Habakkuk 3

The Word Made Fresh

1The prayer of the prophet Habakkuk, to the tune of Shigionoth.

2LORD, I have heard of your fame, and I am in awe of your works.
Do it again, LORD! In our own time be merciful.
3God came to us from Teman on Mt. Paran.
The glory of the Holy One shown throughout the heavens,
and the earth filled with God’s praise.
4As bright as the sun, God’s hand sent forth beams
from the place where God’s power was hidden.
5Diseases went before the LORD,
and plague followed close behind.
6God stopped and shook the earth
and made the nations tremble.
The eternal mountains were shattered,
and along God’s ancient paths the hills sank low.
7I saw the tents of Cushan in great distress,
and all the doorways of the land of Midian were shaking.
8Was your wrath against the rivers, LORD,
or your anger against the streams,
or your rage against the sea,
when you drove your horses and chariots to victory?
9You waved your bow with menace,
and your arrows had their fill at your command.
You divided the earth with rivers.
10Then the mountains saw you and squirmed
as a great rainstorm raged.
The ocean depths raised its voice.
The sun lifted its hands high.
11The moon and sun stood still in their place
as your arrows sped by,
and the glow of your spear flashed past.
12You strolled across the earth in anger
and furiously trampled the nations.
13You came to save your people and your anointed.
You crushed the leader of the wicked people,
stripping him from head to foot.
14You pierced the heads of his soldiers with his own arrows,
though they came like a storm to scatter us,
gloating, thinking they could devour the poor who were hiding.
15Your horses trampled the sea,
and churned the mighty waves.
16I can hear it. I tremble and my lips quiver at the sound.
My bones are in a state of decay,
and my feet tremble beneath me
as I wait silently for the time of the great punishment
that will befall those who have attacked us.
17Even though the fig tree doesn’t blossom,
and even though it produces no fruit,
and even though the olive tree fails
and the fields yield nothing to eat;
Even though the flock is separated from the fold
and no herd is left in the stalls,
18I still find joy in the LORD,
and I rejoice in the God who brings me salvation.
19The LORD God is my strength,
and gives me feet like the feet of a deer,
so that I can climb higher and higher.

To the leader: to be accompanied with stringed instruments.


1: This chapter is a psalm. It is introduced as a prayer, but the musical notation at the beginning (Shigionoth — see Psalm 7), the reference to instruments in verse 19, the use of the pause, “selah” at points along the way, the overall structure, terminology, and subject are reminiscent of many of the psalms.

2: This verse is the prayer. The prophet beseeches God to act, and to act in mercy, not in wrath.

3-15: In answer to the prayer, Habakkuk describes the appearance of God. It is in the familiar imagery of the Psalms. God is pictured to come as a great and awful storm across the land, shaking the earth, making the mountains tremble and the moon stand still. The “arrows speeding by” and the “glow of your flashing spear” are typical descriptions of the fury of a thunderstorm.

16: The prophet’s knees go wobbly. He has prayed for God to come. He has the assurance that God is coming. He will wait to see what God will do. That’s faith!

17-19: The troubles listed — a poor harvest of figs and olives, the disappearance of flocks and herds — are typical losses when an invading army scavenges the land. The point here is that the prophet has faith that God will act, and that faith enables him to have a cheerful heart in the face of trouble.


An abiding faith in God gives us assurance that all will be well no matter how things seem now. We may have to suffer for a season, but in the end the result is always glorious.