw and heard about the righteous judgments of God, and the work of the Lord that would be performed in His time for those who patiently wait for it. He was given the prophecy of the Coming of the Messiah.
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years . . . this does not refer to the deliverance from the Babylon captivity, which was fixed amount of years . . . I think this refers to the great work of the Lord in the times of the Gospel. God's Word often seems dead and "come utterly to an end for evermore" (Ps.77:8-9). The great work of God on Earth, which includes all His works and is the end of all, is the salvation of man through Jesus Christ. This great work seemed, as it were, asleep, or dead, as trees in winter, all through those 4,000 years, which gave no hint of His Coming. The special Work of God, wherein He made all things new, is the Human Body of our Lord, the Temple which was destroyed by death, and within three days was raised up (Jn.2:19).
"In the midst of the years" . . . the resurrection of Christ from the dead, or the quickening of Him, is prophesied of in many places as a work that would be done, and in which the hope and expectation of the saints were placed; this being a work of great importance both to Christ, His exaltation and glory, and to His people; their regeneration (Tit.3:5), or passing from death to life (Jn.5:24); their justification of life (Rom.5:18), resurrection from the dead (Rom.1:4; 1 Cor.15:12) and depending upon it. THIS is the Lord's work, and owing to the exceeding greatness of His power, and is frequently ascribed to God the Father, who raised Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory.
In the midst of the years make known . . . Christ's resurrection from the dead, was for the benefit of the Lord's people, both Jews and Gentiles. God would make known more of Himself, as the covenant God and Father of His people, of His mind and His will, of His love, His grace and His mercy in Christ . . . and that He would make known more of Christ, of His Person, offices and grace; and that He would make known more clearly the work of His Spirit and grace upon their hearts, and display His power, and the value of His grace, and that He would make known more of His covenant and promises, His truth and faithfulness. Hab.2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (KJV) . . . He would grant a larger measure of knowledge of all divine things of the Gospel, and the Truths in it . . . when the Earth shall be everywhere filled with the knowledge of the Lord! "In the midst of the years" . . . or as the time grows nearer, the clearer and fuller is the prediction; and the signs of the times show that the complete fulfillment is at hand.
In wrath remember mercy . . . the Lord, in the midst of His wrath and infliction of punishment, remembers mercy, and spares the souls that return to Him with humble prayer. God's wrath and vengeance upon the Jewish nation for their rejection of the Messiah; the prophet does not pray that it might be turned away, but that mercy might be remembered to His people, and those who had the Gospel preached to them, and were called by grace and saved.
The answer to Habakkuk's enquiry, "How long?" had two sides: It had given assurance as to the end. The time would not be prolonged for one moment longer than the counsel of God had pre-determined. The relief would come, but mean while, there was no comfort to be given. The worse the sin, the deeper the chastisement. But He was silent as to the time and pointed to patient expectation as their only comfort, He implies that the immediate future was heavy.
The years include all the long period of waiting for our Lord's First Coming before He came in the Flesh; and now for His Second Coming and the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). In this long wait period, at times God SEEMS to be absent, as when our Lord was asleep in the boat, while the storm raged, but when He speaks "the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mk.4:39). The Lord is NEVER absent! But, in those times when God seems to be absent, and His seeming to leave all things to time and chance (Ps.74:1,11-12), we need to have faith and trust Him as we patiently wait! God CANNOT lie (Tit.1:2).
In times of trouble He seems like a God who "hideth Himself" (Job 23:9). To revive the sagging hopes of man, may we see that "Thy word is truth" (Jn.17:17). God would send His Son in the Flesh when the time was right (Dan.9:24). And He shall also send His Son at just the right time the second time as well (1 Thes.4:13-18; Zec.14:1-4; Rev.19:11-21).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
The word "selah" is found only 75 times in the Bible. Most of those places are in Psalms; once in 2 Kings 14:7, and three times in Habakkuk: Hab.3:3,9,13. Selah means to lift up, exalt, also it is a suspension, (in music), pause. To me, here it seems to mean: "Stop, look, and listen."
God came from Teman . . . God shall come, as He came of old, clothed with majesty and power. This was not just mere power, but as Isaiah and Micah had prophesied that it was to be, a new revelation (Isa.2:3; Mic.4:2). "The law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." "I will give Thee for a covenant to the people (Israel), for a light of the Gentiles." (Isa.42:6; 49:6; Lu.2:32; Acts 13:47).
Speaking of what was in store, Habakkuk renews the imagery in the Song of Moses (Deut.33:2), in Deborah's Song (Judg.5:5), and with David (Ps.68:7-8).
Habakkuk speaks of that Coming as yet to be, and he directs us to another Lawgiver, Christ, Messiah, whom God should raise up like unto Moses (Deut.18:15-18). And tells how God, shall come in likeness of our flesh (Gen.3:15; Isa.11:1,10; Isa.7:14; Mic.5:2; Mal.3:1).
The prophet, to encourage his own faith, and the faith of others, takes notice of the instances of the grace, goodness and power of God to His people Israel: in appearing to them at Mount Sinai, going before them in the wilderness, destroying their enemies, casting them out before them, and settling them in the land of Canaan . . . because of this, the prophet prays to God the Father for the Coming of His Son, in the flesh, that the incarnate God would appear in the world, and set up His kingdom in it. He prophesies of it, and expresses his faith in it: "God cometh from the south," he knew from the prophecy of Micah that He that was to be "ruler in Israel" was to come from Bethlehem (Mic.5:2), which lay to the south of Jerusalem. Because of this, he expected Him, and believed He would come, and prayed for it.
God came: (Judg.5:4-5; Ps.68:7-8; Isa.64:3)
From Teman: (Gen.36:11; Jer.49:7; Am.1:12; Ob.1:9).
Selah: (Ps.3:2,4; 4:4; 9:16,20).
And the Holy One from Mount Paran . . . the Holy One is Christ Jesus, the Messiah, that came or shined forth "from Mount Paran" (Deut 33:2). For it was Christ that appeared on Mount Sinai, and gave to Moses the lively oracles of God (Acts 7:38). I believe that the "angel of the Lord" was Jesus. Angel of the LORD: (Gen.16:7-10; 22:15; Ex.14:19; Num.22:23; Judg.2:1; 13:3; Isa.63:9).
This "Holy One" is truly God (Job 6:10; Ps.16:10; 71:22), God manifest in the flesh, "Immanuel" (Isa.7:14), God with us. He is the Holy One of God, infinitely holy, a divine Person, Who is holy, harmless and without sin in His human nature and life (Isa.53:9; Jn.7:18; 2 Cor.5:21; Heb.4:15; 7:26; 9:28; Jam.5:6; 1 Pet.1:18-19; 2:22-24; 1 Jn.3:3,5). He is the Sanctifier and Sanctification of His people (Jn.17:17; Rom.15:16; 1 Cor.1:2,30; Eph.5:26; 2 Thes.2:13; 2 Tim.2:21; Heb.10:10; 13:12; 1 Pet.1:2).
Mount Paran was situated to the south of the land of Canaan, as well as Teman, near to the wilderness of Paran, mentioned often in Scriptures (Gen.21:21; Num.10:12; 12:16; 13:3,26; 1 Sam.25:1). It was a dreadful, barren desert, where nothing grew, through which the children of Israel journeyed. Sometimes it was called the wilderness of Sin (Ex.16:1; Num.33:11-12); and sometimes the desert of Sinai (Ex.19:2; Num.33:16).
His glory covered the heavens . . . meaning the glory of God, the Holy One, when He came, or should come. This was true of Him when He descended upon Mount Sinai, and His glory abode upon it; and the sight of His glory was "like devouring fire" (Ex.24:17). The elders saw the 'shekinah' (theophany) of the God of Israel. For more on "shekinah" see: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13537-shekinah
This "glory" was so great that it made the light and glory of the celestial bodies useless, even to cover and hide the shining of them (Ex.34:29-30; Isa.60:3,19; Eze.1:26-28; 10:4; Luke 2:9; Acts 26:13; 2 Thes.2:8; Heb.1:3; Rev.21:23).
This "glory" may also refer to the glorious appearances at the birth of Christ, when the heavenly host descended, and sang Glory to God in the highest, and when the glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds (Luke 2:9), and at His baptism, when the heavens were opened, the Father's voice was heard, and the Spirit descended on Christ, as a dove (Mat.3:16); and at His transfiguration, when His Face shone as the sun; and Moses and Elias appeared in glorious forms and a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice was heard from the clouds (Mat.17:2-9), and in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His death (Jn.12:27-29).
This "glory" may also refer to Christ as the brightness of His Father's glory (Heb.1:3), and the glory of God in the Face of Christ (Acts 7:2,55; 2 Cor.4:6), as set forth in the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ (2 Cor.4:4; 1 Tim.1:11), when carried throughout the world by His desciples; whereby His glory was so spread in it, that the heavens declared it (Ps.19:1).
And the earth was full of his praise . . . words of His praise could NOT be kept silent; the mighty things done by the Lord in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the wilderness. Praise reached the nations of the world, and especially those of the land of Canaan, and struck them with awe and dread (Josh.2:9). And the fame of Christ, His miracles and His doctrines, went through the land of Israel, and all Syria. Multitudes glorified God, and praised Him for what was done by Him (Mat.4:23), and the Earth was filled with His glory and praise when His Gospel was carried into all the parts of it by His disciples, which brought joy to all repentant sinners, and filled their hearts and mouths with praise to God for giving them such a Saviour, and for the abundant and unsearchable blessings of grace and good things that came by Him. His glory: (Ex.19:16-20; 20:18; 24:15-17; Deut.5:24; Ps.68:17; 114:3-7; Isa.6:3; 2 Cor.3:7-11; Rev.5:13-14).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
And his brightness was as the light . . . of a devouring fire on the top of the mount (Ex.24:17), to which the sight of his glory was like. Some think that the pillar of fire is meant, in which the Lord went before His people in the wilderness (Ex.13:21).
Consider the following also: His brightness is where God dwells (Eze.10:4). His brightness makes darkness flee (Ps.18:12). The glory of God in His Son (John 1:14). "The people that walked in darkness see a great light" (Isa.9:2). Jesus is He who is the "brightness of the Father's Glory and the express Image of His Person" (Heb.1:3). Jesus is the TRUE Light (John 1:9; 17:5). Brightness: (Ex.13:21; 14:20; Neh.9:12; Ps.104:2; Isa.60:19-20; Mat.17:2; 1 Tim.6:16; Rev.21:23; 22:5).
He had horns coming out of his hand . . . "horns" is often a symbol for power in the Bible. Jewish interpreters think that Moses had horns, or beams of light and glory from the Hand and power of God, when he spoke with Him on the mount, and the "skin of his face shone" (Ex.34:29). Yet others think that it was the two tables of the law, which came from the Hand of the Lord, so bright with His glory and brightness, they looked like fire; hence called a "fiery law" (Deut.33:2). Horns: (Job 26:14; Pro.18:10).
"He had horns" . . . or beams of light . . . some understand this to be of Christ, who has beams and rays of glory on all sides of Him, all around Him; for He is all glory; He is crowned with glory and honor, and highly exalted at His Father's right Hand, above all principalities and powers (Col.1:16). Since Christ created them (Gen.1:1,31; Jn.1:3,10; 1 Cor.8:6; Eph.3:9; Col.1:16-17; Heb.1:2,10. 3:4; 4:11; Rev.3:14; 4:11), He certainly is above them!
Again, "horns" is a symbol of power and might, authority and dominion, so this may mean that power and authority in Heaven and in Earth are given to Him as Mediator, and exercised by Him (Ps.2:8; 89:19; Isa.11:2; 63:1; Mat.28:18; Jn.3:35; 7:2; 10:18; 13:3; Rom.1:4; Eph.1:22; Phil.2:10; 3:21; 1 Pet.3:22; Heb.1:3; 2:9; 7:25; 1 Cor.15:27; Rev.5:5).
And there was the hiding of his power . . . although we cannot SEE His power, it is always in His Hand. It may seem to be "hiding" but it is actually in plain sight of true faith! But, even thought we KNOW it is there, we do not know its actual capabilities! At His Second Coming, the world will SEE it working.
Habakkuk 3:5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. (KJV)
Before him went the pestilence . . . this could mean in the land of Egypt, when He marched slew all their firstborn (Ex.12:12,29). Before Him went pestilence to consume His enemies (Ex.23:27). The wicked would perish at the Presence of God (Ps.68:1-2). Whatsoever would dare lift itself up against Him would perish, just as antichrist shall perish "at the breath of His mouth," and ALL the ungodly on the Day of Judgment (Isa.11:4; Rev.19:15-21).
This also may refer to the judgments of God in the Great Tribulation Period (Rev.chapters 6-19), and those pestilential diseases which shall be placed upon the persecutors of the godly. Before Him went: (Ex.12:29-30; Num.14:12; 16:46-49; Ps.78:50-51; Nah.1:2-3).
And burning coals went forth at his feet . . . some understand this as hailstones mingled with fire, to which the allusion may be, being one of the plagues of Egypt (Ex.9:23). Others interpret it of hot diseases and burning fevers, which are at the command of God, and sent forth by Him when He pleases, to do His will . . . again, the Great Tribulation. Burning coals: (Deut.32:24; Ps.18:7-13)
But, this could also mean the burning of the city and temple of Jerusalem, which was done by the Romans.
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
He stood and measured the earth . . . the Earth . . . after Joshua had conquered the land, he measured it and divided it among the people. He who should come, would measure out the Earth in its length and breadth, that same Earth which His glory fills (Acts 7:56). Measured: (Ex.15:17; 21:31; Num.34:1-29; Deut.32:8; Acts 17:26).
He beheld, and drove asunder the nations . . . with just a look, He made them give way; He drove the Canaanites out of the land, and separated them from one another, and scattered them about, to make room for His people Israel (Ps.78:55). Drove: (Josh.10:42; 11:18-23; Neh.9:22;24; Ps.135:8-12).
And the everlasting mountains were scattered . . . the everlasting mountains which have been in the same place and form from the foundation of the world. "Were scattered" . . . or, broken asunder. This may refer to the convulsions on Mount Sinai; and to the earth quake which announced the descent of the Most High (Ex.19:18). The everlasting: (Hab.3:10; Gen.49:26; Deut.33:15; Judg.5:5; Ps.68:16: 112:4-7; Isa. 64:1-3; Nah.1:5; Zec.14:4-5).
The perpetual hills did bow . . . the mountains and hills that were from the beginning of the Creation, that were settled upon their bases, and never moved, now trembled, shook, and bowed, as Sinai and others did, at the Presence of the God of Israel (Judg.5:5) . . . or symbolically, this may mean the kingdoms and states, kings and princes, great and small of Canaan, which were shaken, moved, and taken by the Israelites, and brought into subjection to them.
His ways are everlasting . . . what the Lord has done in ages past He can certainly do again! His power, His wisdom and His grace are ALWAYS the same! Every step He takes, is according to His counsel, purpose and decrees in eternity, which ALWAYS come to pass; NOTHING can be hindered and frustrated in the execution of God's plans! Any time that He starts something, He shall finish it! The Lord: (Ps.90:2; 103:17; Isa.51:6,8; Mic.5:8; Mat.24:35; Luke 1:50; Heb.13:8).
Habakkuk 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. (KJV)
I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction . . . I saw . . . in prophetic vision (1 Ki.22:17). These are the same as "the curtains of Midian," for tents were made of curtains, and the Ethiopians and Midianites were the same people; so the daughter of the priest of Midian (Ex.2:21).
This seems to refer to that panic which seized the neighboring nations by whom the Israelites passed, as well as the Canaanites, into whose land they were marching, when they heard what wonderful things were done for them in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, which was predicted by Moses in Ex.15:14.
This was not only fulfilled in the Canaanites, as spoken by Rahab (Josh.2:9), but especially in the Moabites and Midianites, who conspired together against Israel; and by the advice of Balaam (Num.31:16; 2 Pet.2:15), found ways to draw them into fornication and also to idolatry.
The curtains of the land of Midian did tremble . . . this may refer to the times of Gideon, when the Midianites were overcome by him with three hundred men, and in their fright fell upon and destroyed each other; signified by a barley cake tumbling into the host of Midian, and overturning a tent (Judg.7:13).
Cush (Ethiopia) and Midian, were parts of Arabia. The Arabians are said to be near the Ethiopians, or at the hand of the Cushites (2 Chron.21:16). Sinai is a part of Horeb, where Moses fed the flock of his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, is expressly said to be in Arabia (Ex.3:1).
At this time Cush or Ethiopia was in affliction; and the Midianites trembled, those to whom the Word came in power, and they were made aware of their danger and misery, as the apostle did at his conversion (Acts 9:6). Since an Ethiopian is a symbol of a man in his natural state, and describes very well wicked and corrupt persons, apostates from religion, and evil ones who persecute good men (Jer.13:23), it may refer to their distress and trouble, the fear and dread they would be seized, on seeing Christianity prevail, and Paganism falling in the Roman empire; which distress and trembling are in a very striking way set forth in Rev.6:15.
To break the power of idolatry . . . it was foretold that these should be converted in Gospel times (Isa.2:2; 9:2; 11:10; 18:7; 19:18,21,24; 49:6; 53:10; 55:5; 56:7; 57:19; 59:19; 61:11; 62:2; Jer.3:17; 31:8,34; Hos.2:23; Mic.4:2; Zep.2:11; Mal.1:11), which was brought about in part by the Ethiopian eunuch, converted and baptized by Philip (Acts 8:27-39), who doubtless was the means of spreading the Gospel in his own country, when returning to it, and greatly by the Apostle Paul, who went into Arabia (Gal.1:17), and preached there, after his conversion, and in the early Christian churches.
Midian was the last enemy who, at the very entrance of the Promised Land, seduced God's people into idolatry and vile sin and immoral lusts. Midian became then the object of the wrath of God (Num.25:17). They were also among the early oppressors of Israel (Judg.6:2,4,11), leaving "no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor ass," driving them for refuge to dwell in the "dens and the mountains, caves and fastnesses," consuming the produce of their land like locusts.
Both the kingdom of Aram-Naharaim and Midian disappear from history after those great defeats. Midian, "lost," by mutual slaughter, "one hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword" (Judg.8:10).
It remains a proverb for the utter destruction of these who try to exterminate the people of God (Ps.83:9-12). "Do unto them as unto the Midianites; make them and their princes like Oreb and Zeeb; all their princes us Zebah and as Zalmunnah, who said, let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession." It was an exterminating warfare, which took its toll on those who waged it. Isaiah sums up an utter breaking-off of the yoke and the rod of the oppressor, as being "as in the day of Midian" (Isa.9:4).
Iniquity is totally opposed to that which is God and His Goodness, and ALWAYS ends in sorrow! Cush is seen as lying, as all sinners do, and weighed down by the whoredoms of idolatry, as are many nations today.
Tents and curtains are symbols of what shall pass away; under which the wicked shelter themselves from the troubles of this present life, as from heat and rain, but within themselves decay, or are consumed by fire. "The curtains of Midian tremble." The prophet was not speaking of any past terror, but of that terror, which should still seize all those opposed to God.
For more on Midian and Midianites, see:
Habakkuk 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? (KJV)
Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? . . . many think this refers to the rivers in Egypt that were turned to blood, one of the ten plagues of that land (Ex.7:20). Or was God's wrath against the Egyptians a punishment to them for drowning the infants of the Israel in them (Ex.1:22); or was it to obtain the dismissal of His people from that land?
The birth of Moses occurred at a time when Pharaoh had commanded that all male children born to Hebrew captives should be thrown into the Nile (Ex.1:22). Jochebed, the wife of the Levite Amram, bore a son, and kept the child concealed for three months. When she could keep him hidden no longer, rather than deliver him to death she set him adrift on the Nile in an ark of bulrushes. The daughter of Pharaoh, coming opportunely to the river to bathe, discovered the babe, was attracted to him, adopted him as her son, and named him "Moses." Thus it came about that the future deliverer of Israel was reared as the son of an Egyptian princess (Ex. 2:1-10).
Was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? . . . the Red Sea, when a strong east wind was sent (Ex 14:22-31) which divided its waters, bore no mark of displeasure from God, but was for the benefit of the people of Israel, that they might pass through it as on dry land. God's wrath was against Pharaoh and his armies, who upon entering into the dry sea bed with his horses and chariots, were drowned.
The Christian emperors, Constantine and Theodosius, whom the Lord raised up as His instruments to demolish Paganism and establish Christianity, to deliver and to save His people from their persecutors, who came in like a flood upon them; and who, for their number and force, were compared to rivers (Rev.13:1; 17:15; Isa.8:7; Ps.93:4). Some interpret the rivers as kings and their armies. God's wrath will be poured out when He is displeased and angry with the "rivers and the sea" and often is to be taken symbolically. The Lord: (Ex.14:21-22; Josh.3:16-17; Ps.114:3,5; Isa.50:2; Nah.1:4; Mk.4:39; Rev.16:12).
The clouds are the chariots of the Lord (Ps.104:3), so too angels, who are sometimes symbolized by horses and chariots (Ps.18:10; Zec.1:8), and they may mean the angels with Michael (Rev.12:7). Ride: (Hab.3:15; Deut.33:26-27; Ps.18:10; 45:4; 68:4,17; 104:3; Isa.19:1; Rev.6:2; 19:11,14).
The object of the prophet, is to show that the second dispensation is far better and more glorious, and cannot be compared with things of old. For in days of old, He led Israel through the bodily service of Moses, changing into blood the rivers of Egypt, and doing signs and wonders; then dividing the Red Sea, and carrying over the redeemed, and then unleashing the waters upon the warlike Egyptians.
But when the only-begotten Word of God (John 1:1) became Man, He pulled the whole human race under Heaven from the tyranny of Satan, NOT changing rivers into blood, NOT pouring His anger upon waters, NOT dividing waves of the sea, NOT bringing destruction to people, but instead, destroying the lying, hateful, murderous Serpent, and removing the sin which had been invented by the devil and for him. He also loosed the unconquered power of death, and called all to the knowledge of God, through the His holy apostles.
Psalms 133:3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (KJV)
Death Vanquished: (Isa.25:8; Hos.13:14; Mat.12:40; Mk.5:41-42; Rom.6:9; 1 Cor.15:26,54; 2 Tim.1:10; Heb.2:14; Rev.1:18; 20:14; 21:4).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
Thy bow was made quite naked . . . the bow could represent the threat of the vengeance of Almighty God, from which it is discharged. The more the day of judgment is delayed, the more severe will be that judgment. As long as judgment is delayed, the "bow" seems to be laid up in its sheath. God's judgments nearly always strike suddenly (Ps.64:7), "as with a swift arrow," because men pay no attention, coming from a bow at a distance which they cannot see. But, His warning judgments He makes are clear for all to see . . . although it is quite shocking that so many people pay little or no attention to warnings! The Lord was revealed in His majestic power, fighting the battles of His people, as in the times of Joshua (Josh.3-4; Josh.6; Josh.7-8; Josh.9-10; 11:1-5, 7-15). God had promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants (Gen.12:7), so the victories of Joshua were further proof that God WAS fulfilling His Promise.
According to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah . . . "the oath which He swore unto our father Abraham," (Luke 1:73-74) which oath He often renewed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and again to David. This oath, the Word and Promise of God, was the pledge of the deliverance of His people, that they "should be saved from their enemies, and from the hand of all that hate them" (Deut.7:15-16; 30:7; Neh.9:27).
This oath, seemed to lay covered and hidden for so long. Would it ever be fulfilled? Or would God change His Mind and not carry it out. Would God lie? NO! NO! NO! God does NOT lie! God NEVER lies! (Num.23:19; 1 Sam.15:29; Tit.1:2; Heb.6:18). "Selah." A pause follows, wherein to meditate on all which is contained in the word or promise of God, which is all time and eternity. God's covenant which He made with Israel is forever.
Oath: (Ex.13:5; Gen.22:16-17; 24:7; 26:3; Deut.4:31; 6:10; 7:8,12-13; 8:18; 10:11; 26:3; 28:11; 30:20; Ps.105:9; Jer.11:5; Mic.7:20; Heb.6:16-17). Psalms 133:3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (KJV)
CHRIST shall be KING! (1 Sam.2:9-10; Ps.2:6; 18:43-44; 24:7-10; 45:3-7; 72:5,8,11; 89:3-4,19-21,23,36-37; 110:1-2; 132:11,17-18; Song 1:4,12; Isa.6:1-3; 9:6-7; 11:10; 22:22-23; 32:1; 33:17; 40:10-11; 52:7,13-15; Jer.23:5-6; 30:9; 33:17; Eze. 37:24-25; Dan.2:34,44; 7:13-14; 8:23,25; 9:25; Hos.3:5; Mic.5:2,4; Zec.6:13; 9:10; Mat.2:2,6; 3:12; 11:27; 12:6; 13:41; 19:28; 21:5; 25:31-34; 26:64; 27:11; 28:18; Mk.14:62; Luke 1:32-33; 2:11; 3:17; 10:22; 19:27,38; 22:29-30,69; 23:42; Jn. 1:49; 3:31; 12:13,15,41; 13:3; 18:36-37; 19:19; Acts 2:30; 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Rom.9:5; 14:9; 1 Cor.15:23-28; Eph.1:20-22; 1 Tim.6:15-16; 2 Tim.4:8; Heb.2:7-8; 10:12-13; 1 Pet.3:22; Rev.1:5-7,18; 3:7,14,21; 5:5,12-14; 6:2,15-17; 11:15;12:10; 14:14; 17:14).
For more on Israel, see: http://www.hisservants.org/israel_h_s.htm
Some say that the "bow" here is a symbol of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with Christ being the Captain of our salvation and soul! Jesus as Messiah was predicted by Joshua, and many others in the Old Testament, especially the prophets (Ps.2:1-12; 45:1-6; Rev.19:11-21).
Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers . . . most think that this refers to the smiting of the rock (Num.20:9-11; Deut.8:15; Neh.9:15; Ps.78:15-16,20; 114:8; Isa.48:21; 1 Cor.10:4), when waters gushed out fro the thirsty people. Psalms 105:41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river. (KJV)
This also may refer to the future when provisions of grace, and an abundance of the blessings may be made available for the children of God in times of distress and difficulty (Isa.41:17-20), or to help against the flood of persecution, cast abroad by the church by Satan, in order to overwhelm her, by the Earth opening its mouth, and swallowing up the flood (Rev.12:15). God will be there with abundant blessings! (Isa.12:3; 27:6; 30:25; 32:2,15; 35:6-7; 37:31-32; 43:19-20; 44:3; 48:21; 49:9-10; 51:3; 55:13; 58:11; 60:21; 61:3,11; Ps.46:4; 78:15-16; 92:13-14; 105:41; 107:35-39; Eze.17:22-24; 47:1-8,12; Joel 3:18; Zec.14:8; Rev.7:17; 22:1).
Until Christ the Rock (Deut.32:4,15,18,31,37; Ps.18:2; 27:5; 62:6-7; Isa.32:2; 2 Cor.10:4), was smitten, the whole world was a barren desert. Only Christ Jesus turned that desert into rivers of water (Ps.1:3; Isa.32:2; Jn.7:38). For from the "One Fountain" which is Christ, there issue many streams, as many as necessary rightly express the "waters" of His teaching, to water the earth.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. (KJV)
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (KJV)
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
The mountains saw thee, and they trembled . . . at the power and presence of God, as Sinai of old. Exodus 19:16-18 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. (KJV)
When Moses went to receive the Law on top of Mount Sinai, the mountain quaked and trembled. The children of Israel were so frightened that they did not want to go near it. They did not want God to speak to them because they were sacred silly!
In these verses, Habakkuk pictures how God, through Moses delivered the children of Israel. God made a covenant with Abraham, and He made it good. God also made a covenant with Moses, stating that He would deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt's bondage. He made that covenant good too. He delivered them, just as He had said He would.
Mountains tremble with earthquakes, or seem to shake when thunders re-echo. Mountains are also signs, how that something that seems secure and solid, trembles at the very Presence of God. Whatever or whoever, is lifted up in stupid pride, shall be bowed down before Him (Pro.16:18; Zec.4:7). The mountains: (Hab.3:6; Ex.19:16-18; Judg.5:4-5; Ps.68:7-8; 77:18; 97:4-5; 114:4,6; Isa.64:1-2; Jer.4:23-24; Mic.1:4; Nah.1:5; Mat.27:51; Rev.6:14; 20:11).
The word "trembled" is especially used to refer to travail pangs, meaning pain, anguish or suffering coming from mental or physical hardship; also the pain of childbirth. It could also spiritually mean: "they who conceive the fear of God shall bring forth unto salvation."
The overflowing of the water passed by . . . this could refer to the overflowing of the Red Sea (Ex.14:22-28), and also the river Jordan (Josh.4:18,23-24), when the Israelites passed through it, when the waters above "shall stand upon an heap" (Josh.3:13,16-17).
This could also refer to the time of David, when he conquered all his enemies, who were like an overflowing flood; especially the Philistines, who had always been very troublesome to Israel, but now were overcome by David at Baalperazim; where the Lord, on the contrary, broke forth upon His enemies as the breach of waters, from whence the place had its name (2 Sam.5:20).
This could also refer to the time that was then to come, when this prayer was made, in regard to the flood of persecution, which ceased in Constantine's time, when Paganism was abolished, and Christianity was established; concerning which it might be said, "the winter is past, the rain is over and gone" (Song 2:11), and the word here used signifies a large shower of rain, causing an inundation, a storm, a tempest; and so fitly expresses the violence of persecution, now at an end. Winter is gone, spring is here: (Ecc.3:4,11; Isa.12:1-4; 40:2; 54:6-10; 60:1-2; Mat.5:4; Eph.5:8; Rev.11:15; 22:1-6,12-14).
"The overflowing" . . . is the sudden, sweeping, flow of the water or waters, that in themselves would pass by harmless, but the more they rise and swell, the more dangerous and violent they become. The force of persecution, that vexed God's people, at sight of Him passed away, like a violent torrent that rages and disappears, and by its raging, soon removes itself . . . symbolized by mighty people and nations, kings and great men, struck with terror at the amazing providence of God in the world, on the behalf of His own people, and against their enemies (Rev.6:14). The overflowing: (Ex.14:22-28; Josh.3:15-16; 4:18,23-24; Neh.9:11; Ps.18:15; 66:6; 74:13-15; 77:16-19; 114:3-8; 136:13-15; Isa.11:15-16; 63:11-13; Jer.47:2; Heb.11:29; Rev.16:12).
The deep uttered his voice, and lifted up hands on high . . . very beautiful, very poetical and very striking! It is usually understood to be the deep waters of the Red Sea or the Jordan, or both. When these waters divided for the Israelites to pass through; they made a great noise, and stood "on a heap" . . . as thought they had their hands lifted up to Almighty God! Every creature in Heaven, on the Earth and under the Earth, and in the sea, ascribed blessing, honor, glory and power to the Lord on this occasion yet to come (Rev.5:13). The deep: (Ps.65:13; 93:3; 96:11-13; 98:7-8; Isa.37:23; 40:26; 43:20; 55:12).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
Now we come to Joshua. It is quite clear that Joshua is in the background here, but the names of these men are not mentioned because the emphasis is upon the acts of Almighty God.
The sun and moon stood still in their habitation . . . this surely refers to that unique miracle in the times of Joshua (Josh.10:12-14). Did the sun and moon really stand still that day? Did the sun and moon Really withdraw? "In their habitation" could well mean within their tent or pavilion (Ps.19:4); which would mean their being encompassed and covered with clouds, which is just such a pavilion as God is said to be in: Psalms 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. (KJV) Habitation: (Ps.19:4; 97:2).
Sun and moon stood still . . . as they retired into in their habitation. They withdrew, as it were, in the midst of the great tempest (Josh.10:8-11), when God cast down great stones from Heaven upon His enemies and they died, as shall be in the future (Rev.8:7; 11:19; 16:21). Sun: (Josh.10:12-14; Isa.28:21; 38:8).
The sun too withdrew itself in the great darkness at the crucifixion (Mat.27:45; 15:33; Luke 23:44), as not being able to look upon the death of its Maker, when the majesty of the Sun of Righteousness was darkened that day.
Sun and moon shall also be withheld during Great Tribulation period: (Isa.13:10; 24:20-23; Jer.4:23-25,28; Eze.32:7; Dan.7:10; 12:1; Joel 2:30-31; Am.5:20; Zep.1:14-18; Mat.24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25-27; Acts 2:19-20; 2 Pet.3:10,12; Rev.6:12-14; 20:11).
There was no need of the sun by day, nor of the moon by night; for by the light of God's glory "shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory" (Isa.60:19). A wonderful Promise of the Most High! And too, the judgments of God are a light to His people, for in them they "learn righteousness" (Isa.26:9), yet they are utter destruction to His enemies. The arrows are God's judgments, as they threaten and wound from afar. "The shining of Thy glittering spear" . . . like lightning when close at hand. God's judgments can have a "waiting period" or they can be administered by Him immediately.
At the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear . . . many think this refers to the time when "the sun and moon stood still in their habitation" in Joshua's time. The arrows of the Almighty, and the lightning of His spear, is most likely hailstones mingled with fire, and thunder, and lightning, which the heathens call Jupiter's arrows (Acts 4:12-13; 19:35). Jupiter was a Roman god, and his worshippers considered lightning to be arrows from their god.
"At the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear" . . . meaning the shining of the sun was like a glittering spear. God's arrows: (Deut.32:23,42; 2 Sam.22:15; Josh.10:11; Job 6:4; 16:13; Ps.7:13; 18:12,14; 21:12; 38:2; 45:7; 64:7; 77:17-18; 144:5-6; Jer.50:25; Lam.2:4l; Eze.5:16; Zec.9:14).
Habakkuk 3:12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. (KJV)
Thou didst march through the land with indignation . . . not the land of Canaan, fighting against the inhabitants of it, dispossessing them to make room for the Israelites, whatever allusion may be to it; but the heathen land, the whole Roman jurisdiction, through which the Lord will march in His wrath and fury.
The word "march" is used of very solemn appearances of God (Judg.5:4; Ps.68:8). "Marching" CANNOT be done by idols (Isa.46:1,7; Jer.10:5). Only Almighty God will ever have victory over their enemies, NOT only in the land, as of old, but the entire Earth shall be the scene of His judgments! The Earth which was "full of His praise" (Hab.3:3,6). He "measured the Earth" which contained the nations whom He chastened. God's glory: (Ex.19:16-20; 20:18; 24:15-17; Deut.5:24; Ps.68:17; 114:3-7; Isa.6:3-4; 2 Cor.3:7-11; Rev.5:13-14).
Thou didst thresh the heathen in anger . . . because of the heathen customs and practices they have introduced into the Christian religion (Ps.10:16), these nations will be gathered together like sheaves of grain on a floor to be threshed. The Lord will separate His own people from them, which are like wheat, and utterly destroy them, as chaff and stubble (Isa.21:10; Joel 3:12-13; Mic.4:12; Zec.14:1-3; Mat.3:12; 13:29-30; Luke 3:17; Rev.14:14-20).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
Thou wentest forth for the salvation of that people, even for salvation with thine anointed . . . Thine Anointed is "Thy Messiah" and also Israel . . . the prophet speaks of God as marching on before His people. Some say it may refer to the ark, a token of God's Presence before the people (1 Ki.8:6; Rev.11:19).
The Son of God "God Invisible" became Man, "God Visible" . . . and WITH Him, the Holy Spirit went forth 'for the salvation of His people,' so as to give a visible sign of His Coming. For upon His Christ Himself, Him who was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38), the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily Shape, as a Dove (Mat.3:16; Mk.1:10; Luke 3:22; Jn.1:32) upon Christ Jesus at His baptism.
So He "went forth to the salvation of that people," . . . Christ came to save His people . . . the Messiah, the Christ, our Saviour! His Presence was clearly shown in "signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost" (Heb.2:4) and in the fact that God bare witness to the apostles when "they went forth, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mk.16:20). A coming judgment, at the end of the world, is foretold in the like image of warfare (Rev.17:14; 19:11).
"For the salvation" . . . to complete the salvation begun in bringing them out of Egypt, and carrying them through the wilderness, and to be finished in settling them in Canaan.
"Of the people" . . . Thy chosen people. "Even for salvation" . . . repeated to confirm, and to reveal to us the greatness of His mercy. "With thine anointed" . . . thine anointed is Israel.
Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked . . . (Gen.3:15) NOT the princes of the land of Canaan, NOT the first born of Pharaoh's family in Egypt, or him and his host at the Red sea, NOT Goliath of Gath, smitten by David, NOT Satan and his principalities and powers by Christ on the cross; but the Antichrist, "the man of sin" (2 Thes.2:3), that wicked and lawless one. Christ, will utterly consume and destroy this wicked one with the breath of His mouth, and the brightness of His coming (2 Thes.2:8; Rev.19:15-21).
"The house of the wicked" . . . the courts of these kings were places of the greatest and most immoral and vile wickedness, for which they were destroyed. Too much of this going on today as well.
"By discovering the foundation unto the neck" . . . when the foundations of their power was demolished, they were destroyed from head to toe. "Unto the neck" . . . imagine a flood reaching up to the neck (Isa.8:8; 30:28). God, by His righteous wrath, overflowing on the foe, caused their princes' necks to be trodden under foot by Israel's leaders (Josh.10:24; 11:8,12).
Selah: all which is to be heeded, and well minded. See verse 3 for "selah".
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages . . . "stave" = rod, staff, branch, arms, tribe. The destruction comes not only upon himself, but upon all of his subjects; and this not by an act of divine might, but "with his own staves," turning upon him the destruction which he prepared for others. So it often was in times of old.
When the Midianites and Amalekites and the children of the east (Judg.6:3-4) wasted Israel in the days of Gideon "the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host" (Judg.7:22); and when God delivered the Philistines into the hand of Jonathan (1 Sam.14:12,16,20), so it was with "Ammon Moab and the inhabitants of Mount Seir," at the prayer of Jehoshaphat and his army (2 Chron.20:22;23). And so it shall be, God says, at the end, of the army of God; "every man's sword shall be against his brother," (Eze.38:21). Isaiah says "every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm" (Isa.9:20). Zechariah says: "a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay every man hold on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor" (Zec.14:13).
Thou, O God, didst strike through with his staves . . . either the arms of the Canaanitish kings which they lifted up against Israel, thereby provoking Israel to fight, in which being overcome, they perished by their own arms taken from them; or it may be meant of the weapons of Joshua and Israel, called staves, for that they were arrows and spears, which are armed staves: or it might be translated tribes; so with the tribes of Israel, the tribes of God's anointed, or by them, were these Canaanites destroyed.
"The head of his villages" . . . all the cities, and all the unwalled towns; for so Israel destroyed the daughters with the mothers, the villages with the cities. The head: (Ex.11:4-7; 12:12-13,29-30; 14:17-18; Ps.78:50-51; 83:9-11).
They came out as a whirlwind to scatter me . . . it is common that mighty armies be compared to a whirlwind coming with great force, suddenly and swiftly (Jer.4:13), and especially it is said of the army of Gog which shall invade Judea, to dispossess the Jews of their land, when converted and returned to it. Ezekiel 38:9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. (KJV) . . . They will attempt to scatter the Jews again among the nations, as they have been.
"They" . . . the inhabitants of Canaan, but especially the five kings, of whose conspiracy you read Josh.10:1-43. "Came out as a whirlwind" . . . with violence on every side; a tempest made up of contrary winds and exhalations, moving as violently as irregularly. "To scatter" . . . to disperse and drive away.
Their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly . . . meaning the Jews, to strip them of all they had, to carry off their gold and silver, their cattle and their goods. This they thought they could easily accomplish, just as the powerful rich gets the mastery over the poor and ruins him, for there was none to help. All this they would do in a quiet and secret way, rejoicing at their results (Eze.38:9-12). They dreamed of nothing else but eating up God's people as they would eat bread. God's people are still hated today, the Jews and the Christians!
Just as Pharaoh's armies perished in the sea, and Israel was saved (Ex.14:28-31), and Daniel's accusers perished in the den of lions, and from which Daniel was delivered unharmed (Dan.6:24); and Haman was hanged on the gallows which he prepared for Mordecai (Est.7:10), we see God's awesome power at work!
God clearly states in His Holy Word that those who dig a pit, are most likely to fall into it themselves! (Ps.7:5; 9:15; 10:2; 35:8; 57:6; 94:23; 141:10; Pro.5:22; 26:27; Ecc.10:8).
Pharaoh said: Exodus 15:9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. (KJV) . . . It sure did NOT work out as he thought it would!
The prophet represents TRUE Israel, or ALL the people of Christ (Jn.1:12-13; 10:16; Rom.9:6-8; Gal.3:26-29).
Habakkuk 3:15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (KJV)
Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses . . . just as Almighty God walked through the Red sea in "a pillar of cloud and fire" (Neh.9:19), which were His horses and chariots, and destroyed the Egyptians . . . so too is He very capable of doing it again! I think the "sea" here is a symbol of a multitude of people. God Himself is pictured as leading them on the way, Himself at the head of their multitude (Isa.63:13; Zec.10:11). Waters = people: (Jer.47:2; Isa.5:30; 17:12; Rev.13:1; 17:15).
Through the heap of many waters . . . or "mud of many waters" or what lies at the bottom of them; which being walked through and trampled on by horses, is raised up, and "troubles" them. These "many waters" (Rev.17:1) are those on which the whore of Rome is said to sit; and which are interpreted of people, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Rev.17:15). The "heap" of them expresses the pollution and corruption of this false Roman church: her false doctrines, idolatry, superstition and immoralities.
Others say that this "through the heap" refers to the great waters as of old (Ex.15:8; Josh.3:14-17; Ps.78:13). Deliverance was in God's Hands; His and His alone! The Red Sea rose in heaps, providing a way for the salvation of His people and the destruction of their enemies that would not otherwise have been available. God ALWAYS prepares a way for His elect in this present evil world, and leads them on the narrow way which leadeth unto life. It is SO sad, that more do not go His way instead of the way of the world. God does warn us, SO often!
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV)
1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (KJV)
Psalms 73:24-25 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (KJV) . . . Great advice!
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
When I heard, my belly trembled . . . the prophet repeats and resumes the same declaration with which he had started, "I heard, I was afraid" (verse 2), but now he states more strongly his awe at God's judgments and his hopes. He had just been given an image of the destruction of Pharaoh, the end of the brief triumph of the wicked and of the terrible trials of God's people. But as awful as the judgments of God upon the enemies of His people were, it was not just this that made Habakkuk afraid, because that was deliverance. It was the 'whole' of God's dispensations which he had heard; God's punishment of His people for their sins, and the removal of their oppressors, who, when fulfilling their own evil end, executed God's chastisements upon themselves. My belly: (Ps.119:120; Jer.23:9; Eze.3:14; Dan.8:27; 10:8).
The deliverances seemed to cast a shadow on the future, for the whole course of this world is one continual series of man's disobedience or unfaithfulness . . . meaning SIN! God chastised His people through other fellow-sinners, who in God's eyes were worse than they.
"I heard" . . . the speech of God uttering judgments to come. "And my belly" . . . his whole insides, body and mind, quivered and trembled, at the wrath of God (Ps.119:120). OH! If only more would do so today! I heard: (Hab.1:5-11; 3:2).
My lips quivered at the voice . . . at the sound of God's Words, stating and foretelling the calamities to come. Through fear and dread, concern and amazement . . . Habakkuk is left trembling and quivering, especially his lips, so that they can hardly speak. How would YOU feel after such an occasion?
Rottenness entered into my bones . . . he became weak, no strength left, as if he had been sick with a bad disease. There were others who also lost all strength at the Lord's Presence!
- Ezekiel fell on his face (Eze.1:28)
- Daniel had similar reactions (Dan.8:18; 10:8-9,17-19)
- Peter, James and John fell on their face and were sore afraid (Mat.17:6)
- and the apostle Paul at his conversion (Acts 9:3-9)
- and the apostle John fell at His Feet as dead (Rev.1:17-18).
Up to this time, Habakkuk was weary and afraid, but now the prophet is carried, as it were, way over the troubles of this life and the decay of the grave . . . on to the sweetness of everlasting rest.
And I trembled in myself . . . within himself, in all his inward and outward parts, he was not able to stand upon the ground that was under him; his knees trembled.
That I might rest in the day of trouble . . . to me, "rest" would mean to settle down and wait patiently on the Lord, and it would mean to have "peace" within, instead of being afraid. It is here where the prophet states his strong faith and joy in the midst of all that he had seen. I think this refers to the church and all true believers. This "day of trouble" (Ps.50:15; Isa.22:5; Zep.1:15; Nah.1:7) is the same with "the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the Earth" (Rev.3:10), and "the great day of His wrath" (Rev.6:17) and "that day" (Luke 21:34-36) . . I think it means the Great Tribulation Period.
He who truly fears (reverence, respects, worships) God and His judgments, shall rest in perfect peace when judgments come. The immediate trouble was the fierce assault of the Chaldaeans whose terror Habakkuk had described; and this pictured all the other judgments of God . . . up to the last, when devils shall contend about the souls of people, as Satan did about the body of Moses (Jude 1:9).
The Great Tribulation shall be a time of great apostasy, and the demonic drug use shall be horrendous (Rev.16:10-14). We are headed there today at break-neck speed! So many souls are in the hands of devils today, because of drugs. So many people are slaves to their habit (Rev.18:13). It shall get worse! Much worse! BEWARE!!!
This time of the slaying of Christians, will be such a time of trouble as never was in the world before (Mat.24:21). The only "rest" the people of God will have then, will be in the Lord's protection and keeping of His people. His perfections, power and providence, are where rest and safety will be for them . . . in the shadow of His wings (Ps.91:1-10; 17:8), which will be their refuge (Ps.9:9; 46:1,7,11; 57:1; 62:7-8; 91:2; 94:22; Pro.14:26; Isa.25:4; Jer.16:19; Heb.6:18) until the calamities and fury be past. Many shall bear daily tortures from Satan's Antichrist in that horrid time, as they long endure a time that seems to be Hell itself, for ALL take a stand for Christ and who refuse to worship the Antichrist shall be killed.
All this will be going on as those true to God, would patiently wait that they would see Christ in His glory accompanied with His saints (Dan.7:18,22; Zec.14:5; 1 Thes.3:13; Rev.19:8,14). That would be worth enduring all sorrow, that they might be partakers such exceeding glory! One day the "saints" shall reign with Christ in Heaven (2 Tim.2:12; Rev.20:6). That I might rest: (Ps.91:15-16; 94:12-13; Isa.26:20-21; Jer.15:11; 45:3-5; Eze.9:4-6; 2 Thes.1:6-9).
When he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops . . . when Christ returns, it shall be a spectacular thing indeed! He shall remove all evil! He will: (Hab.1:6; Deut.28:49-52; 1 Ki.24:1-2; Jer.25:9-11).
Zechariah 14:3-4 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (KJV)
Revelation 19:11-21 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (KJV)
Christ is represented as a mighty warrior, marching at the head of His troops, the armies of Heaven following Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, who are the called, chosen, and faithful; and with these he will fall upon the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the earth, gathered together at Armageddon, and utterly destroy them! When Christ came the first time, He came as a humble Servant. BUT . . . when He comes the second time, He shall come as "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (verse 16) above!
Habakkuk 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: (KJV)
Although the fig tree shall not blossom . . . or shall not bring forth fruit. The fig tree was very common in the land of Canaan, its fruit was used for food (1 Sam.25:18); so when there was a scarcity of these, it was a bad time.
Neither shall fruit be in the vines . . . no grapes, no more big bunches to make wine, a liquor very refreshing and reviving to nature; and is said to cheer God and man (Judg.9:13), and it was used in sacrifices to God. So when it failed, it was a big thing.
The labour of the olive shall fail . . . it would disappoint those who planted and cultivated it after all the work they did to keep it, and its not producing fruit as expected. This tree produced good tasting fruits and out of which oil was extracted. The Jews used olive oil instead of butter, and for many things, so when it failed to fruit, it was a great loss.
And the fields shall yield no meat . . . the fields would produce no grass for their animals, and the grain fields produced no grain for man's table. The result of all this was a famine, very dismal and distressing.
The flock shall be cut off from the fold . . . flocks of sheep; either by the hand of God by some disease them; or by the hand of man, driven off by the enemy, or killed for their use. This left the sheep folds were empty.
And there shall be no herd in the stalls . . . no oxen in the stables, no calves in the stalls where they were kept to fatten. By all these are meant that all the necessaries of life, when they fail, make a famine, which is a very distressing case . . . yet, in the midst of all this, the prophet, expresses his faith and joy in the Lord, as in the following verse.
The "flock" being "cut off from the fold" could also mean that the "sheep of Christ" will be given up to the slaughter of the enemy, or be scattered abroad in the dark and cloudy day of persecution. In the Tribulation Period, there will be no fold, no flock, no sheep gathered together.
No "herd" or "oxen in the stall" may mean that the ministers of the Gospel, compared to oxen for their strength and hard work for the Lord, will be removed, or not be permitted to do their job. This will be quite the case at the slaying of the witnesses, and a most distressing time it will be; and yet the prophet, or the church represented by him, expresses an uncommon frame of spirit in the following verse.
Habakkuk says, "There will be no fruit on the trees, there will be no grapes, no olives, the livestock will be gone, no crops in the fields, and ALL of this will just be a part of the judgment of God."
Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (KJV)
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord . . . Habakkuk greatly rejoiced in the Lord! He rejoiced in the wondrous Word of the Lord and the Lord Jesus Christ; in His person, His greatness and His glory. He rejoiced in His offices as Prophet, Priest and Almighty King, and our only Mediator and Saviour. We too must rejoice in the Lord.
I will joy in the God of my salvation . . . Habakkuk looked forward to Christ (Messiah), and he rejoiced in Christ, who is Almighty God, and is SO very able to save His people. http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
We too must rejoice in everything that Christ did for lost souls, and His achieving salvation for us from an everlasting Hell. He suffered and died on the horrid cross so that we might live! Only Christ, the Jewish Messiah, can preserve and keep us safe to His Kingdom and glory! Those who would not joy in the God of our salvation are utter fools.
This salvation is special, and it is for ALL people (Jn.3:16-17), but the vast majority of people (Mat.7:13-14) reject it (Jn.3:18,36; 8:24; 1 Jn.5:10-13). The Plan of Salvation (JESUS: Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12 ) was decided and made possible by God the Father, long, long ago! IF a person refuses to believe God (1 Jn.5:10), God clearly states that Hell is where you shall go! The full extent of Gospel privileges, in their power and purity, are for ALL people!
Habakkuk says: "I will not only rejoice, but I will jump and shout for joy."
I will rejoice: (Ex.15:2; Deut.12:18; 1 Sam.2:1; Job 13:15-16; Ps.25:5; 27:1; 33:1; 46:1-5; 85:6; 97:12; 104:33-35; 118:14-55; 149:2; Isa.12:2; 41:16; 61:10; Mic.7:7-8; Zec.10:7; Lk.1:46-47; 2:30; Rom.5:2-3; Phil.4:4; Jam.1:2,9-10; 1 Pet.1:8; 4:12-13).
Habakkuk 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. (KJV)
The Lord God is my strength . . . Almighty God is the Author and Giver of all physical and spiritual strength. The prophet not only inwardly rejoices and praises God, he also confesses Him in words of praise. Habakkuk knows that in Him he has all things, and that He is All things in Him. The prophet not only confessed the Lord, he also confesses God the Holy Ghost (Rom.8:9-10; 15:19; Eph.1:17; 3:16,20; 6:10; Phil.4:13).
The Holy Spirit, Who is in us, and is our strength.
John 14:15-18 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (KJV)
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (KJV) . . . IF a person does not have the Holy Spirit abiding within them, they are NOT a Christian. The Bible says so.
My strength: (Ps.18:1-2; 27:1; 46:1; Isa.12:2; 45:24; Zec.10:12; 2 Cor.12:9-10; Eph.3:16; Phil.4:13; Col.1:11).
And he will make my feet like hinds' feet . . . "Hinds' feet" (gazelles) imply the swiftness with which God enables him (the prophet and his people) to escape from his enemies, and return to his native land. Hinds' feet leap high because of God's imparted strength, and when scared, they flee to their home grounds.
At the end of the world all shall fail, and the love of many shall wax cold (Mat.24:12), and the Church, which is likened to the fig tree, the vine and the olive tree (Lk.13:6; Isa.5:1; 21:33; Rom.11:17) shall yield no fruits, and sweetness shall be corrupted by vanities. The oil of mercy shall be dried up, lamps shall go out, and its promises shall fail and the "whore" (Rev.17:1) shall lie! 2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV) . . . This false Roman church (whore) confesses God with words . . . BUT her works deny Him!
Our feet should be swift to run, in a willing and cheerful manner, the way of Christ's commandments (Mat.7:12; 22:36-40; Jn..13:34; 14:15,21; 15:10,14,17), for our souls are strengthened, and our hearts bursting with the love and grace of God. No matter what difficulties and obstructions that lie in our way; the Spirit of Christ will strengthen and see us through! No TRUE Christian leaves this work totally in the hands of pastors, because ALL Christians are priests (1 Pet.2:5, 9-10; Rev.1:6; 5:10; 20:6). We must take the everlasting Gospel to all nations; so knowledge of it shall greatly increase (Dan.12:4). Maketh my feet: (Deut.32:13; 2 Sam.2:18; 22:34; Ps.18:33).
And he will make me to walk upon mine high places . . . the "high places" are called "mine," to imply that Israel SHALL be restored to her own land, a land of hills which are places of safety and of importance. The "high places" could also mean the exalted state of the church after the Great Tribulation, when it shall be exalted above the hills, and established on the top of the mountains . . . when Christ the Lamb, with His 144,000 sealed ones, shall stand upon Mount Zion (Rev.14:1-3), having gotten the victory over the Antichrist and his image.
The saints one day shall have the dominion of the world; and the kingdom and the greatness of it, under the whole heaven, shall be given to them (Rev.1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
Worship of God on Mount Zion: (Isa.2:2; Zec.14:16-21; Ob.1:17; Mal.1:11; Rom.14:17-18).
Israel's Land: http://www.hisservants.org/israel_promised_land_h_s.htm
To the chief singer on my stringed instruments . . . Habakkuk gave his written words (Hab.2:2) to the chief singer, to be sung by him, as were David's prayers, and others sometimes were, and to be preserved for future use. The prophet's words to God, to Whom all praise is due, was directed to the "chief singer" of his stringed instruments. Habakkuk really provides the teaching of an endless song of praise and thanksgiving, from deep within his soul, giving it to the man who would sing it aloud, "Glory to God in the Highest" (Ps.29:2; 95:6; 96:9; 99:5,9; Mat.4:10; Lk.2:14; Rev.4:20; 11:13; 14:7). This song of praise should last forever!
David's Psalms to the chief musician: (Psalms 4,5,6,8,9; 11-13; 18-22; 31; 36; 39-42; 45-47; 51-56; 59-62; 65-70; 75-77; 80, 81, 84, 85, 88, 109).
WHO is like God? (Hab.3:8; Ex.15:11; Deut.32:13; 33:26-29; Ps.18:10; 68:4,33-34; 86:8; 104:3; Isa.19:1; 40:18,25-26; 43:11-13; 48:21; 58:14; 66:8; Jer.10:6-7).
My dear friends, Judgment Day SHALL come . . . for one and all! According to the Bible, the next scheduled prophesied event shall be the Rapture. For more on the Rapture: http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_rapture,_second_coming.htm Yes! I know! The word "rapture" is not in the Bible! But, my friend, its doctrine certainly IS!
I hope you are not one of those who "mocks" its teaching! If so, you are a fool. Jude 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. (KJV)
1 Cor. 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)
Phil. 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (KJV)
2 Tim. 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (KJV)
2 Pet. 3:12-14 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (KJV)
Tit. 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (KJV)
Tit. 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (KJV)
Tit. 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (KJV)
I hope and pray that you are looking forward to "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." I hope and pray that you shall truly "love His appearing." I truly look to the day when my "vile body, . . . may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." Since we ALL are sinners (Rom.3:10,23), I look to THAT day when He comes in the clouds (1 Thes.4:13-18) to take His people out of here, before that Great Tribulation starts. And when He comes, in a blink of an eye, we shall be changed!
1 Cor. 15:51-54 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (KJV) . . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Book of Habakkuk
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