Habakkuk part 7 – 3:1-16 – Remember

[1] A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

  [2] O LORD, I have heard the report of you,
              and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
  In the midst of the years revive it;
              in the midst of the years make it known;
              in wrath remember mercy.
  [3] God came from Teman,
              and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
  His splendor covered the heavens,
              and the earth was full of his praise.
  [4] His brightness was like the light;
              rays flashed from his hand;
              and there he veiled his power.
  [5] Before him went pestilence,
              and plague followed at his heels.
  [6] He stood and measured the earth;
              he looked and shook the nations;
  then the eternal mountains were scattered;
              the everlasting hills sank low.
              His were the everlasting ways.
  [7] I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
              the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
  [8] Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD?
              Was your anger against the rivers,
              or your indignation against the sea,
  when you rode on your horses,
              on your chariot of salvation?
  [9] You stripped the sheath from your bow,
              calling for many arrows. Selah
              You split the earth with rivers.
  [10] The mountains saw you and writhed;
              the raging waters swept on;
  the deep gave forth its voice;
              it lifted its hands on high.
  [11] The sun and moon stood still in their place
              at the light of your arrows as they sped,
              at the flash of your glittering spear.
  [12] You marched through the earth in fury;
              you threshed the nations in anger.
  [13] You went out for the salvation of your people,
              for the salvation of your anointed.
  You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,
              laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah
  [14] You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,
              who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,
              rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
  [15] You trampled the sea with your horses,
              the surging of mighty waters.
  [16] I hear, and my body trembles;
              my lips quiver at the sound;
  rottenness enters into my bones;
              my legs tremble beneath me.
  Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
              to come upon people who invade us. (ESV)

So much of the way we are instructed to respond to calamity is to wait.  But we are not supposed to JUST wait.  While we wait, we are to remember and be strengthened by the salvation that the LORD has already accomplished on behalf of His people.

These verses are filled with imagery of the miraculous exodus from Egypt, Israel at Mount Sinai receiving God’s law, and Israel defeating God’s enemies in the conquest of the Promised Land.  The salvation of the LORD is His work alone, and it is incredible.  Israel could only respond by praising Him, serving Him in reverent fear, and wondering at His mercy toward them.

The hope in this passage comes through the realization that a God who goes to such great lengths to save His rebellious people will not turn around and quit on them.  Those of us that live on the other side of the second exodus (the cross of Christ) have the same hope, but it is amplified.  The God who made the long journey from heaven to earth to die for His enemies so that they might become His children will not suddenly quit on us.  So while we may tremble at impending disaster like Habakkuk (v. 16), our remembrance of God’s salvation should lead us to simultaneously anticipate His ultimate defeat of evil, that day when every knee will bow and proclaim that Christ is Lord, and when we will rest in His loving arms.