By Leslie M. Grant

“He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting.” —Habakkuk 3:6 NKJV

Habakkuk, meaning “ardently embraced,” is a prophecy that particularly deals with the deep exercises and sorrows of a godly Israelite as he considered the shame and degradation of his nation, taken captive by “the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation” (1:6). This contemptuous enemy, the Babylonian Empire, is a picture of the world in its religious corruption and confusion – in its gross misuse of the blessings of God. Therefore it is little wonder that a godly person would be deeply distressed by Israel’s captivity to such a type of evil. Has not the same dreadful enemy today enslaved the professing Church?

Yet these sorrows caused the prophet to more “ardently embrace” the promises of God. They led him to a thorough confidence in God’s sovereign power and grace. He recognized that God takes the measure of earth itself, and therefore everything in it. He will painfully humble the nations. God will scatter the mountains, representing higher authorities, even though men think they are eternal. The hills, picturing lesser authorities, will bow before Him. With this being true, despite the great extent of the destitution and desolation to which Israel was reduced, the prophet could truly say, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (3:18).

Habakkuk is a book of precious help to those who, when faced with evil and trying conditions, sorrow before God.