In our recent blogs, we have been looking at Habakkuk’s conversation with God regarding what he first perceived as God’s ignoring the evil in Judah in his day and then his response when God told him that He was going to use the Babylonians to judge Judah. The third chapter of Habakkuk is really Habakkuk’s prayer of surrender, following God telling Habakkuk how He was going to discipline Judah. We read beginning in verse two, “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden”, (Hab.3:2-4 NIV). In this prayer, Habakkuk reflects on what it means to live as a person of faith. He has had this amazing conversation with God, which to put it mildly, didn’t go the way he thought it would. But now he lays his heart before God, overwhelmed and overpowered by the sense of the majesty before of Him to whom he spoke. Anytime we have a fresh vision of God or word from God, it will leave us in awe and amazement at God’s majesty and omnipotence that the great God of the universe cares for us. This prayer, which is also likely a song, is a recognition in the prophet of his complete reliance on God’s faithfulness.
In this little section, we read Habakkuk’s reviewing several of God’s attributes. The prophet was brought to submission to God’s plan as he listened in awe and majesty of the one who was speaking with him. He reminds God of his mercy even as he is discussing God’s wrath – “in wrath remember mercy”. Mercy is God withholding from us what we deserve from God’s justice. Mercy speaks of God’s deep inner feeling of compassion and pity for fallen sinners. The prophet calls on God to remember and exhibit the merciful side of his character even as God is bringing judgment. He reminds God of His forgiveness in the past in His merciful dealings with the nation of Israel.
In verses three and four we see Habakkuk describing God in the language of a theophany. The approach and arrival of deity in terms of the extraordinary natural phenomena that accompanies God’s appearance. Holiness in God is not a quality, but rather His essence, He is eminently, essentially, and constantly holy. In His appearance here we see God as totally separated from sin. Habakkuk describes the incredible glory of God and the wonders of His power and majesty. The universe belongs to God and His fingerprints are present everywhere. All of creation shows us the marks of deliberate wisdom and unimaginable strength. The prophet came away from his dialogue with God with a very clear vision of the power and glory of the true and living God.
As I am writing my blog this morning, I’m in the beginning stages of needing to have my right knee replaced, sometime later in the spring. Following this knee replacement surgery, I will be in the very uncomfortable process of physical therapy. While physical therapy is not a pleasant experience it is very needful if I am going to experience full recovery and mobility in my right knee. Sometimes God has to allow difficult things into our lives so as to bring us to a place of recognizing our deep need for Him. The prophet had received word from God which he wasn’t very happy about. Yet in his prayer throughout Habakkuk 3 he surrenders to God’s will and leading. Revival always begins with God’s people getting right with Him. The Lord Jesus Christ has made a way of salvation for us, but we need a clear vision of what He would have us to do for Him as we enter this time of building our church together. The prophet Habakkuk bowed before God with a sense of humility, repentance, and brokenness of heart. If we are to truly see revival in our day then these are things that we too need to see happen in the church of Jesus Christ.
There is something about pain that helps us gain a perspective on what God’s desire is for our hearts and lives and to bring about wholeness and spiritual health as He corrects us. When Habakkuk prayed out of his confusion, God didn’t change His plan of judgment on Judah, but what He did change was the heart of Habakkuk. If we come to God with our brokenness, knowing that we don’t understand all of God’s ways and means, but trusting in Him and calling out to Him He will show up and touch our lives with His healing power and care. As I am planning on having this knee surgery to relieve the significant pain that I’m currently experiencing in my right knee, I am also looking forward to seeing how God brings healing into my life. I’m also confident that God wants to bring new life and healing to New Durham Chapel, as Jesus Christ moves and ministers in our midst in 2024. One thing that I know for certain is that the Lord Jesus Christ has promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b NIV).
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Rich Sivo