Summary: What is it that makes these verses so forceful? To me it is the courageous way in which Habakkuk faces possible calamities & triumphs over them through knowledge & faith in his Savior. Habakkuk has learned the lesson of faith taught in 2:4
THE PEACE OF HABAKKUK’S FAITH
The last section of this glorious chapter contains some of the most moving verses in all the Bible. On one occasion it was used by Benjamin Franklin, who was not a Christian, to confound some of the sophisticated, cultured despisers of the Bible whom he met in when he was serving as United States Plenipotentiary to France. The skeptics were mocking him for his admiration of the Bible. So he decided to find out how well they knew the book they professed to scorn. One evening he entered their company with a manuscript that contained an ancient poem he said he had been reading. He said that he had been impressed with its stately beauty. They asked to hear it. He held it out and read this great third chapter of Habakkuk ending with the verses 16-19 (read).
The reading was received with exclamations of extravagant admiration. "What a magnificent piece of verse!" they cried. Where had Franklin found it? How could they get copies? They were astonished when he informed them that it was the third chapter of Habakkuk’s prophecy.
What is it that makes this chapter, and particularly the final verses, so forceful? To me it is the courageous way in which Habakkuk faces possible calamities and triumphs over them through knowledge & faith in his Savior.
Habakkuk, being a righteous man, has learned the lesson of faith taught in 2:4 - to trust in God’s sovereignty regardless of circumstances. He declares that even if God should send suffering and loss, he would still rejoice in God his Savior, one of the strongest affirmations of faith in all Scripture. Pray it will be yours also.
I. A DISTRESSING WORD, 16a.
II. A DELAYING WORD, 16b.
III. A DISCERNING WORD, 17.
[I. DIFFICULT DAYS, 16-17. II. WONDROUS WALK, 18-19.]
The person speaking changes again. The prophet now speaks in the first person of his own experiences. Habakkuk’s questions have been answered and his acceptance of God’s Word produces one of the most powerful statements recorded in scripture. [But before you get to verse 19 you have verse 16.]
Bad things happen while you live on this earth! But when they do, how do we as believers respond? Habakkuk 3:19 tells us that there are "high places" on which we can walk when bad things happen. He says in verse 19, "The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet makes me walk on my high places." The "high places" refer to God’s victory you can have in Him over any circumstance in life. "What’s over your head is under His feet." But, how do you reach the high place where life does not defeat you but works for you?
Remember what Hab told us. Bad things were going on in his life and his nation, which in and of himself he could not understand, so he went to God and sought His guidance. We should learn from him that if we are going to walk on the high places, we first of all must hear from God. Find out what God says in His Word, and purpose in our heart that we are going to trust Him by living in the light of all that He says in His Word.
In verse 16 Habakkuk acknowledges that he heard, understood and accepted what God said about the devastation that the coming of the Babylonians will bring. "I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble, because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us."
Obviously anyone who is impacted by the dynamic word of God’s power previously expounded upon would be left in awe. Habakkuk was no exception. He had asked for a show of God’s might (v.2). Little did he realize what a revelation it would be.
The prophet’s heart pounded, his lips quivered, and his legs trembled. Habakkuk was about to collapse from this amazing encounter with God. He felt as though his bones were in a state of decay, ready to collapse and his nervous system was all unraveled. Yet even though His encountered with God left him in a weakened state, his confidence and hope were renewed. In the acceptance of the impact of God’s Word upon himself, he found a new sense of peace and purpose in his life and in his prophetic ministry. He said he would wait patiently (lit. "rest") for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading Judah. He will wait in faith, even when the wick rule the earth in injustice and arrogance.
Habakkuk heard from God and it made him tremble. When God spoke, Habakkuk had to learn to take the bad in life along with the good. Both are going to come. None of us like this fact. I don’t even like stating it, because I know we are all going to have to take the pain that comes simply because of the sin of Adam, which still effects the world in which we live. But when bad things come, we must remember God has a high place, a place where we can experience Him. If He allows bad things into our lives, then somehow He’ll use them for good in our lives.