Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

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.

3 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.

4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.

5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.

6 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.

7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

8 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?

9 Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.

10 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.

11 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.

12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.

13 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.

14 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.

15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.

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.

17 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:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

MEMORY VERSE: 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. —Habakkuk 3:19

CENTRAL THOUGHT: The prophet looked into the past at God’s mighty deliverances and drew courage for the present woes and future battles, ending his prayer with a song of praise.


Habakkuk 3:1 “A prayer”: an act or exercise of devotion, praise or thanksgiving. “Upon Shigionoth”: plural for Shiggaion, the title of Psalm 7; a “wild, tumultuous and ecstatic poem. The word ‘upon’ in such superscriptions appears to mean ‘after the mode of,’ ‘to the music of’ Shigionoth” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges). “‘Upon Shigionoth’ was either the name, title, or first word of some song or songs, according to which this was to be sung; or the name of the tune with which it was to be sung; or of the instrument on which was to be sung: it…may called, an ‘erratic’ or ‘wandering’ song, because of the variableness of its metre, and of its tune” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible). Shigionoth, translated from a root meaning “to err” was also thought by some to be designating the prayer as a plea for pardon for their ignorance and error.

Habakkuk 3:2 “Make known”: literally, Thou wilt make known…Thou wilt remember mercy.

Habakkuk 3:3 “God came from Teman…Paran”: the area of Mount Sinai, where God gave the law. This verse and the verses that follow echo Deuteronomy 33:2, Judges 5:4, Psalm 18, and Psalm 68:7 as a description of the fire, glory and power demonstrated in His deliverance and revelation to His people. It uses the events of the past to give a sense of God’s very present help, and projects into the future, calling on the mighty God to deliver His people from Babylon as He had delivered them from Egypt, revealed His commandments at Sinai, conquered the Canaanites, and delivered them time and again from their enemies in the time of the judges and the kings.

Habakkuk 3:4 “Horns”: rays of light. “The hiding of his power”: “The Shechinah, or symbol of the divine presence, had rays of light issuing out on every side, and yet that was but a hiding, or veil, to the Divine Majesty, who covereth himself with light as with a garment, (Psalm 104:2) and who dwelleth in light inaccessible, or of too resplendent brightness to be approached, or gazed at, by mortals” (Benson Commentary). This points to the Messiah, as in Hebrews 1:3 and John 1:9.

Habakkuk 3:5 “Burning coals went forth at his feet”: devouring fire or lightning, as in Leviticus 9:24, where fire came out from Him and consumed the burnt offering, or when it destroyed the wicked in Numbers 16:35. John saw this in Revelation 1:14-15. Some interpret it to mean “burning fevers” or diseases with which he destroyed the heathen nations; some say it means the burning of Jerusalem by the Romans. The ancient fathers wrote that it was the destruction of the devil and all his principalities by Christ on the cross. “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 people!” (Matthew Henry Commentary).


Very little can be found about the prophet Habakkuk. Scholars have different opinions about the time he lived and prophesied, although it seems to be narrowed down to around 600 B.C. and during the time of the prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah. Because of his musical note, he may have been a member of the Levitical choir. Chapters 1 and 2 contain Habakkuk’s burden about a coming destruction from the Chaldeans. Again the commentators disagree, some saying it was really the Chaldeans; others maintaining it was the Assyrians Habakkuk was talking about. I found this interesting note from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “Habakkuk has been called the prophet of faith. He possessed a strong, living faith in Yahweh; but he, like many other pious souls, was troubled and perplexed by the apparent inequalities of life. He found it difficult to reconcile these with his lofty conception of Yahweh. Nevertheless, he does not sulk. Boldly he presents his perplexities to Yahweh, who points the way to a solution, and the prophet comes forth from his trouble with a faith stronger and more intense than ever.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. What is a probable meaning of “Shigionoth”?
  2. What time/place is the prophet describing when he says, “Teman” or “Mount Paran”?
  3. What other places in Scripture are similar to this song?
  4. Where does the song seem to change to a more restful, surrendered tone?
  5. What does the prophet find God to be to him personally in the time of trouble?


As I began to research the word meanings in this song, I realized there would be too much for the short article space in this book, so I stopped short after listing just a few. If the reader has time, it is an amazing study.

The song takes in the past deliverances of Jehovah for His people and constantly points forward to the Messiah and His kingdom. What He has done at the Red Sea, at Sinai, in the conquest of Canaan, to Sennacherib and the Assyrians, to Babylon—to every other enemy you can list, whatever obstacle, mighty force, or crisis, He comes! He comes to devour, uncover, discover, wound, scatter, invade, march through.

But, just as the wild, tumultuous music of the song climaxes, there seems to be a trembling sigh, like the stirring of a gentle breeze in the stillness after a storm. The sun comes out and makes the droplets shine like diamonds on the leaves. A restful, sweet melody of surrender begins. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom…Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength…”

He comes! He comes and makes my heart rest. He comes and is my strength. He comes and makes me overcome any adversity I may face.

Once again we see the golden line of deliverance. The Rock of our strength. The God of our salvation.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


Verses 17-19 stand out to me as Habakkuk is finishing up his writing. This was in a time of captivity and we see how desolate everything was. No blossoms, no figs, no fruit in the vines, no olives, no oil, no harvest to be had in the field—all hope was lost.

Let’s look at what Adam Clarke had to say: “These two verses give the finest display of resignation and confidence that I have ever met with. He saw that evil was at hand, and unavoidable; he submitted to the dispensation of God, whose Spirit enabled him to paint it in all its calamitous circumstances. He knew that God was merciful and gracious. He trusted to his promise, though all appearances were against its fulfillment; for he knew that the word of Jehovah could not fail, and therefore his confidence was unshaken… ‘To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.’ This line…leads me to suppose that when the prophet had completed his short ode, he folded it up, with the above direction to the master singer, or leader of the choir, to be sung in the temple service.”

Dear Lord, may we as your people be able to sing this song in our lives. Help us, when all around us is barren, dark, and empty, when there are not a lot of people to support us or encourage us, to say in our hearts, “Praise the Lord!” Help us to see—through dark troubling clouds of circumstances—your great promises and believe in spite of doubts or feelings. Dear Lord, help us to see good when evil is massed against us and have a song in our hearts when we are distressed. Lord, you have given us the feet of the deer to climb the mountains of our life. May we use them to ever go upwards (verse 19), for You are our strength!

The following song, written by Sis. Lynne Millis of Enid, Oklahoma, was inspired after a fall she had from an icy porch while delivering mail. She turned from the mailbox and fell to the bottom of the stairs, landing on her right knee. The pain was incredible. She was off work for one month when she woke up one day with no pain! God gave her the song—with the tune—and she said, “It has blessed me ever since!”

A Miracle -working God

He’s a miracle-working God,

Oh, He’s a miracle-working God.

He’s a God who loves, a God who cares,

A God Who’s always, always there;

He turned the water into wine,

Restored sight to those who were blind.

I’m so glad I serve

A miracle-working God!

He’s a miracle-working God,

Oh, He’s a miracle-working God

He’s the God who loves, the God who cares,

The God Who’s always, always there.

He made the world in just six days,

Then He formed man out of  some clay.

I’m so glad I serve

That miracle-working God!

He’s a miracle-working God,

Oh He’s a miracle-working God

He’s a God who loves, a God who cares,

A God Who’s always, always there.

He cleansed the lepers, raised the dead,

Told the lame man to pick up his bed.

I’m so glad they served

The miracle-working God!

And I’m so glad I know the miracle-working God!

Click here to listen to a group of saints from Kansas sing this song: