The Book of Habakkuk

“Lord, Send A Revival”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Lesson 12 - “The Fear of the Lord”

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Habakkuk 3:3-19, God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. 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. 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.”

We’re continuing our series on the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk. God was not only going to judge the nation of Israel because of her backsliding, but He was also going to judge Babylon as well for the great wickedness and sin of this former great national power.

King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians had great pride in what they had accomplished as a nation. In Habakkuk’s day, Babylon became known as the strongest nation in all of the world. The problem was that they had accomplished all of that by destroying everything and everyone that got in their way.

Here in Habakkuk chapter three, Habakkuk was a very troubled man. God had spoken to him. Habakkuk’s world was out of his control, but God was still in control. Habakkuk’s world as he knew it was about to come tumbling down. The Babylonians were about to invade and take the southern kingdom of Judah captive. God had proven to Habakkuk that He was the Lord of nature and of nations and that the reins of the entire universe were still in God’s Hands.

There are times in all of our lives when we also feel that everything around us is out of our control. It is at these times that we must stop and realize that God is still in control. Habakkuk chapter three was actually given by God to Habakkuk in the form of a poem. Under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Habakkuk penned these beautiful words which have been preserved for all eternity in the Word of God. This poem is all about God and His power. It is about what God can do even in the midst of a world that is seemingly falling apart, He is in control!

Notice with me what the Bible says to us in Habakkuk 3:3, “God came.” The prophet Habakkuk was standing on the eve of the captivity of his nation and he was seeking comfort, consolation and help because there was nothing that he could do.

Ever been there?

-At the bedside of a beloved family member or friend when the Doctor comes in and says, “We’ve done all we can, there is nothing left for us to do but to keep him/her comfortable.”

-At a home where the husband and wife have tried counseling and marriage retreats and prayer meetings and there is nothing else humanly possible to salvage the marriage?

-Have you come to the point in your life when you have faced seemingly insurmountable problems and you’ve thought to yourself, “What in the world am I going to do?”

Like Habakkuk, it seems like God brings us to places in our lives where there is no solution. We come to the place where all we can do is wait for God to intervene. The Word of God says again in Habakkuk 3:3, “God came.” When there is no answer and there is no solution, that’s when the Lord shows up! God arrives just in time amen! The truth is that God has already made the way so that He can come to us and He has promised in His Word that He will come.

Man left to his own devices does everything humanly possible and thinks that he is in control of his destiny and things only get more and more out of control. God wants to bring us to our knees and get us to understand and see that He and He alone is the only One Who truly has control. The thing that we want to see today in the life of Habakkuk and the thing that we all need in our lives is a Fear of the Lord.

Notice again with me Habakkuk 3:16 where the prophet declares, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself.” Habakkuk said, “When I thought about God and all that God had done; my whole body trembled and my lips quivered as I thought about how I fear God, knowing Him and what He can do!”

The Psalmist wrote in Psalms 115:1-4, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.”

The Psalmist continues in Psalms 115:5-8, “They (false gods) have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”

The Psalmist goes on to say in verses 9 & 10, “O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.”

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes concludes at the end of twelve chapters concerning life and its many problems says this in Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” In other words, all of life is wrapped up in this very concise and simple statement, “Fear God and keep His commandments!”

In Romans 3:18 Paul writes what he sees as the major problem of mankind when he says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” You see the fear of God will change the way a person lives. If we believe the Bible like we say we do and we understand that we will all stand before God someday, then that fear of God will change the way we live.

In the midst of a world that is seemingly heading towards destruction and collapse, we must not be afraid of the problems and trials in life, but rather we are to fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord removes all lesser fears! Let’s look at several things here in Habakkuk chapter three,

#1) God is the God of Majesty.

As Habakkuk spoke about God and the fear of the Lord, he pointed out to us in this poetical chapter three that God is a God of majesty. God wants us to know that there is none like Him.

He is a God of majesty. As Habakkuk thought about the Lord, he said this in verses 3-5, “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.”

Habakkuk was thinking about God coming to Mount Sinai where the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. As we remember that story, we know that there was fire and smoke and that the earth trembled. The whole earth shook as God came. This thought overwhelmed Habakkuk as he thought about the majesty of God. He said, “There is no one like God, no one to be feared like Him, He is God and He is majestic.”

Isaiah 46:9 says, “Remember the former things of old.” This is what Habakkuk was doing as he remembered the things God had done in the past and this caused him to fear the Lord as He considered His majesty.

#2) God is the God of Might.

In Habakkuk 3:6 the Bible says, “He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk was contemplating how God had made a way for Israel to be freed from Egyptian bondage, how He led them through the wilderness and across the Jordan River defeating their enemies. This caused him to think about the power and might of God.

Think of it, no one can measure the earth except the Lord. God, Who made the earth, was looking upon the earth and measuring the earth much like a General measuring out a battle field. God sees exactly what needs to be done and then He does it. He said the following in verses 7 & 8, “I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation?”

The truth is that Habakkuk knew that the same God Who parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River, Who protected His people with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day, was none other than God the Almighty! When Habakkuk thought about God he said, “My body trembles when I think that the Lord is the God of majesty and the God of might!

When we have come to the end of our rope and it seems like all is gone, we need to look up like Habakkuk did and recognize our God of majesty and might.

 

#3) God is the God of Mercy.

Sometimes we ask God why He does what He does. The fact is, He is a God of mercy. Habakkuk 3:13-15 says, “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.”

 

It seems strange that we are to fear God and yet in fearing Him, we trust Him. The truth is that there is no faith in God, without fearing Him. Likewise, there is no trusting in God without trembling before Him. We must fear the true and living God and trust Him because of what He can do!

Habakkuk continued in verse 16, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones.” Then he said, “That I might rest in the day of trouble.” If we were to interpret this and apply it to our lives, we realize that this is one of the greatest statements in the Word of God. He was saying that, “In the midst of all this trouble and with my nation about to be destroyed; I’ve found a place of rest.” Where is it? It’s with the Lord!

Habakkuk stood on the eve of captivity and said, “I can’t change the hoards of Babylonians that are coming down upon us. I can’t change the wicked desire of King Nebuchadnezzar to take the land of Judah. I can’t change the fact that the temple will be destroyed and God’s people will be carried away; but I know that my God is a God of majesty, a God of might, and a God of mercy and I’m going to trust in Him and rest in Him.

Let’s pray.



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