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©Clay Eldridge

Chapter 3:3-16 (ESV)

Posted on May 22, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 3:3-16 (ESV) - God came from Teman,
    and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His splendor covered the heavens,
    and the earth was full of his praise.
His brightness was like the light;
    rays flashed from his hand;
    and there he veiled his power.
Before him went pestilence,
    and plague followed at his heels.
He stood and measured the earth;
    he looked and shook the nations;
then the eternal mountains were scattered;
    the everlasting hills sank low.
    His were the everlasting ways.
I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
    the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
Was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord?
    Was your anger against the rivers,
    or your indignation against the sea,
when you rode on your horses,
    on your chariot of salvation?
You stripped the sheath from your bow,
    calling for many arrows. Selah
    You split the earth with rivers.
The mountains saw you and writhed;
    the raging waters swept on;
the deep gave forth its voice;
    it lifted its hands on high.
The sun and moon stood still in their place
    at the light of your arrows as they sped,
    at the flash of your glittering spear.
You marched through the earth in fury;
    you threshed the nations in anger.
You went out for the salvation of your people,
    for the salvation of your anointed.
You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,
    laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah
You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,
    who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,
    rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
You trampled the sea with your horses,
    the surging of mighty waters.

I hear, and my body trembles;
    my lips quiver at the sound;
rottenness enters into my bones;
    my legs tremble beneath me.
Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
    to come upon people who invade us.

Question to consider: Why did Habakkuk describe a montage of all of the judgments of God to deliver His people throughout history?

In the first part of the Psalm in yesterday’s study, Habakkuk had the people acknowledge that God’s judgment was coming and pray for the LORD to revive them during their time of exile and remember His mercy toward them.

The rest of the Psalm described the fury of God’s wrath against the nations. There were images from God’s wrath against Egypt with the plagues, His wrath against nations like Midian in the land of Canaan, and the sun and moon standing still as the LORD destroyed the Amorites. The throwing down of the eternal mountains and leveling of the hills could have been the destruction of the temples and high places of the nations in Canaan. It could also be a description of God’s wrath against the whole earth except for Noah and his family in the flood.

Singing of whether God’s wrath was against the rivers and the sea could have been a colorful way of speaking of the LORD parting the Red Sea and the River Jordan to let Israel cross in safety. It could also have been a description of the judgment against all of the nations “from the river to the sea” in delivering the land to Israel.

The whole point of this artistic description of the wrath of God in delivering His people was to recognize that now this wrath was to be turned upon Israel. The thought of it produced a statement of dread. Bodies tremble, lips quiver, and rottenness enters the bones of those who understood what was coming.

It was glorious to see the LORD destroy their enemies and bring to them salvation. However, it was terrifying to be on the receiving end of His wrath. This brings to mind the words of the writer of Hebrews, “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:28-31)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for bringing us so great a mercy and salvation in Christ. May we receive it with joy while it is still available to us and teach others to do the same. Amen.