This chapter begins with a prayer of Habakkuk.  We read in verse 2, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  The Lord’s ‘speech’ was a revelation to Habakkuk concerning the coming chastisement of the Jews.  In his prayer, he asks the Lord to revive His work of salvation towards His people and pleads with the Lord to show mercy in the midst of His wrath.

In verses 3-15, Habakkuk reviews the history of the Israelites as the Lord led and protected them as they travelled from Egypt to Canaan.  We then read in verse 16, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.”  In verse 2, Habakkuk commented about how he had heard the Lord’s speech and feared.  In verse 16, he comments about how he had heard of the Lord’s coming judgment upon the enemies of the Lord’s people and he is in awe of the Lord’s judgment and the hope it gave him.  He longed for ‘rest in the day of trouble.’ 

Now, Habakkuk 3:17-19 says, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”

In these verses, Habakkuk expresses how that no matter what happens he will continue to trust in the Lord.  If the Lord should choose to bring in a drought that should destroy all crops…yet will he rejoice in the Lord and find in Him his strength.  If the Lord should choose to bring in a pestilence that should destroy all the flocks and herds…yet he will rejoice in the Lord and find in Him his strength. 

I’m reminded of those three faithful young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.  While in captivity in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar issued a harsh decree, “That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:5-6).  Upon hearing this, these faithful men responded by saying, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Verses 5-6).  No matter what happened, these men determined to remain faithful to the Lord.

Habakkuk displayed this same kind of devotion and loyalty to the Lord.  No matter what happened, he determined to remain faithful to the Lord and continue to praise Him.  Even as we read in Daniel 1:8 that, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank,” may we purpose in our hearts to not be defiled by the activities of the world, not be discouraged by the casualties that we face, or not be disheartened by the things we do not understand.  May we determine (in the Lord’s strength) to stand in faithfulness to the Lord in all things.  May we never allow the world to deter us from serving the Lord.  May we never allow the world to cause us to cease in our praise and dependence upon the Lord.  (411.4)