The power of God on behalf of His peopleAs David introduced this chapter on Friday, we now get to the heart of what I would describe as, the psalm of Habakkuk.
3 God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.
4 His splendour was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
5 Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
6 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 for ever.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
8 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?
9 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.
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.
The Habakkuk’s story so far could be summed up by firstly the cry of injustice by this prophet or possibly he could be better described as an intercessor. This is followed by God’s response, which must have come as a surprise to Habakkuk; God was going to use the Babylonians as his instrument of judgement. Now we find that, probably after some soul searching, Habakkuk is brought to a place where he praises God and accepts on behalf of the people, God’s response.
To me, this shows inspirational spiritual maturity, and is an example to follow. He has come to the point of recognising many great truths about our God and Father. He knows that God is fully aware of injustice, but his merciful timing is sovereign, and we should trust him to know better, for he is in complete control. Although the Babylonians probably thought they were powerful and unstoppable, they were merely a puny pawn in God’s plan.
So, looking at the content of this psalm of praise, we see that God has many splendid and awesome attributes. In particular, Habakkuk points out the various and many ways God can deliver judgement. He specifically mentions plague and pestilence (v5), one which makes me sit up and ponder in our virus ravaged world; recognisable weapons of war including chariots, bows and arrows and spears. Also, the more supernatural like earthquakes, landsides (v6), floods (v9) and lightening (v11).
Like Habakkuk we should not side with those in Cushan and Midian. If we have aligned ourselves with our commander-in-chief Jesus, we are on the winning side, and should not be in distress or anguish.
When Habakkuk prayed to God, initially he was surprised at the response, but was brought to the point of acceptance which led him to praise God for just who he is. The thought for today is best put by St. Paul (Rom 8:31), “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
You are a truly magnificent God. The universe declares it, and so do we.
Yet we see many things in our world today which bring us anguish; such as poverty, disease and injustice. Summon your power O God, and help us to trust you to perform your mighty deeds. Bring us to the point where we recognise our humble part in your eternal plan, and draw us to a place of peace.
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Tomorrow’s Reading: Habakkuk 3:16-18