Love Overcomes Fear (Habakkuk 3:8-15)

Like the prophet Habakkuk, all of us will face difficult challenges or uncomfortable situations, which typically leaves us fearful.

How does a child of God deal with fear? Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” It is knowing that God is with us and will not forsake us that motivates us to move forward when we are afraid. We can trust God in any circumstance because He has proven Himself to be faithful in all circumstances.

In Habakkuk 3, the question is, Was God angry against His own creation? He parted the waters of the Red Sea and opened a path across the Jordan River — not in anger, but out of love that rescued His people from evil and death. His chariots of salvation picture God rescuing His people. Babylon, a ruthless and godless nation, was God’s chosen instrument for Judah’s disobedience, but Babylon was destroyed and God’s people were eventually restored. God has used, and can use, His creation to accomplish His will.

The fullest manifestation of God’s wrath on earth was against sin when Jesus died on the cross. The time will come when God’s wrath will be poured out on the ungodly who inhabit the earth (Revelation 16:3-4). He did use a pagan nation to punish His own people, but the ungodly nation did not escape God’s wrath (Habakkuk 3:10-14). Today everyone is either under wrath or in Christ.

In verse 9, the power and weaponry attributed to God are powerful ways to communicate to us just how awesome and great our God is. God will bless the just and punish the evildoer. Is there a lesson for us in this? Our instinct is to seek revenge with our words or our actions when we are wronged. Romans 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” God will always do what is right. He takes care of what needs to be taken of care in the right way, at the right time. Verse 11 is a reference to the time when the sun and moon stood still, referencing Joshua’s longest day (Joshua 10:12-13). God has the power to achieve His will. He can be trusted even when we face fearful situations.

God’s wisdom is often seen in the ways He chooses to accomplish His purposes. Habakkuk had come to a place in his personal understanding where that was becoming clear to him, and he was embracing the God he served.

Verses 13-15 are probably referring to various times God has moved in the history of His people. He has not used the elements of nature or creation just to demonstrate His power but to declare His holy purpose, bring glory to His name, and provide the best blessing for His people. He has judged, and will judge, evil — but, like Habakkuk, it may not happen according to our time schedule! We can be sure God is always on time.

In the case of Babylon (verse 14), God used their own weapons and devices against them when the Persians came and utterly demolished the nation. Someone noted that “God makes the punishment fit the crime.”

Verse 15 is reminiscent of the Exodus, where God, as the Warrior King, led His troops to victory. Habakkuk’s theme remains consistent in this verse, demonstrating again that God is the sovereign over all (people and nature).

When we look back at the faithful witness of God, we should be awed, amazed and humbled. It is encouraging to know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Romans 8:31-32 says, “What shall we say to these things: If God is for us who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

Fear is a reality Habakkuk felt and dealt with through the knowledge of God’s greatness and the magnificence of His love. First John 4:18 should be a consistent reminder to all believers that His “perfect love casts out all fear.”

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