Summary: Habakkuk could face an uncertain future in submissive confidence in God because in the midst of past difficulties & judgments God had brought about deliverance for His people. He trusted God would use whatever the future judgment held to bring about salva
GOD’S DECISIVE ACTS
Habakkuk’s attention is now drawn from the awesome appearance of God to a description of God’s acts on earth. God’s mighty acts and judgments of the past brought about salvation or deliverance for His people. Habakkuk drew from these well springs the faith and joy that he needed to face the uncertain future of adversity. He could face this uncertain future in submissive confidence in God because in the midst of past difficulties and judgments God, The Mighty Warrior, had brought about deliverance for His people. He trusted God would use whatever the future judgment held to bring about salvation and deliverance for His people.
Our God uses judgments to deliver His people. God is involved in His people’s life situations and is there amidst His judgments to bring about justice and salvation.
I. GOD’S USE OF NATURE IN JUDGMENTS, 8-11.
II. GOD’S JUDGMENT AMONGST THE NATIONS, 12-15.
God’s rule over and through the basic elements of nature is demonstrated in verses 8-11. Verse 8 contains three rhetorical questions. “Did the LORD rage against the rivers, or was Your anger against the rivers, or was Your wrath against the sea, that You ruled (rode) on Your horses, on Your chariots of salvation?’
In this new section YAHWEH is directly addressed in the second person, or You. It begins with three questions which center on God’s motive for His appearance which causes such forceful reactions upon the earth and in the heavens. Was God’s wrath against the rivers? And at the streams? And at the sea? In other words, was God angry with nature? While direct answers are not given, a no answer is implied. God is not displeased with nature. He was displeased with man. He was using nature as a tool to demonstrate His power (vv. 12-13). God had exhibited His power by smiting the Nile River (Ex. 7:20-21), the Red Sea (Ex. 14:15-28; 15:8-10; Ps. 78:13), and the Jordan River (Josh. 3:14-17). Similarly God would use the power of nature to smite the nations. His motive was to destroy His enemies and deliver His people.
God’s chariots and horses are evidence of His power as the LORD of Hosts. He ruled His angels and rode steeds to bring salvation to His people. Elsewhere winged cherubim (on the clouds) serve as His chariots or throne (Ps. 104:3, 18:10-12; Isa. 19:1) riding the winds and striking forth with the power and brightness of lightning. His chariots bringing the power of the winds and the storm drives back the waters and churns them up. His cherubim and angelic force are executors of His sovereignty over nature. Therefore God was seen as a victor riding forth with His horses (Hab. 3:15; Zach. 1:8-11; Rev. 6:4ff) and chariots in majestic power to bring salvation for His people. This chariot pick Elijah from the earth at his appointed time ( ). [What a contrast with the Babylonians’ horses (1:8-9) that would eventually be stopped when Babylon fell a few decades later, in 539 B.C. (2:6-8).]
[God has used creation from the parting of the time of Noah and the great flood to fight against His and His people’s enemies. Habakkuk directly addresses these questions to YAHWEH, longing for God to act, to intervene in great power again.]
More of God’s arsenal joins the battle in verse 9. “Your bow was made bare, the rods of chastisement were sworn. [Selah] You cleaved the earth with rivers.”
The bow was made bare shows God pulling it from its sheath to get it ready for action. The rods of chastisement (lit. word) are probably the arrows used to put to an end the plans, and attacks of the Lord’s adversaries. Selah, stop and think about it. God has promised He will act. Meditate some on what God’s actions will be, based on what He has promised He will do.
The third line indicates that God’s actions and power can be seen in the carving out of nature. He creased the earth for the rivers. God forms the channels for where He would have things flow. As His power was displayed then so it will be again.
Verse 10 continues the thought of the earth’s reaction at the advance of the Lord of Hosts. “The mountains saw Thee and quaked; the downpour of waters swept by. The deep uttered forth its voice, it lifted high its hand.”
The mountains quaked at His presence and their prominence withered away. This withering is pictured by women twisting and turning while seized with the pangs of childbirth. The underground waters of the deep move in recognition of God’s power. Their roaring is like His voice. The deep waves of the sea are spoken of as being lifted up by His hands. God’s power, as seen in the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 14 & 15) and the Jordan River (Deut. 33), can cause tremendous upheavals in nature! In this power-mad age we do well to remember the awesome power that belongs to God!