Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Habakkuk
Book: Habakkuk
Chapter: 3

The Prophet beseeches God for his people. (1,2) He calls to
mind former deliverances. (3-15) His firm trust in the Divine
Mercy. (16-19)

1,2 The Word Prayer seems used here for an act of devotion. The
Lord would revive his work among the people in the midst of the
years of adversity. This may be applied to every season when the
Church, or believers, suffer under Afflictions and trials. Mercy
is what we must flee to for Refuge, and rely upon as our only
plea. We must not say, Remember our merit, but, Lord, remember
thy own Mercy.

3-15 God's people, when in distress, and ready to despair, seek
help By considering the days of old, and the years of ancient
times, and By pleading them with God in Prayer. The resemblance
between the Babylonish and Egyptian captivities, naturally
presents itself to the mind, as Well as the possibility of a
like deliverance through the power of Jehovah. God appeared in
his Glory. All the powers of nature are shaken, and the course
of nature changed, but all is for the Salvation of God's own
people. Even what seems least likely, shall be made to work for
their Salvation. Hereby is given a Type and figure of the
Redemption of the world By Jesus Christ. It is for Salvation
with thine anointed. Joshua who led the armies of Israel, was a
figure of Him whose name he bare, even Jesus, our Joshua. In all
the salvations wrought for them, God looked upon Christ the
Anointed, and brought deliverances to pass By him. All the
wonders done for Israel of old, were nothing to that which was
done when the Son of God suffered On the Cross for the sins of
his people. How glorious his resurrection and Ascension! And how
much more glorious will be his second coming, to Put an End to
all that opposes him, and all that causes suffering to his

16-19 When we see a Day of trouble approach, it concerns us to
prepare. A good Hope through Grace is founded in holy fear. The
Prophet looked back upon the experiences of the Church in former
ages, and observed what great things God had done for them, and
So was not only recovered, but filled with holy joy. He resolved
to delight and triumph in the Lord; for when all is gone, his
God is not gone. Destroy the vines and the Fig-trees, and you
make all the mirth of a Carnal Heart to cease. But those who,
when full, enjoyed God in all, when emptied and Poor, can enjoy
all in God. They can sit down upon the Heap of the ruins of
their Creature-comforts, and even then praise the Lord, as the
God of their Salvation, the Salvation of the soul, and rejoice
in him as such, in their greatest distresses. Joy in the Lord is
especially seasonable when we meet with losses and crosses in
the world. Even when provisions are cut off, to make it appear
that Man lives not By Bread alone, we may be supplied By the
graces and comforts of God's Spirit. Then we shall be strong for
spiritual warfare and work, and with enlargement of Heart may
run the way of his Commandments, and outrun our troubles. And we
shall be successful in spiritual undertakings. Thus the Prophet,
who began his Prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy
and triumph. And thus Faith in Christ prepares for every event.
The name of Jesus, when we can speak of Him as ours, is Balm for
every wound, a cordial for every care. It is as Ointment poured
forth, shedding fragrance through the whole soul. In the Hope of
a heavenly Crown, let us sit loose to earthly possessions and
comforts, and cheerfully Bear up under crosses. Yet a little
while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and
where he is, we shall be also.