Habakkuk – Chapter 3 – Song

In our study of the book of Habakkuk, we’ve come to the last three verses of the last chapter. You’ll remember that chapter three is a prayer that Habakkuk offers up in response to hearing the Word of God. It is important to keep in the forefront of our thinking that the prophet has just been told by God that He will punish His people using the Chaldeans, and then will turn around and punish the Chaldeans for being violent against His people. Seem unfair? Well, it’s not at all unfair of God. The Chaldeans had established themselves as enemies of God through pagan worship and unjust violence against various people groups long before God used them to punish the Southern Kingdom. Remember that God is sovereign and God is just.

Habakkuk 3:17- 19

 

          17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,

   Nor fruit be on the vines;

   Though the labor of the olive may fail,

   And the fields yield no food;

   Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

   And there be no herd in the stalls—

          18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

   I will joy in the God of my salvation.

          19 The Lord God is my strength;

   He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

   And He will make me walk on my high hills.

 

To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

 

Before we start making observations in verses seventeen through nineteen it would be wise to consult the near context (verse 16) to gain an understanding of the atmosphere in which these three verses were constructed.

Habakkuk 3:16

          16 When I heard, my body trembled;

   My lips quivered at the voice;

   Rottenness entered my bones;

   And I trembled in myself,

   That I might rest in the day of trouble.

   When he comes up to the people,

   He will invade them with his troops.

 

Notice the last sentence in verse sixteen? Habakkuk is very much aware of the impending foreign invasion because he believes what God has told him. You might say that verses seventeen through nineteen are Habakkuk’s declaration of faith.

As a quick aside, these few verses are written in the Hebrew poetic form call synthetic parallelism, which to me is the first indication that this prayer was meant to be sung. The last sentence in the book of Habakkuk removes all doubt that this prayer was indeed put to music, “To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”.

Knowing the destroying Chaldeans are on their way Habakkuk has resolved in his heart that he, “…will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation…”

This determination to rejoice in the Lord (Yahweh), to recognize God as the God of his salvation, is in spite of the fact that all Habakkuk will see around him is destruction. This destruction is widespread. The fig tree doesn’t produce, no oil harvest, no food harvest and no flock in the field for food or sacrifice.

Habakkuk is not working up some faith formula here. The prophet has heard from the covenant God and trusted Him. He makes a powerful declaration in verse nineteen.

Habakkuk 3:19

          19 The Lord God is my strength;

   He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

   And He will make me walk on my high hills.

 

I don’t know about you, but often in my life, I can be derailed when trials come my way. It is sometimes easier to wring my hands, complain, and look to my own abilities to solve my problems than it is to pray.

What if our response was one of worship instead of fear?

 

All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

 


1 Reply to "Habakkuk - Chapter 3 - Song"

  • Roger Streifel
    June 25, 2019 (12:38 pm)
    Reply

    Wow! It would still be tough to have a positive demeanor even if he heard it from the Lord and knew the glory that will evolve afterwards.

    Your closing paragraph really had meaning to me yesterday. I was so frustrated and couldn’t focus at all because of a mess up in my work schedule. It all got worked out and in addition, I got a permanent change in my schedule that I requested included that greatly benefits me. However, during that entire time, I really only put a few seconds of prayer into the matter and did not wait and rely on the Lord.


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