Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like the hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. -Habakkuk 3:18-19
Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 3
In lesson #2, we studied how Habakkuk was in turmoil over the rebellious condition of his people and how it seemed to him that God was doing nothing about it. When God revealed His plans to chastise Judah, Habakkuk was even more perplexed. How could God use a grossly wicked people like the Chaldeans (Babylon) to bring judgment on sinful Judah? When the prophet had prayed for God’s help, this wasn’t at all what he had had in mind. Habakkuk was dismayed at those prospects.
Somehow, in the end, the prophet moved from despair and doubt, to faith and peace. But he also was moved from the fear of man to the fear of God. The third chapter of Habakkuk is a song-prayer extolling the awesome and fearful workings of Almighty God (Hab.3:3-16) and ending with a tremendous acclamation of faith and security in Yahweh’s goodness and mercy (Hab. 3:17-19). We should note that as the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom, so it is also the basis for belief and trust in God. If we recognize with Habakkuk the awesome and holy nature of the Lord, then how can we do anything else but praise Him?
Shelved between Habakkuk’s doubt in chapter one, and Habakkuk’s song of faith in chapter three, are God’s pronouncements of woe upon those who live in greed and covetousness. These words not only applied to Judah and the Chaldeans who were both living in rebellion to God but may be applied indirectly to the self-centered wickedness of today. Before any significant salvation work can begin, men must be shown they are lost and in need of a savior. The Bible clearly states that the way of salvation is by way of faith! We who are trapped in our lost state can certainly not of ourselves begin to live righteously! We must trust in Jesus the Savior. Through Him we can be saved from spiritual calamity.
- What was Habakkuk’s initial prayer request? Hab. 3:1-2.
- Describe the awesome activity of God that Habakkuk sings of in this prayer. Hab. 3:3-12.
- Why was God going forth to destroy? Hab. 3:13-15.
- What effect does witnessing God’s awesome judgments have upon the prophet? Hab. 3:16.
- In contrast to his first prayer in Hab. 1:1-4, what is Habakkuk’s final response of faith to the calamity that would come to Judah? Hab.3:17-18; Isaiah 41:14-17.
- What great personal declaration of faith ends Habakkuk’s prayer? Hab.3:19; Psalm 18:1-3.
- What did Isaiah reveal would be the thankful prayer of those delivered from their rebellion and sin? Isaiah 12:1-3.
- What will the backsliders tell the world when they are delivered? Isaiah 12:4-6; Psalm 45:1-9.
In his book, Purpose in Prayer, E.M. Bounds* makes this astute observation: “Holy men have, in the past, changed the whole force of affairs, revolutionized character and country by prayer. And such achievements are still possible to us. The power is only wanting to be used. Prayer is but the expression of faith… Prayer honors God; it dishonors self. It is man’s plea of weakness, ignorance, want. A plea which heaven cannot disregard. God delights to have us pray.”
Unless we would squander our faith, we must become people who pray. As faith is expressed through prayer, even greater faith will be the result. But faith in God that remains silent is a faith likely to be choked.
*Purpose in Prayer, E.M. Bounds, [Westwood, NJ: The Christian Library edition, copyright 1984], pg. 41