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Habakkuk Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

Shigionoth. “Shigionoth” refers to a distinctive type of music, sung in a spirit of victory and excitement. Habakkuk's book is the most poetic of all the prophets, and this last chapter is an actual psalm.

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.

was afraid. This psalm, designed to be sung as a prayer hymn, seeks both to review God's works of old for His people, as a means of encouraging them in relation to the troubles that were coming, and also to assure that God's ancient promises will surely be fulfilled.

revive thy work. Although God's warnings surely were enough to make them afraid, Habakkuk and the people could still pray for revival and for God to be merciful even in His wrath against their sins.

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.

Teman. “Teman” is synonymous with the land of Edom, and “Paran” is in the adjacent Sinai wilderness. Habakkuk here refers partially to God's leading His people in their Exodus from Egypt, with the veiled revelation of His glory on Mount Sinai. However, the dramatic events described following the “Selah” pause did not take place at that time. Its literal fulfillment must be at His glorious coming following the great tribulation of the end-times. It seems that Habakkuk's prophetic vision, on which his psalm was based, contained a blending of both God's past miraculous deliverances of His people and also the future deliverances of which these had been a type.

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.

as the light. Compare Revelation 1:16; 21:23. In the vision of Christ in His glory, John saw “in His right hand seven stars” radiating their light; the “horns” or “rays” coming out of His hand in Habakkuk's vision may correspond to these.

Habakkuk 3:5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.

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.

measured the earth. This scene is similar to that in Revelation 10:2: “He set His right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth,” claiming the world as His possession. The judgments on the nations, the scattering of the everlasting mountains and perpetual hills—such things may have been prefigured by the events at the Exodus, but their literal occurrence is yet future (e.g., Revelation 6:12-17).

Habakkuk 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

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?

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.

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.

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.

stood still. See Joshua 10:12-14. When “the sun stood still, and the moon stayed ... about a whole day ... the Lord fought for Israel.” There has never been another day like that in all history, but in the new earth, “the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon: for ... there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:23; 22:5). The sun and the moon will still exist, however, and there will even be months measured in the holy city (Revelation 22:2).

Habakkuk 3:12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.

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.

thine anointed. “Thine anointed” is referring to “Thy Messiah” or “thy Christ.” This passage surely must refer to the return of Christ in glory “for the salvation of thy people.”

the head. The phrase, “head out of the house of the wicked,” if taken literally must refer to the coming Man of Sin who will rule over all nations for a brief time in the last days. Even more directly, it seems to refer to Satan, who will energize and indwell the Man of Sin. When Christ returns, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4). “Then shall that Wicked [One] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). He shall fatally “bruise thy head,” as God told Satan long ago in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15).

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.

Habakkuk 3:15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.

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.

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:

Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Yet I will rejoice. The scene here returns to the desolate years just ahead, during the coming exile. In view of God's glorious promises for the future, however, there is always cause for rejoicing in the Lord.

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.