The God of Salvation
God, meet me in the middle of my life situation and teach me something I might not have realized before.
Read: HABAKKUK 3:1–19
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.
2 Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.
4 His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
5 Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
6 He stood, and shook the earth;
he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
and the age-old hills collapsed—
but he marches on forever.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
8 Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
when you rode your horses
and your chariots to victory?
9 You uncovered your bow,
you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10 the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
the deep roared
and lifted its waves on high.
11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
at the glint of your flying arrows,
at the lightning of your flashing spear.
12 In wrath you strode through the earth
and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
churning the great waters.
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
Reflect: HABAKKUK LOOKS BACK UPON GOD’S DEEDS. AS CHRISTIANS, WHERE DO WE LOOK BACK TO AND HOW DOES IT STRENGTHEN US?
Having heard God’s answer to his questions, how will Habakkuk respond? In reality the situation is still as bad as ever, but something has happened in the process of engaging with the Lord, and Habakkuk turns to prayer—in a song, written for “stringed instruments” (19). What does Habakkuk sing about?
He begins by asking for God’s intervention (1,2), but the bulk of the song is taken up with recalling God’s mighty deeds. God has intervened in the past (the poetic language in verses 3–15 is reminiscent of the Exodus from Egypt), and he can do so again. Finally, Habakkuk sings of trusting in God’s salvation, resolving to wait for the Lord to bring about the judgment he has promised (16) and to rejoice meanwhile, no matter what happens, in the God who is his Savior (18).
Many of us look back and wonder how we would have coped if God had not been with us to sustain us. We can make Habakkuk’s song our own, trusting that the sovereign Lord loves us and is with us—not necessarily to remove us from times of
trouble and testing, but to give us a strength we would not have otherwise.
Use Habakkuk 3:2 to pray concerning a conviction about God’s work, a call for God’s action and a cry for God’s mercy.
“I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength” (18,19).