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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 3:1-2 (ESV)

Posted on May 21, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 3:1-2 (ESV) - A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

O LORD, I have heard the report of you,
    and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
In the midst of the years revive it;
    in the midst of the years make it known;
    in wrath remember mercy.

Question to consider: What was the LORD’s work of revival that Habakkuk prayed to be “made known”?

After receiving his response from God concerning the judgment that was coming quickly upon Judah, Habakkuk readies the people of Israel with a Psalm. We don’t know the precise meaning of the ancient description “Shigionoth”, but the prevailing thought is that the term referred to a solemn dirge for the people to reflect on their sin.

It was not just Habakkuk expressing, “O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear.” It was a song that everyone was to sing so that all of Israel would realize deep in their hearts that the LORD’s judgment was upon them. The “work” being done by the LORD in their midst was to refine them in exile and bring them back to Him. 

Those who sang this Psalm and prayed for the LORD’s mercy received it. They were sustained in their exile, and Israel was not wiped out. After seventy years, they were brought back into the land and able to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. However, the ultimate mercy would come not after seventy years but seventy Sabbath years (seventy “sevens”). At this time, the LORD would come to Bethlehem and be made man. He would keep the entirety of the Law and then offer Himself as the pure and permanent sacrifice for sin. This would be the ultimate Jubilee— our sin debt to God would be forgiven.

I wish we knew more about Habakkuk. The fact that he was a watcher for Israel in the tower at least means he wasn’t entirely cast out from the assembly. It would be nice if his song was cherished and taken to heart by many, but if that were the case, I don’t think so many would have taken the king’s food or bowed to his statue in Babylon. There would be a remnant like Daniel and his friends: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, but they were not the norm.

Just as the LORD declared that exile from the land was the ultimate punishment for continued violation of the Law where they “shall rot away in [their] enemies' lands,” (Leviticus 26:39) He also made this promise to those who would confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, “I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 26:45)

The remnant who sang this Psalm of Habakkuk understood God to be, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:6-7a) Though the coming days would contain tremendous hardship, they could rest in knowing that the LORD would not abandon them.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You that You are merciful and gracious and overflowing with steadfast love and faithfulness. Thank You for sending Christ to keep the Law where we have failed, and who is now the author and perfecter of our faith. Amen.