1.0 The Statement
Habakkuk 3:16-19 (NIV) “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. 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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour (Salvation). The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music, on my stringed instruments.”
Habakkuk 3:16-19 is one of the greatest confessions of faith found anywhere in Scripture. Habakkuk faced the frightening fact that his Nation will be invaded by a merciless Enemy (Chaldeans – Habakkuk 1:6). The Prophet knows that many of the people will go into exile, and many will be slain. The land would be ruined, and Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed. Yet he tells God that he will trust Him no matter what happens! His demonstration of faith is in three areas:
1 Patient Waiting on the Lord
Habakkuk 3:16 (NIV) “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.” – If Habakkuk had depended on his feelings, he would never have made this great confession of faith:
- Looking ahead, he saw the Nation heading for destruction, and that frightened him – “The Nation invading us” (Verse 16c, NIV).
- When he looked within, he saw himself trembling with fear – “My heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Verse 16, NIV)
- When he looked around, he saw everything in the economy about to fall apart – “The fig tree does not bud and there no grapes on the vine,…..the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,…..there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls” (Verse 17, NIV).
- When he looked up by faith, he saw God, and his fears is managed – “Yet I will patiently wait” (Verse 16b, NIV).
Habakkuk walks by faith (Habakkuk 2:4b “The just shall live by his faith,” KJV) by focusing on God’s Greatness and His Glory. One of the marks of faith is the willingness to wait patiently for the LORD to work: “Whosoever believes shall not act hastily” (Isaiah28:16, NKJV).
When we run ahead of God, we get into trouble – Moses failed when he tried to deliver the Nation of Israel by his own hand, ending up committing murder (Exodus 2:11-12).
God’s Wordstates: “In quietness and confidence shall be our strength” (Isaiah 30:15b; Habakkuk 3:19a “The Sovereign LORD is my strength”):
- Habakkuk could wait patiently because he knew that God was at work in the world – Habakkuk 1:5 (NIV) “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 it you were told.”
- Habakkuk prayed that God’s Work would be kept alive and strong – Habakkuk 3:2 “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 commanded Habakkuk to wait – Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, waif for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
God’s Promise is God’s Enablement. No matter what we see and no matter how we feel, we must rest (wait patiently) on God’s Promise and not allow ourselves to “fall apart” – “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). Whenever we find ourselves getting “up-tight” within, we can be sure that we need to stop, pray, and wait on the LORD, before we do some foolish thing. Keep in mind these three verses:
- “Stand Still” (Exodus 14:13).
- “Sit Still” (Ruth 3:18).
- “Be Still” (Psalm 46:10).
2. Rejoice in the Lord
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “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, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” The Destruction – By the time Chaldeans was through the Land of Judah, there would not be much of value left – Habakkuk 2:17 (NIV) “The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man’s blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.” And Habakkuk 3:17(NIV) “The fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,…..the olive crops fails and the fields produce no food,…..there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.
- Buildings would be destroyed.
- Treasures would be plundered.
- Farms and orchards would be devastated.
The economy would have fallen apart and there would be little to sing about – Habakkuk 3:19b “For the director of music, on my stringed instruments.
- Habakkuk’s Joy – Habakkuk discovered that God was his joy – Despite the total destruction and devastation (Habakkuk 2:17; 3:17), Habakkuk declares that he will still rejoice in the God of his Salvation (Deliverance). Here is one of the strongest demonstrations of faith in the Scriptures – Habakkuk 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in God of my Salvation.” Habakkuk could not rejoice in the circumstances, but he could rejoice in his God!Habakkuk’s testimony reminds us of Apostle Paul’s admonition: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18).
- Habakkuk’s Strength – Habakkuk also discovered that God was his strength, his salvation, and his song (Isaiah 12:1-2; Exodus 15:2; Psalm 118:14):His Salvation – Habakkuk 3:18b (KJV) “God of my salvation.” His Strength – Habakkuk 3:19a (KJV) “The LORD God is my strength.” His Song – Habakkuk 3:19c (KJV) “To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”
Though Habakkuk’s heart pounded, his lips quivered, his legs trembled at the coming calamities (Habakkuk 3:16), yet the Prophet burst into song and worshipped the LORD. The LORD gives us “Song in the night” (Psalm 42:8), if we learned to wait patiently on Him and rejoice in Him.
3. Reliance on the Lord
Habakkuk 3:19a (NIV) “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk’s heart was pounding, his lips quivered, and his legs trembled (Habakkuk 3:16), yet:
- He could stand and be sure-footed as a Deer.
- He was able to run swiftly and go higher than he had ever gone before.
Habakkuk’s Secret was his reliance on the LORD – “The Sovereign LORD is my strength” (Habakkuk 3:19a, NIV):
- This is one of the reasons why God allows us to go through trails because trials draw us nearer to Him and lift us above the circumstances – Deuteronomy 32:13a (KJV) “He (God) made him ride on the high places of the earth.”
- David experienced this when he was being chased by King Saul: “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights” (Psalm 18:32-33, NIV).
- G. Campbell Morgan said: “Our joy is in proportion to our trust. Our trust is in proportion to our knowledge of God” (G. Campbell Morgan, “The Westminster Pulpit,” London: Pickering and Inglis, Vol.6, pg.153).
Habakkuk teaches us to face our doubts, fears, and questions honestly, take them humbly to God, wait for His Word to teach us, and then worship Him no matter how we feel or what we see. God does not always change our circumstances, but He can change us to meet the circumstances. That is what it means to live by faith – Habakkuk 3:4b (KJV) “The just shall live by his faith.”