LORD, I have heard the report about you; LORD, I stand in awe of your deeds. Revive your work in these years; make it known in these years. In your wrath remember mercy!
God comes from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise. His brilliance is like light; rays are flashing from his hand. This is where his power is hidden. Plague goes before him, and pestilence follows in his steps. He stands and shakes the earth; he looks and startles the nations. The age-old mountains break apart; the ancient hills sink down. His pathways are ancient. I see the tents of Cushan in distress; the tent curtains of the land of Midian tremble.
Are you angry at the rivers, LORD? Is your wrath against the rivers? Or is your fury against the sea when you ride on your horses, your victorious chariot? You took the sheath from your bow; the arrows are ready to be used with an oath. Selah You split the earth with rivers. The mountains see you and shudder; a downpour of water sweeps by. The deep roars with its voice and lifts its waves high. Sun and moon stand still in their lofty residence, at the flash of your flying arrows, at the brightness of your shining spear.
You march across the earth with indignation; you trample down the nations in wrath. You come out to save your people, to save your anointed. You crush the leader of the house of the wicked and strip him from foot to neck. Selah You pierce his head with his own spears; his warriors storm out to scatter us, gloating as if ready to secretly devour the weak. You tread the sea with your horses, stirring up the vast water.
When Times Are Tough
Hurricane. Car accident. Cancer. Nuclear bomb. Holocaust. Assault. Fire. Murder. War. Famine. Pandemic. What would be your reaction to any of these crises? Many times, we over-react and give in to self-pity and develop an awful “woe-is-me” attitude. Whenever we face trials, we often succumb to ruthless fear instead of sinking our teeth into ruthless trust. But even when times are tough, our God can turn our awful to awesome. It’s important to realize we can trust Him in all things.
The writer of Habakkuk is seeking God’s help in the midst of all the adversity around him. As awful as the circumstances were, he has heard some good reports of God’s power overcoming all the tragedy. At this point, Habakkuk begins to pour out his heart in prayer. In spite of the calamities which he enumerates, he is obligated to see the bright side of the picture and recognize what God has done to deliver his people.
What God Has Done
All things considered, the author stands in awe of God’s deeds (see Habakkuk 3:2) and pleads for restoration. Although his city’s circumstances are dire, he sees splendor in the heavens and praise on the earth. Indeed, God shakes the earth, startles the nations, and breaks the mountain apart. The mountains are split by rivers pouring water and producing high waves. Even more, He marches across the earth with indignation and tramples down nations in wrath. At last, God crushes the leader of the house of the wicked, strips him from foot to neck, and pierces his head with his own sword, turning awful to awesome as He does.
Above all, it is vital that we get hold of our emotions and not give in to distress. We must remember the goodness of God and what he teaches us. In Habakkuk’s prayer he calls on God on behalf of His people who have suffered. We must flee to God for refuge, remembering His admonition in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”
By the same token, when we depend on God our depressing circumstances can be turned from awful into an awesome hallelujah. Why? Because as Rich Mullins wrote, “Our God is an awesome God; He reigns from heaven above, with wisdom power and love; Our God is an awesome God.”
Take an inventory of your attitude in times of crisis. How can you start changing your “woe is me” to “great is the Lord?” Start by focusing on Jesus and what He’s already done for you!