Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-19

Chapter 3

Now in chapter 3 it is a psalm, it is,

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

Now about the seventh psalm or so, I think it is upon the Shiggaion, which is the same thing, and it is with loud crying. So this is to be read with loud crying. I'm not gonna try it, but this is the prayer of Habakkuk, no doubt, prayed with loud crying; a lamentation sort of like Jeremiah. He said,

O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid ( Habakkuk 3:2 ):

"Lord, I've heard what you told me You're gonna do, and it's frightened me. You told me You're gonna use the Babylonians as Your whip, as Your instrument to thresh Your people. But, God, that frightens me."

But, O Lord, revive thy work ( Habakkuk 3:2 )

The word revive literally means "keep alive thy work."

in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy ( Habakkuk 3:2 ).

Basically, the prophet is saying, "God, I cried unto You and told You my complaint that You weren't doing anything. And You told me You were doing something, and I don't understand what You're doing, but Lord, just keep doing it. I'm fearful for what I heard, but Lord, keep doing it. Keep working, Lord. Keep alive Thy work, but don't forget to be merciful in the midst of the years, and in Your wrath remember mercy."

Now he describes how that

God came from Teman ( Habakkuk 3:3 ),

That is, from the area of the Edomites.

the Holy One from mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens ( Habakkuk 3:3 ),

Now he's going into glorious prophetic description of the coming again of Jesus Christ. As He comes, He'll be coming from the area of south and east from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. "As lightning shineth out of the east to the west so shall the coming of the Son of man be." Isaiah said, "Who is this with His robes dyed red and from Bozrah with the robes that are dipped in blood" ( Isaiah 63:1 ), and so forth. So coming. The brightness was as the light; His glory first of all covered the heavens,

and the earth was full of his praise ( Habakkuk 3:3 ).

Oh, I can hardly wait.

His brightness was as the light; and he had horns coming out of his hands ( Habakkuk 3:4 ):

Or radiations coming out of His hands. Have you ever seen where the sun beyond the clouds radiates on up above, and this is the same idea in the Hebrew. The radiations coming forth, the brightness of the light, and out of His hands these radiations.

and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence ( Habakkuk 3:4-5 ),

That is, the Great Tribulation that will precede His coming.

and the burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, and the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting ( Habakkuk 3:4-6 ).

Read in the book of Revelation of the great cataclysmic judgment and the changes that are coming upon the earth during the Great Tribulation period prior to the return of Jesus Christ. For every mountain and every island will flee. The ocean beds will be changed. Tremendous cataclysmic changes are gonna take place upon the surface of the earth prior to the return of the Lord and the great judgment of God.

I saw the tents of Cushan [that would be Ethiopia] in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian [that would be Saudi Arabia] did tremble. Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thy anger against the rivers? was thine anger against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thy horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. 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. The sun and the moon stood still on their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation ( Habakkuk 3:7-12 ),

Indignation is a word in the Old Testament that is commonly used for the period of the Great Tribulation of the New Testament.

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

Who did He thresh? The church, His children, His people? No. That's inconsistent with God. The great judgment is directed against the heathen, not against God's people.

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for the salvation with thine anointed;

You see, indignation and His wrath upon the heathen. But for His people, salvation; that is, deliverance.

thou woundest the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Thou did 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. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, and through the heap of great waters. 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 3:13-16 ).

The great day of the wrath of the Almighty God as He, with indignation, smites the heathen, and as described here by Habakkuk, but then in the midst of all of this, the great desolation that will take place as the result of God's judgment coming upon the earth. The prophet declares, because he is a man of faith,

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls ( Habakkuk 3:17 ):

We are told that during the period of the Great Tribulation that there's going to be a severe famine throughout the earth. You talk about inflation. A measure of wheat, about a quart of wheat, will be sold for a day's wages. You that are putting your money in gold and silver, the Bible warns you against that. So if you bought in gold at $8.50 and you're weeping and howling, just know that James said, "Go to that weep and howl, for the miseries that have come upon you, for you've laid up your treasures for the last days, but your gold and silver is cankered." You know you can't eat it. Hey, put... you know, if you want to invest and be the richest man in the Tribulation, put your money in wheat; future's in wheat. You can be the richest man in the Tribulation, if riches are your desire. Better to just put your trust in Jesus and lay up for yourself treasures in heaven and escape the Great Tribulation. But there will be a time of tremendous famine that is coming upon the earth.

Can you imagine what will be done to the agriculture of the earth if we, say, have a major nuclear war between the United States and Russia? With all of the strontium-90 fall out, it would so poison all of the crops, all of the food as to make them inedible. Even the milk, because the cows eating the grass, and the grains and so forth would be getting the strontium-90. Those that were dissolved in the heat of the epicenter would be much better off than those who survived the initial blast, only to starve to death later or to be killed as someone is trying to take away the food that they've stored fifty feet underground to keep it from being radiated. Oh, I'll tell you, the scenario of the aftermath of an atomic war would be so horrible, I pray that God will have mercy upon me and let one of those bombs go off directly overhead if there is to be such a confrontation by and among men. I don't understand the mentality that is trying to survive an atomic holocaust. I have no desire to, if man gets that far, I have no desire to survive it. I'm too old.

Now the prophet has been talking about this great day of indignation, judgment. And although the fig tree shall not blossom, no fruit in the vines, no olives in the olive trees, no grain fields, no flocks, no herds. Yet, in spite of all of this,

I will rejoice in the LORD ( Habakkuk 3:18 ),

The word rejoice in the Hebrew is literally "leap for joy." As North Carolina did the other night after winning the NCAA championships. Did you see those guys? Man! What leaping for joy. What spinning around.

I will joy in the God of my salvation ( Habakkuk 3:18 ).

That word joy is a Hebrew word giyl, which is to spin around under the influence of a great emotion such as joy. I'll jump for joy in the Lord. I'll spin around in the God of my salvation. Not jump for joy because of the famine, because of the desolation.

There is, again, something wrong with the teaching that you're supposed to thank God for everything. You can thank God in everything, but you can't thank Him for everything. There's a vast difference. I, many times, weep over the situations, though I still joy in the Lord. It's only as I keep the right perspective, and keep my eyes upon the Lord, and realize His eternal plan and program that I can rejoice. As I look around at the world, I weep. But when I look at God's eternal plan and realize it's not gonna be long, I rejoice, I jump for joy. I spin around when I think of the Lord coming again, and the glory of the Lord, the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covering the earth, as the waters cover the sea. Oh, I can spin around and rejoice in that. Though I have a very difficult time dealing with the current social issues of our day with any kind of joy, or gladness, or happiness.

The LORD God is my strength ( Habakkuk 3:19 ),

Oh, what a glorious declaration to be able to make, "God is my strength." I feel sorry for those people who are trusting in their own strength, in their own abilities. Because always, always your strength is limited and has its point of limitations. Where you've expended your strength to its fullest extent. Then what? But when the Lord is my strength, there's no end. How glorious. The Lord God is my strength.

and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, [like the deer's feet, like the goats] and make me to walk upon mine high places ( Habakkuk 3:19 ).

Then he addresses this psalm.

To the chief singer on my stringed instruments ( Habakkuk 3:19 ).

So it was set out in Hebrew poem form, and was to be sung with a cry using the stringed instruments as a background. But yet, one of the most glorious declarations of the coming again of the Lord that we find in the Old Testament. Of course, in the New Testament unfolded even in a greater measure, but from the Old Testament one of the most beautiful passages speaking of the glorious coming of God in power to rule the earth.

Shall we pray.

Father, again we thank You for Your purposes and Your plans, and that Your thoughts towards us are good, and not evil. Thoughts of peace that You will bring us to Your expected end. Lord, help us as we wait for Thee. And as we tarry, God, we look at the world, and we realize the pollution, the unrighteousness that seems to prevail, even the conditions as described by Habakkuk. As the other prophet who cried, "Lord, the righteous man ceaseth in the land." And it would seem that the forces and the tide of evil is so strong, so powerful, so overwhelming, there is no stopping, not even a slowing down. Oh, Lord Jesus, how we long for Thy kingdom to come, and Thy will to be done in this earth even as it is in heaven. How we long, Lord, to see righteousness cover the earth, and the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to cover the earth. Haste the day, Father. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, is our prayer tonight. Amen.

May the Lord be with you, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week. May His hand just rest upon your life in a very special way. May your faith in God be increased. May the Lord help you, as with those men of faith, to endure because you can see actually what others cannot see, that eternal plan and purpose of God. May God bring you into harmony with His purposes for your life as you walk with Him this week. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Habakkuk 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.