Habakkuk 3:3-10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 7, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps. He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed — but he marches on forever. I saw the tents of Cushan in distress, the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
Were you angry with the rivers, Lord? Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea when you rode your horses and your chariots to victory? You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows. You split the earth with rivers; the mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by; the deep roared and lifted its waves on high.” (Habakkuk 3:3-10)

In Habakkuk 3:1-2, which we discussed last week, Habakkuk started a prayer to God. In this week’s passage, he is continuing that prayer. Even though Habakkuk is praying to God in this passage, he starts by elaborating on God’s glory and power.

In verse 3, Habakkuk mentions two places: Teman and Mount Paran. These places likely have no significance to you or me, but they would have been significant to the people of Israel. Teman is also called Seir, and they would have known these places from their mention in Deuteronomy 33:2-4. Why is that passage significant? It talks about the people receiving the law of God through Moses, which was one of the most important events in the life of the nation of Israel. By referencing Teman and Mount Paran, Habakkuk is bringing to mind the remembrance of God giving His law to Israel. Remember from Habakkuk chapter 1 that the people were completely disregarding God’s law, so bringing it up again was very necessary.

But God is not just all about the law; He is also full of glory. His glory was (and is) everywhere - it permeates heaven and earth. God’s presence is clearly seen everywhere in creation. That was true back then, and it’s still true today. Habakkuk uses the analogy of light to represent God’s glory. God illuminates the world with His presence and His glory. We see this idea elsewhere in Scripture too. In John 8:12, Jesus (who is fully human and fully God) says, “I am the light of the world.” In Revelation 21:23-24 we read, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”

God’s power is also revealed in judgment. We see reference to the plagues of Egypt back in the days of Moses. (Find them in Exodus 7-11 if you want to read up on them.) God clearly demonstrated His power through these ten plagues on the Egyptians, but in a different way than His glory shining like light.

Habakkuk goes on to explain how God has power and dominion over the waters. In that culture, water represented chaos, darkness, and death. Having power over water was seen in the same light as having power over death, which is pretty powerful! This also brings up two significant times in Israel’s history when God had power over the water - when He parted the Red Sea for them to cross in Exodus 14, and when Israel crossed the Jordan River in Joshua 3.

All three of these glimpses into the past bring up how God delivered Israel in the past. Why is that important? If we see how God has done something for us in the past, we can believe that God will do it again in the future. The circumstances may be different and even the details of the outcome will likely not be identical, but we can count on God for being unchanging. God’s faithfulness in the past allows us to remember that He will be faithful in the future.

What has God done in your past that gives you confidence for the future? Take a few moments today to examine how God has worked in your life in the past, and rest in the certainty that God is working in your present and will be working in your future as well.

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