929.) Habakkuk 3

November 22, 2012

Habakkuk 3   (NIV)

Habakkuk’s Prayer

Habakkuk now prays to the Lord.  He had heard of the Lord’s dealings in the past with the enemies of His people; now he asks Him to revive His work by punishing His foes and saving his people.

–William MacDonald

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet.

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.

God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

The prophet pictures God marching forth against His foes, crushing them by His power and triumphing gloriously.

His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
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.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

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?
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.

Click  HERE  to read in Joshua 10 of the mighty miracle God worked in the sky to help Joshua win a battle.

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.

Click  HERE  to read the story of God marching the people through the Red Sea in Exodus 14.

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.

The literal is “I will jump for joy in the Lord; I will spin around for delight in God.”  Here is the hilarity of faith!–joy at its best with circumstances at their worst!  What a victory!  May it be ours!

–J. Sidlow Baxter

I CHOOSE to praise God for being God, no matter what my situation may be! 

I CHOOSE to bless him not just for his gifts to me every day, but for what he wisely withholds as well! 

I CHOOSE to take a moment today and thank him particularly for rescuing me from darkness and bringing me into the light through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

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.



“Yet Will I Praise Thee”  by Kent Henry.


New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
faith in a sovereign God.   http://www.damascusroadchurch.org/sermon-series-habakkuk
Joshua and the sun.    http://www.vineyardop.org/files/images/151230-custom.jpg
walls of water at the Red Sea.   http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/ascroll/moses_parting_the_red_sea.jpg
jump for joy.   http://images.psxextreme.com/wallpapers/ps3/jump_for_joy_910.jpg

928.) Habakkuk 2

November 21, 2012

Habakkuk 2   (NIV)

I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

Habakkuk retires to his watchtower to wait for the Lord’s answer.  He knew he needed to have some time alone to get God’s perspective. 

“They who watch for the providence of God will never lack the providence of God to watch for.”

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.

Habakkuk is a prophet of comfort who is to strengthen and support the people, to prevent them from despairing of the coming of Christ, however strangely things may go.  This is why he uses every device that can serve to keep strong in their hearts the faith in the promised Christ.  He says:  It is indeed true that because of the people’s sins the lands shall be destroyed by the king of Babylon.  But Christ and his kingdom shall not fail to come on that account.  On the contrary, the destroyer, the king of Babylon, shall have little good out of his conquest, for he too shall perish.  For it is God’s nature and work to help when there is need and to come in the midst of the proper season.

–Martin Luther

In order to accomplish exploits for God, you have to keep on believing and not give up. I dedicate this verse to all believers who are trusting the Lord for a particular thing that seems to have been delayed: “The vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3)

–Christine Darg

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright—
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—

In Hebrew, the important part of the verse has only three words: “the justified man,” “by his faith,” and “will live.” Every word in Habakkuk 2:4 is important, and the Lord quotes it three times in the New Testament just to bring out the fullness of the meaning

  • Romans 1:17 is the commentary on the justified man – “The just shall live by faith”
  • Hebrews 10:38 is the commentary on faith – “The just shall live by faith” 
  • Galatians 3:11 is the commentary on the Christian life – “The just shall live by faith” 

Before his bold declaration of the truth of the gospel, Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk.  As a monk he went on a pilgrimage to Rome and as he crossed the Alps he fell deathly ill.  As he lay sick he felt great turmoil, both physical and spiritual, and a verse that had previously touched him came to mind: The just will live by his faith, from Habakkuk 2:4.  When Luther recovered he went on to Rome and did the tourist things that all the pilgrims did.  One day he came to the church of Saint John’s Lateran, where there is a staircase (pictured above) said to be from Pilate’s judgment hall.  It was the custom of pilgrims to climb this staircase, but never on their feet — they painfully climbed a step at a time on their knees, saying prayers and kissing the steps where is was thought the blood of Jesus fell.  Luther came to this place and starting doing just as all the pilgrims, because the pope promised an indulgence to all who climbed the steps on their knees and said the prayers.  As he did this, Luther remembered the words from Habakkuk: The just will live by his faith.  It is said that when he remembered this he stopped, stood up, walked down and went straight home to Germany.  Some say the Reformation began on those stairs.

Luther wrote, “Before those words broke upon my mind I hated God and was angry with him because, not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he still further increased our torture by the gospel.  But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words — ‘The just shall live by faith!’ ‘The just shall live by faith!’ — then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God.”

–David Guzik

indeed, wine betrays him;
he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
and takes captive all the peoples.

Now five woes directed at the king of Babylon and similarly sinful people — aggressors (vs. 6-8), the greedy (vs. 9-11), the violent (vs. 12-14), the drunk (vs. 15-17), and the idolater (vs. 18-19).

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
setting his nest on high
to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

12 Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

15 Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors,
pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,
so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed!
The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,
and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
and your destruction of animals will terrify you.
For you have shed human blood;
you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.”

Through it all, the point is proven.  Habakkuk couldn’t understand why God would judge a sinful nation (Judah) by an even more sinful nation (Babylon).  Yet God reminds Habakkuk of His own wisdom and strength, and of His ultimate triumph over the wicked.  God knew that Babylon was filled with the proud, the greedy, the violent, the drunk, and the idolater — and the LORD knew how to deal with them all.

–David Guzik

20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.

I remember this verse from my earliest childhood.  We went to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Williams, Iowa, pop. 500 or so.  As Daddy parked the car at church on Sunday morning, Mother would lead the family (three daughters and one son) in saying this verse.  The Lord is in his holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before him.  We kids knew what we should do next:   quietly get out of the car and walk into church, quietly sit through the service on hard wooden pews (we were not allowed even to chew gum), and quietly return to the car.  It was a good plan.

And it is not my parents’ fault that it was so seldom truly successful!

(The picture above IS of St. Paul’s — Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia.)



“The vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come,
it will not be late.” 

We can trust the Lord to fulfill his promises!  “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Selah.  Click  HERE.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
live by faith.   http://gavinortlund.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/habakkuk-picture.jpg
verse 3.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_SzuAaPMa2qI/RvmvJGHpRSI/AAAAAAAABEU/xn-2YoVSOkw/s400/habakkuk+2+verse+3a.jpg
stairs of St. John Lateran.   http://www.romaviva.com/San-Giovanni-in-Laterano/scala-santa.jpg
Woe.   http://damancd.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/110224-woe.jpg
St. Paul’s Cathedral.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3239/3082509607_7f0f068c11.jpg

927.) Habakkuk 1

November 20, 2012

Habakkuk 1   (NIV)

The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.

We don’t know much about the prophet Habakkuk from any other book in the Bible. Since he prophesied the coming Babylonian army and its destruction of Judah, he prophesied some time before that invasion. Many think that Habakkuk ministered sometime during the reign of King Johoiakim, perhaps around the year 607 b.c.

It’s hard to say with certainty when Habakkuk prophesied. Since he speaks of God raising up the Babylonians (Habakkuk 1:6), we can guess that he wrote in the 25-year period between the time when Babylon conquered Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire (612 b.c.) and the time when Babylon conquered Jerusalem (587 b.c.).

We don’t know how old Habakkuk was when he gave this prophecy, but it is likely that he lived during the time of godly king Josiah (640 to 609 b.c.) and then gave this prophecy during the reign of one of Josiah’s successors. Habakkuk knew what it was like to live during a time of revival, and then to see God’s people and the nation slip into lethargy and sin. “Habakkuk had a problem. He had lived through a period of national revival followed by a period of spiritual decline.” (Boice)

–David Guzik

Habakkuk loved his nation, and he knew it was moving ever closer to the precipice of destruction by continuing to break the laws of God.  Therefore two anguished questions burst forth from his lips:  How long?  and  Why?

–Robert W. De Haan

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

How often we feel like Habakkuk!  “Lord, look at the mess my life/my church/my country/this world is in now!  So much is wrong!  What’s taking you so long?  Why don’t you come and help?”

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
9 they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.

God says, “Don’t worry.  I know what I will do to bring judgment and punishment where it is needed.  I will send the fierce and wicked Babylonians against Judah.”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?
My God, my Holy One, you will never die.
You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;
you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,
like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,
he catches them in his net,
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and burns incense to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net,
destroying nations without mercy?

But Habakkuk is not happy with God’s plans.  He is appalled that God would use an even more wicked nation, Babylon, against his own chosen people.  He argues, “Yes, God, the problem is bad, but your solution seems worse!”



For Habakkuk and all of us who want to see God working NOW! — a faith building song, asking God to work now in us.  John Waller and “Calling for a Flood.”  Click  HERE  to hear it.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
from frustration to faith.   http://www.gracechurchwi.org/images/logos/HabakkukGranite%20copy_1.jpg
How long?    http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/102510000/102517810.jpg
under control.   http://rlv.zcache.com/trust_me_all_under_control_magnets-p147841158269003951b2gru_400.jpg
What?    http://itsblackcurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/what-hi.png