8 Did the Lord rage against the rivers,
Or was Your anger against the rivers,
Or was Your wrath against the sea,
That You rode on Your horses,
On Your chariots of salvation?
9 Your bow was made bare,
The rods of chastisement were sworn. Selah.
You cleaved the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw You and quaked;
The downpour of waters swept by.
The deep uttered forth its voice,
It lifted high its hands.
11 Sun and moon stood in their places;
They went away at the light of Your arrows,
At the radiance of Your gleaming spear.
12 In indignation You marched through the earth;
In anger You trampled the nations.
13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people,
For the salvation of Your anointed.
You struck the head of the house of the evil
To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.
14 You pierced with his own spears
The head of his throngs.
They stormed in to scatter us;
Their exultation was like those
Who devour the oppressed in secret.
15 You trampled on the sea with Your horses,
On the surge of many waters.
(Habakkuk 3:8-15 NASB)
In today’s passage, Habakkuk continues to worship the Lord.
Notice the shift in today’s section. Habakkuk goes from speaking about God to speaking directly to God. This is really a huge step of faith for Habakkuk. He has heard the power and majesty of God, and knowing the coming judgment of God in his lifetime, Habakkuk worships God and addresses God as one person would talk to another person.
Habakkuk starts out with a rhetorical question, asking God why He is riding out in war. Is God angry at nature? Is God taking out His vengeance and wrath on the rivers and the seas? The answer is obviously “no”. Remember in verse 2, Habakkuk clearly knew that God was going to display His wrath at all the injustice and wrongdoing, both to the people of Judah as well as the Babylonians.
In verse 8, Habakkuk is remembering how God used nature (crossing the Red Sea from Egypt, corring the Jordan river into the Promised land) to provide salvation to His people and defeat the enemy.
In verse 9, Habakkuk pictures God as a mighty warrior. Habakkuk says that God’s arrows and rods (fighting sticks) are commissioned. Our modern-day equivalent would be the western good guy – bad guy movies where the good guy says to the bad guy, “I have a bullet with your name on it.”
Habakkuk goes on to describe God’s wrath as a violent thunderstorm that produces flash floods, and literally “splits the earth”, turning a beautiful stream into a raging torrent, washing out everything in its path.
In verse 10, Habakkuk describes the reaction of God’s creation to His coming wrath. The mountains writhed in pain, like a woman giving birth, and the seas groaned deeply and lifted their waves in distress.
In verse 11, Habakkuk remembers when God made the sun stand still as He fought for His people (Joshua 10:12-14).
Verse 12 shows God’s judgment and wrath poured out. While this verse is written like it already happened, some say this verse refers to the Flood of Noah’s time. Most scholars, however, attribute this to the end times yet to come, when God will do battle with all the forces of evil, as described in Revelation.
Verse 13 shows God protecting His people according to His covenants, and vanquishing the enemy.
Verse 14 describes God as taking the enemy’s weapons out of their hands and using those same weapons to defeat them. This verse shows the boldness and power of God, killing the leaders of the enemy right in front of the troops, while everyone stood by, powerless to do anything.
Verse 15 shows the enormity and power of God, where the oceans are like big puddles to God – He rides His horses through them and there is a big splash, but it does not stop God from rescuing and protecting His own.
May you take time to worship the Lord today, praising Him for His power, righteousness, justice, and salvation, singing His praises along with Habakkuk.