Habakkuk 3:1-19 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Habakkuk's Prayer
Comments for Study 2

Habakkuk 3:1-19
Memory Verse: 2


I. Stand in Awe of the Lord (3:1-7)

>1. After receiving the Lord's answers what did Habakkuk do? (1, 19b)

* Habakkuk 3:1 "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth."

* Habakkuk 3:19b "For the director of music. On my stringed instruments."

* Habakkuk's prayer of praise is a song. Moses, Miriam, other people, and some of the Psalms are similar.

* The Lord God finishes his reply to the prophets with woes against idolatry. Verse 20 is the statement, "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." Since Jesus sent the Holy Slirit to dwell in his people as a comforter, guide, revealer of truth and life the temple is not needed for the Spirit dwells in us, his forgiven people. I am a member of the temple, a brick or some morter, or piece of wood or precious metal. I take time to be silent before him in meditation and prayer. Listening not talking to him.

Chapter 3 is Habakkuk prayer. He believes the Lord is coming to save his people. He accepts the hard word. He believes that God comes in glory, power, and magnificent.

This was fulfilled when Babylon and then centuries later Romn came to Judah. It will happen again when Jesus comes again.

Habakkuk remembered how the Lord did this while taking his people out of captivity in Egypt. Then God, "You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one." There is peace knowing God does rescue.

The prayer ends with, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." Accepting God's words, especially when they are a hard pill to swallow, brings peace and enables me to go about my day in joy.

The past year is full of things that make us question what God, our maker is doing similar to Habakkuk. My future is full of as much uncertainty. There is much to fret over. I can bring it all to the Lord God like Habakkuk and wait for his answers, peace, and joy, if I accept the sovereignty of God.

Etruscan lyre 1 temple

* See a picture of an Etruscan lyre from the first temple to the right. This woodcut portrays an Etruscan lyre dating from the First Temple period. It has what appears to be sound-holes and a floating bridge like that of a violin (rather than a fixed bridge), both of which would have improved the sound quality. Again, in this respect this lyre is similar to some (but not all) lyres we find in ancient Egypt. (from rakkav.com/biblemusic/pages/instruments.htm)

>What did he want to make known? (2)

* Habakkuk 3:2 "LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy."

* "LORD" -YHWH here is Hebrew, the covenant name of God.

* "I have heard of your fame" -Habakkuk is going to recall some of the great acts of grace that Lord has done in the past. Habakkuk realizes that what the Lord had said in chapters 1 and 2 about the near future of Judah was no different than what the Lord had done in the past and will do so again.

* "I stand in awe of your deeds" -A true revelation from the Lord brings us to awe.

* "Renew them in our day" -Habakkuk is asking the Lord to do in his day what he had done in the past. Habakkuk now agrees with what the Lord is about to do.

>What does "in wrath remember mercy" imply?

* "in wrath remember mercy" -The Lord's wrath is about to be unleashed on Judah. Babylon is going to come and punish Judah for its sins. Babylon is also sinful and will face the Lord's wrath in time. Though the Medo-Persian empire is not mentioned here, they are the ones who brought wrath to Babylon. Both Judah and Babylon are gonig to receive the rewards for their sins. At the same time, the Lord will keep a remnant to himself. The Lord will show grace to a few who repent during the time of wrath.

* Mercy is an act of kindness, compassion, or favor; something that gives evidence of divine favor; a blessing.

* Wrath is the Lord's divine punishment because of sin and rebellion. Paul states, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." (Rom. 1:18-19) Also, according to Revelations and other prophecies the wrath of God will be poured out on the whole earth just before Jesus comes again. In wrath the Lord will show mercy to anyone who repents during the wrath. Wrath is the Lord's final means to bring people to him.

>2. What was Habakkuk remembering in verse 3?

* Habakkuk 3:3 "God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth."

* "God" -God here in Hebrew is Eloah. The word Eloah is the singular (or dual) of Elohim and appears more than 70 times in the Tanakh, primarily in more poetic passages. The root-meaning of the word is unknown. It is generally thought that the same divine name is found in Arabic (Ilah as singular "a god", as opposed to Allah meaning "The God" or "God") and in Aramaic (Elah). In the Tanakh, the singular form is used in six places for heathen deities (e.g., 2 Chronicles 32:15; Daniel 11:37-8;), though in the majority of cases the name is used for the God of Israel. (from hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Eloha/eloha.html)

* "came from" -The tense is past. The covenant between the Lord God and Israel was established at Mount Sinai, south of Judah and Edom. After experiencing his grace and the law they traveled north. Some of the rebellious people were killed at Mount Sinai and as they traveled north. Others were spared, remaining in the covenant by grace. Habakkuk remembers this and sees it conforms to what the Lord had said to him in chapters 1 and 2.

* "Teman" -Teman is believed to be the capital city of Edom though Teman could also refer to an greater part of Edom where the city was located. Teman was south of Judah (Israel used Teman to refer to the south). A fortress mountain region called Seir protected it which was originally occupied by the Horites. Esau's descendants defeated the Horites (Gen. 36:8, 20; Deut. 2:12; Josh. 24:4) Petra was built on the site. Job's friend, Eliphaz was a Temanite. (Job 4:1)

* "the Holy One" -Holy One here in Hebrew is "Qadosh". NIV and KJV translates this the same here. Elsewhere in the Bible it is also translated God, saint, angel, sacred, and sanctuary. Holiness is one of the attributes of God. (The following is from hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Eloha/eloha.html) The idea of the holy (kadosh) implies differentiation: the realm of the holy is entirely set apart from the common, the habitual, or the profane. The holy is singular, awe-inspiring, even "terrible" or dreadful (see Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 68:35).

As the Holy One (hakkadosh), YHVH is utterly unique, distinct, sacred, and set apart as the only One of its kind. He alone is worthy of true worship and adoration, since He alone is utterly peerless, without rival, and stands in relation to the world as Creator and Lord. Yes, only the Lord is infinitely and eternally Other -- known to Himself as "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:15). To say that God is holy is to affirm that He is uniquely to be hallowed as utterly sacred.

* "Mount Paran" -Paran is the name of an unlocated mountain and a known desert. Mount Paran appears as a poetic parallel to Mount Sinai as the place of revelation. (Deuteronomy 33:2) If not the same place as Sinai, the location is not known. Hagar and Ishmael lived in the desert of Paran. (Genesis 21:21)

* "Selah" -A musical term of unknown meaning.

* "His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth." -At Mount Sinai. Also repeated when Jesus was born as the shepherds of Bethlehem testified. Such will be the case when Jesus comes again.

>How did the Lord reveal himself at that time? (4; Exo. 19:18-19)

* Habakkuk 3:4 "His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden."

* Exodus 19:18-19 "Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him."

* "His glory... His splendor" -The radiance of God. Light is said to emanate from God and that he is clothed in light. The descriptions of the Lord Jesus in Revelation include bright items. (Revelation 1:12-16) The same is said when he was changed on the mount of transfiguration. (Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2-3)

* Habakkuk's description of the Lord at Mount Sinai adds details nowhere else expressed. This has lead some scholars to beleive that Habakkuk actually saw the Lord, calling this a theophany experience.


* See a picture of the sunrise to the right.

>How will Jesus second coming be like this? (Ex. 19-20 with Hebrews 12:18-29; Joshua 5-6)

* Matthew 24:30-31 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

* Hebrews 12:18-29 "You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

* We can learn about Jesus' soon coming as King of kings and Lord of lords, when he will stand on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, by looking back to Israel being led out of Egypt to Mount Sinai. There they met the Lord God Almighty and he became their King. At Mount Sinai a trumpet blasted and the mountain shook and was ablaze with fire and smoke when the Lord descended onto the mountain in fire, and there was lightning and thunder. The Israelites could not approach the mountain because of their sins and needed to be consecrated and have their clothes washed. Moses was told, “Only when the ram's horn sounds a long blast may they go up to the mountain." (Exodus 19-20) Hebrews 12:18-29 tells us that Israel at Mount Sinai foreshadows Jesus' second coming.

* Jesus is the Lord God Almighty, the very one that Habakkuk was a prophet of.

>3. What divine punishment was before and after him? (5)

* Habakkuk 3:5 "Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps."

* Leviticus 26:23-25 "'If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands."

* Psalm 91:1-6 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday."

* Also Ezekiel 7:14-12:30.

* Egypt experienced plagues and pestilence when the Israelites were their slaves through the words of Moses and Aaron. Habakkuk would see these things happen to sinful Judah in his lifetime. The prophet Joel two hundred years before Habakkuk seen these things happen in his life. Joel saw them as a sign of the wrath to come just before and during Jesus' second coming. Revelation also records these things will happen to all the earth just before Jesus comes again. (Revelation 16:2)

>How did the earth respond to the Lord's coming?

* Habakkuk 3:6 "He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal."

* "He" -The Lord God.

* "stood and shook the earth" -The Lord stopped his approach and stood. The picture is the Lord personally standing on the earth and shaking it. When the Lord came upon Mount Sinai this happened. When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead there were earthquakes. (Matthew 27:54, 28:2) When Jesus will come again great earthquakes will shake the earth. (Revelation 6:12, 8:5, 11:13, 19, 16:18) The earth does not quake every time the Lord appears. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

* Isaiah 29:5-8 "But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with wind-storm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night-- as when a hungry man dreams that he is eating, but he awakens, and his hunger remains; as when a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking, but he awakens faint, with his thirst unquenched. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion."

* Ezekiel 38:18-23 "This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'"

* If the mountains and earth which stood for ages crumble when the Lord comes, how can man stand?

* "His ways are eternal" -Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His coming in power and glory is repeated.

>Who were Cushan and Midian? (Gen. 25:2, 37:28,36; Ex. 2:15; Num. 10:29-32, 25:1-18, 31:3; Jud. 6:3; and 2 Chron. 21:16)

* Habakkuk 3:7 "I saw the tents of Cushan in distress, the dwellings of Midian in anguish."

* "Cushan" -A tent-dwelling people Habakkuk saw as either experiencing God's wrath or most likely they saw his great power when he came on Mount Sinai. Moses wife was a Cushite. (Numbers 12:1) So it can we said that during the Exodus the Cushites were living in the area of Mount Sinai. The parallel with Midian makes people think of an Arabian tribe, possibly nomads. Some identify Cushan with Cush, either as a territory controlled by Cush or as an otherwise unknown kingdom of Cush on the north-east shore of the Gulf of Aqabah near Midian. This would account for Cushites near Arabs (2 Chronicles 21:16).

* "Midian" -Midian was the son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah (Genesis 25:2). Abraham sent him and his brothers away to the east, leading to the association of the Midianites with the children of the east (Judges 6:3). Midianites took Joseph to Egypt (Genesis 37:28,36). Since the caravan in the passage is described as Ishmaelite, it is possible that these two groups descended from Abraham had become interrelated. The Old Testament mentions the Midianites in widely scattered geographical locations, but their main homeland seems to be east of the Jordan and south of Edom. Later historians locate the land of Midian in north-western Arabia east of the Gulf of Aqabah. The people of Israel had both good and bad relationships with the Midianites. When Moses fled from Pharaoh, he went east to Midian (Exodus 2:15). Here he met Jethro (also called Reuel), the priest of Midian, and married his daughter. She is called a Cushite. (Numbers 12:1) During the wandering in the wilderness, Reuel'’s father-in-law Hobab served as a guide for the Israelites (Numbers 10:29-32). The Midianites are associated with the Moabites in seducing Israel into immorality and pagan worship at Baal-peor (Numbers 25:1-18). For this reason God commanded Moses to execute a war of vengeance against them (Numbers 31:3; compare Joshua 13:21). In the time of the judges the Midianites along with the Amalekites began to raid Israel using camels to strike swiftly over great distances. Gideon drove them out and killed their leaders (Judges 6-8). They never again threatened Israel; but Midian did harbor Solomon's enemy Hadad (1 Kings 11:18). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* These nations, seen here as the enemies of God feared the God of Israel. He brought Israel out of Egypt and let them to Mount Sinai which was in their territory. They heard and saw all that the Lord God did for them. (Exodus 2:15-16, 3:1, 4:19, 18:1, 23:27)

* Mount Sinai is in Midian, the homeland of Moses' father-in-law. Midian of Moses' time is in the land that is now north west Saudi Arabia. See a map by using the link above. Please note that the maps in most Bibles that show the traditional location of Mount Sinai are incorrect.

>How does this foreshadow Jesus' second coming? (Luke 21:10-11; Rev. 6:12-17)

* Luke 21:10-11 "Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

* Revelation 6:12-17 "I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

* Habakkuk's questions were answered when he realized that his Lord, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) We too can be assured when the soon to come wrath of God begins.

II. The Lord's Victory (3:8-13)


>4. What are the answers to the questions in verse 8?

* Habakkuk 3:8 "Were you angry with the rivers, O LORD? Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea when you rode with your horses and your victorious chariots?"

* The answer to all the questions is no. The Lord's wrath was not against the earth, but against the sinful, the unrepentant of the world. When the Lord pours out his wrath on the unrepentant, he is saving his people from them. Pharaoh who stubbornly refused to accept the Lord and obey is a symbol of the unrepentant.

* "horses... chariots" -The Lord is seen as a warrior coming to save the people, his kingdom. Pharaoh came after Israel with chariots, but the Lord came to Israel's defence with his chariot, the waters of the Red Sea.

>What events in Habakkuk's past are similar to verses 8 through 10? (Gen. 7:17-20; Exo. 15:7-8; Jos. 3:15-16)

* Habakkuk 3:9-10 "You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows. Selah. You split the earth with rivers; the mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by; the deep roared and lifted its waves on high."

* Genesis 7:17-20 "For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet."

* Exodus 15:7-8 "In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood firm like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea."

red sea parted

* See a drawing showing the Red Sea parted as Israel goes thru it to the right.

* Joshua 3:15-16 "Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho."

* Some scholars believe that Habakkuk might be referring to the flood, the Nile, the Red Sea, and the Jordan collectively. (Genesis 7:17-23, Exodus 7:20-24; 14:15-31, 15:3-5; Joshua 3:15-17)

* "bow" -The same word is used in Genesis referring to the rainbow. (Genesis 9:12-16)

* "arrows" -Lightning is sometimes seen as God's arrows.

* "you split the earth with rivers" -This would have happened during and after the flood and it happened when the Lord held back the Jordan when Israel crossed it to enter the promised land. (Joshua 3:13-17) This would not have been the splitting of the Red Sea because it is not a river.

* "torrents of water swept by" -not just a small amount. This would have happened during the flood and when the Red Sea washed over the Egyptian army.

* "the deep roared" -During the flood water came from the deep too. (Genesis 7:11-12)

* "lifted its waves on high" -The would have happened during the flood and when the Red Sea was parted. The Jordan River was at flood stage when Israel crossed it. During flood stage the Jordan is 5 to 15 feet (2 to 5 meters) deep and moves very quickly.

>How was the Exodus and the flood similar to when Jesus will come again? (Gen. 6:5-8; Matt. 24:36-41)

* Genesis 6:5-8 "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

* Matthew 24:36-41 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."

* After the flood the Lord promised not to judge the earth by flood. The next judgment will be by fire, when Jesus comes again.

* 2 Peter 3:3-10 "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. he Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare."

>5. What else happened when the Lord fights on behalf of his people? (11)

* Habakkuk 3:11 "Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear."

Sun Moon Earth Standing Still

* See a picture of the sun, moon, and earth standing still to the right.

* "Sun and moon stood still in the heavens" -This is not that they appeared to stand still, but they actually did. The Lord is Creator God and can do this. During the conquest of the promised land Joshua prayed the the sun stood still. (Joshua 10:12-14) During Hezekiah's reign the Lord caused the shadows to back up (earth turned backwards) as a sign to Hezekiah. (2 Kings 20:8-11)

* "at the glint of your flying arrows" -They are in awe of the Lord's power.

>When was the only time this happened? (Jos. 10:12-14)

* Joshua 10:12-14 "On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!"

* The sun and moon will be affected twice at the end of this age as signs to mankind. Before Jesus comes again the sun will be darkened and the moon turn red. Also, when he come the moon and sun will be darkened. (Isaiah 13:10, 24:23; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31, 3:15; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; Acts 2:20; Revelation 5:12, 6:12, 8:12)

>6. What does it mean to thresh the nations? (12; Matt. 3:11-12)

* Habakkuk 3:12 "In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations."

* Matthew 3:11-12 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

* Threshing is when the farmer beats the stalks on a flat rock to knock loose the gain. When all the grain is off the stalks are piled up and burned and the grain is gathered into the barn. The Bible describes the harvest of the earth using this as an analogy in many places.

Hand Threshing

* See a picture of women threshing wheat by hand to the right.

>What does Habakkuk call Israel? (13)

* Habakkuk 3:13 "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. Selah"

* "your people" -Two kinds of people exist in the world; those who are the Lord's people and those who are not. At any time a person can become one of God's people. Anyone can become one of God's people by accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord.

* "your anointed one" -Anointed one is one who is chosen by God. Those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord are anointed by the Holy Spirit.

>What else did the Lord do for them?

* "You came out to deliver" -The Lord punishes the unrepentant as he saves his people from their evil plots.

* "crushed the leader of the land of wickedness" -This happened to Pharaoh, the nations as Israel entered the promised land, and will happen when Jesus comes again.

* "stripped him from head to foot" -Humble the enemy.

* "Selah" -Shelah is also found in the Psalms. It is a musical phrase of forgotten meaning.

III. The Sovereign Lord is My Strength (3:14-19)

>7. What did the Lord do on behalf of his people? (14)

* Habakkuk 3:14 "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."

* Habakkuk is recall one of many battles the Lord fought on Israel's behalf from Pharaoh on through their history. Many times the Lord delivered his people. The Lord had told Habakkuk and other prophets before him that Babylon was going to defeat Judah. But in the end the Lord told Habakkuk in chapters 1 and 2 that he would "devour the wretches who were in hiding". Habakkuk's profession would require a belief that the Lord would restore Judah and/or a belief that at the day of judgment the Lord would defeat all the enemies of God.

>What does he recall again?

* Habakkuk 3:15 "You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters."

* This seems to be another recall of the same facts in verse 8.

>8. What was Habakkuk's response to the Lord's revelation when he accepted it? (16)

* Habakkuk 3:16 "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."

* "I heard and my heart pounded" -He heard from the Lord that Judah will be conquered.

* "my lips quivered at the sound" -Habakkuk accept what would happen and the revelation affected his being.

* "decay crept into my bones" -He felt dead.

* "my legs trembled" -Strength left him.

Deer Running and Leaping

>What would he do by faith?

* "Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us."

* "Yet" -He accepted Judah's punishment and anticipated Babylon's punishment.

* "I will wait patiently" -Habakkuk's confession of faith is astounding. He would personally undergo the attack of Babylon and yet wait patiently. Waiting is hard when trouble comes. I am now in a situation in my life like never before. Disaster has never been this close to me. Such situations test the faith more than never before.

* "the nation invading us" -He knew Babylon would invade Judah.

* Calvin wrote, "He who in time anticipates the wrath of God and is touched with fear, as soon as he hears that God the judge is at hand, provides for himself the most secure rest for the day of affliction."

>9. In spite of coming complete calamity what did Habakkuk confess? (17-18)

* Habakkuk 3:17-18 "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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

* Having faith in God and praise him when trouble comes is the passing of the test.

* Consider the twelve spies that Moses sent to spy out Canaan. (Numbers 13:1-24; Deuteronomy 1:22-25) Ten gave bad reports and two gave good reports. The two were Joshua and Caleb. (Numbers 13:30, 14:6-9) They did all they could to persuade Israel to take the promised land. Did the Lord save these two and Moses from wandering in the desert with the rest? No. They wandered in the desert, in hardship and trouble. They saw the ten die in the desert with the rest of their generation. Eventually Caleb and Joshua entered the promised land and received their portion. (Joshua 14:6-15, 19:49-51)

>10. How did the Lord bless Habakkuk after his confession of faith?

* Habakkuk 3:19 "The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments."

* The presence of the Lord is peace and that peace passes all understanding.