Summary: Exposition of Habakkuk 3:3-15
Text: Habakkuk 3:3-15, Title: The Creator-Warrior God, Date/Place: LSCC, 9/10/06, PM
A. Opening illustration: It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket. Oct 1942, out of range, crash in ocean, fighting sharks and weather, food ran out.
B. Background to passage: Review the uniqueness of Hab 3, and its structure. Remind them of how Habakkuk is choosing to deal with a very difficult, heart-wrenching, unbelievable situation. He affirms God’s plan, submits to it, and begins to worship. Review the refrain of verse two. Now we will look at the verses of this song that was to be sung in the midst of punishment.
C. Main thought: We will see three reminders of who God is in these song verses.
A. The Presence of God (v. 3-8)
1. Teman and Paran were areas in the southernmost part of Israel, down near the Sinai Peninsula. This is the area in which the nationality of God’s people was solidified with His permanent presence among them. The prophet here is reminding Judah of God’s presence during the coming tribulation. But we must notice the language and imagery that Habakkuk uses to describe God’s manifest presence among them. He says that the “glory” of God covered the heavens. This word means splendor, vigor, majesty, and authority. Note the language of brightness. Talk about the blazing brightness of the Shekinah glory of God. Destruction goes before Him. The sight of Him startles the nations. The mountains melt, and the hills bow down. These were allusions to the sites of worship of the Canaanite gods. Then he speaks of His eternality and infinitude. Habakkuk reminds the people of the power of the presence of God during the coming dark times.
2. Ex 33:22-23, 34:33, Ezek 10:4, Micah 1:2-4, Rev 1:12-17
3. Illustration: the other day at Kathy Nadeau’s when the sun was so bright that I could hardly see to talk with her. the book When People are Big and God is Small, In Bill Moyers’s book A World of Ideas II, Jacob Needleman remembers, "I was an observer at the launch of Apollo 17 in 1975. It was a night launch, and there were hundreds of cynical reporters all over the lawn, drinking beer, wisecracking, and waiting for this 35-story-high rocket. "The countdown came, and then the launch. The first thing you see is this extraordinary orange light, which is just at the limit of what you can bear to look at. Everything is illuminated with this light. Then comes this thing slowly rising up in total silence, because it takes a few seconds for the sound to come across. You hear a ’WHOOOOOSH! HHHHMMMM!’ It enters right into you. "You can practically hear jaws dropping. The sense of wonder fills everyone in the whole place, as this thing goes up and up. The first stage ignites this beautiful blue flame. It becomes like a star, but you realize there are humans on it. And then there’s total silence. "People just get up quietly, helping each other up. They’re kind. They open doors. They look at one another, speaking quietly and interestedly. These were suddenly moral people because the sense of wonder, the experience of wonder, had made them moral." When we have a sense of wonder toward God, we too have our lives changed for the better. First half of the quote from Piper’s Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, p. 38-40,
4. In our times of tribulation, we must gain a greater understanding of the majesty of God’s presence. Our understanding of the “bigness” of God is miniscule to the reality of His person. Try to imagine the immensity of God, and the brightness of his glory. “I’ve experienced God’s presence most powerfully in worship, often during the singing, I suppose because when we sing to him, we are looking hard in his direction.”—J. I. Packer. Try imagining the presence of God during the singing. Ask God to really show up in your life—not to do anything, but just for Him to be in your conscious presence. Then watch out! As long as God is here everything is going to be alright. Regardless what is going on in your life, if you can get into the presence of God endless joy, peace, courage, confidence can be found. These resources are found in limitless capacities within the person of God.
B. The Purpose of God (v. 9-13a)
1. Habakkuk then sings of God as a bowman striding forth to in wrath to accomplish the vindication and deliverance of His people. This goes back to God’s promise to recompense the Babylonians for what they had done. Again notice the power of God to deliver. Nothing can stop Him, withstand Him, overpower Him, escape Him, thwart Him, or delay Him. Notice the language, all creation (rivers, oceans, mountains, even the sun and moon) tremble for the delivering power of God. His wrath is kindled at those that do evil, especially against His people. This further strengthens Habakkuk’s plea for the just to live by faith and put their hope in the Lord.