Episode 12.Breakthrough Prayer.Habakkuk 3
Sharon and Nicole finish up the 3-part series on prayer, discussing today when we get a breakthrough while praying earnestly, even if the answer is not what we expect. We can learn so much from Habakkuk when he had his own breakthrough as we read his response to God. Join us today and rejoice that when we pray, breakthroughs come!
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Well. Hello, tired one. Are you feeling a bit frazzled and worn out? Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. We hope lessons from God’s word and encouragement from us will lead you to soul rest. Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by word radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Hello, and welcome to episode 12 of the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Today’s episode Breakthrough Prayer is finishing up a three part series we have been discussing about when it’s hard to pray. We’ve been reading the book of Habakkuk and seeing how God responded to Habakkuk’s complaints during troubling times in his day. We will finish this book today and see how it goes for him and what we can learn from all of this. Well, Sharon, I am eager to finish this book and see what Habakkuk learns from questioning God during a hard time.
You know, chapter three, Nicole, is my hands down favorite. I love this chapter. Well to start with it has the word Selah in it and seeing we are Sweet Selah Moments, this makes good sense. And Selah is a pause or stop. And when a Psalmist or in this case, we think Habakkuk might’ve written a song or poem, pops in that word, we think what they meant was, Hey, stop, stop right there and think about it for a bit. So as we read Habakkuk, let’s just read till we hit the stop, the pause, the Selah, and talk about it and ponder. Now, why did he pop a Selah in right there and try to figure it out as we read chapter three today.
Perfect. All right. I love that we stop and read scripture in each podcast. We call this our Sweet Selah Moments because it’s when we hear God’s word, which he promises will bear fruit in the lives of those who listen. So wherever you are, dear listener, hear the word of the Lord as we read Habakkuk three verses 1 through 3a. We are reading in the English Standard Version today, so we can hear that word Selah. So before we start the word Shigionoth is probably a literary or musical term. We’re going to hear that in this reading, this prayer might’ve been sung, and this could have been a reference to the content of the poem or to the accompanying instruments. Most commentators think this word carried the idea of strong emotion. A prayer of Habakkuk, the prophet, according to Shigionoth. Oh Lord. I have heard the report of you and your work Oh Lord do I fear. In the midst of the years, revive it, in the midst of the years, make it known. In wrath. Remember mercy, God came from Teman and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah.
Huh! So just two and a half verses really because we split verse three with this Selah and Habakkuk stops us. I think that’s so interesting. He starts out by remembering the reports he’s heard of God. You know, that’s another wonderful thing to do when we’re praying through a hard time. We remember who God is and why we fear him. And that he’s the Mighty One. And when we pray and pray and no answer seems to come, we keep on praying and remembering. We pray until we get a breakthrough and Habakkuk is heading towards a breakthrough in this chapter. He’s not there yet, but one of the ways it’s going to come is by him remembering the reports, as he calls it, the report of you and your work Oh Lord. So I think when we look at this last little bit where it says, God came from Teman and the Holy one from Mount Paran. Selah. I think he put that there because of the first two words in verse three, God came. He’s remembering reports of God, he’s asking for mercy. And then God came and we just need to pause and think about that for a minute. And we’re going to see, in the last part of verse three, when I read it, that God comes in a really magnificent way. We don’t know if it was a vision or a dream, but he shows up. And I think that was so significant to Habakkuk that right in the middle of this prayer God came, that he just said, can we stop a minute and just acknowledge that he’s arrived?
That he’s arrived.
And he actually arrived from Teman and from Mount Paran. So whatever he’s seeing, I mean, it’s very visual. Here comes my God. To me, who’s been whining and complaining and not liking my life here he comes. So, I think that’s a really cool stop.
Have you got any other thoughts on this first section, Nicole?
I just love the way Habakkuk writes it. It’s really beautiful that in the middle of all this trouble and complaining that he still stops to sing to his God. He stops and composes this song or this poem, and just pours out his heart to God. It’s really beautiful.
It is. And I love the second part of verse two, where it says in the midst of the years, right in the middle of this trouble, revive the reports of you and your work. Revive it. In the midst of the years, make it known. You know, God in this hard time, may people see you, may they know who you are and what you’ve done. And then this little pitiful, wonderful prayer, in wrath, remember mercy.
It reminds me of like a little child when you’re getting ready to discipline them. They’re like, please be gentle. You know.
I know I’ve earned this, but just do it gently.
Just be nice to me. So wonderful. It’s so real. I think that’s what I love about the Bible. It’s so real. This guy has had an honest conversation with God. He’s remembering, he wants to see God’s signs at work again. And he knows wrath is coming. But could you remember mercy?
And of course I believe God did. He did. And then God shows up, God came. So let’s look at the next section, but man, boy oh boy when God shows up. So I’m starting in the second part of verse three. So God comes, his splendor covered the heavens and the earth was full of his praise. His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand. And there he veiled his power, before him went pestilence and plague followed at his heels. He stood and measured the earth. He looked and shook the nations. Then the eternal mountains were scattered. The everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction. The curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was your wrath against the rivers, Oh Lord? Was your anger against the rivers or your indignation against the sea? When you rode on your horses on your chariot of salvation? You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows. Selah. Huh? Okay. Nicole, what stands out to you?
Quite the imagery. Wow. I feel like his, his power is so clear in these verses. I mean, you look at the mountains shaking and everlasting hills sinking. So, and things being scattered. It’s just the description of his splendor. And in these first few verses alone is just so amazing to picture. And it’s a little terrifying.
It is; it really is. I mean, he is there and, and Habakkuk is seeing this. He’s seeing this. I don’t know if it’s some future event. I suspect that it is, but he is getting to see what’s going to happen. He’s getting to see the reality of it. And it is wow. You’re exactly right. It is. Wow. I love where it says at the end of verse six, his were the everlasting ways, you know, those eternal mountains are going away. The everlasting hills are sinking, but his ways last forever.
That’s really neat. Yeah. The only thing everlasting.
Is him. It’s just God, he’s it. He is so it. Yes. So, well, I’m looking at the Selah part of course. Verse nine, you stripped the sheath from your bow calling for many arrows. Okay. So he’s, he’s ready to go, you know, no longer is everything sheathed. He’s got his arrows ready, he’s going to fire. And it kind of reminds me of what happens in Revelation when Jesus rides forth on that white horse and his sword is out.
Have you ever read Randy Alcorn’s book Safely Home?
No, I haven’t.
You need to borrow that from me.
Oh good. The basic premise is that it takes place at the time of the last martyr before Jesus’ return.
New Speaker (09:09):
So this is kind of interesting. So you kind of follow on earth, this last martyr, who obviously doesn’t know he’s the last one, but he’s a wonderful character and he goes through incredible hardship, but he’s the last one. And Randy Alcorn bases this on a passage in Revelation that says the martyrs are under the altar saying, ‘how long, Oh Lord, how long?’ I mean, we’re watching people hurting and suffering. We’re seeing plague. We’re seeing destruction, how long? And so you go through this whole book of, you know, when you’re kind of like how long too?
And then close to the end, Jesus takes out that sword and it’s time. Wow. And I just weep, I’ve read it a couple of times. I cry every time because there will come a time when he’ll say, give me the arrows, when he’ll unsheathe the sword and that’ll be it. There’ll be no more martyrs. There’ll be a last martyr. So I think that that pause right there is like, okay, there’s coming a time. And, and Habakkuk’s kind of getting a forward vision of it where God will move. Oh, don’t think he’ll stay silent. There’s a time. So really, really cool.
Wow, definitely have to borrow that book. I.
I know what, so, okay. So your turn to read until the next Selah.
All right. You split the earth with rivers. The mountain saw you and writhed. The raging waters swept on. The deep, gave forth its voice and lifted its hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. You marched through the earth in fury, you threshed the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah. Wow.
So Habakkuk is seeing the earth split, rivers writhe, mountains writhe, raging waters sweep. He’s seeing the sun and moon stand still. I mean this, this is obviously…
What a vision this guy is seeing.
Yeah! Unbelievable. You think of Daniel and Ezekiel and John, there have been people that God has favored with a forward look that they can show to us of what the end will be like. And Habakkuk, dear, complaining, ‘I don’t like my life’ Habakkuk is one of the ones that got the honor of seeing, before time, how it’s going to end. Just so cool.
What a neat gift to have.
Yeah. And I love verse 13, you went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. Why did he go? To save his people?
He said enough is enough. This evil has gone on long enough. It’s done.
I bet that Habakkuk would have enjoyed the last part too? You crushed the head of the house of the wicked. As he’s about to go into captivity and that’s going to be really hard to, to live with that knowledge, but to see that, Oh yeah. In the end God’s still gonna win so okay, I can get through this. Yeah.
Right, right, right. There will come a time when they will be crushed. Yeah, I think so. And maybe that’s why he said, okay, could we just pause right there?
Right. Hold on. Let me savor that last part.
Yeah. It’s so fascinating to me. I love looking at all the Selahs in the Bible and saying, teach me from this, Lord. Why did we pause there? Why did we stop? You know, another thought I had about that one, goes back to Genesis three 15 when God is cursing, the serpent and the serpent represents the devil in this. And he says, basically that Satan will strike Jesus’ heel. It’s the first mention that someday there’ll be a Redeemer.
But he will crush his head. And here we have the crushing of the head again. And wow. Pretty much. Although this is a very gruesome thing to think about. So let’s not dwell on it, but when your head is crushed, you’re very dead.
Yes. There’s no recovering from that one.
There’s really no recovery. None at all. So we’ll just leave it there and Habakkuk kind of liked that, I guess. But, and I mean, he’s singing about it. He’s giving us a glimpse of the reality of what is going to happen. He’s seeing it. And you know, we believe it and we believe by faith and God says, blessed are those who believe and haven’t seen. Habakkuk got to see it and share it with us.
What a gift!
Unbelievable. So cool. Alright. Well, alright, here we go. We’re going to continue to adventure into the future. And I will read the last little part of this. So going on after crushing heads, you pierced, you pierced with his own arrows, the heads of his warriors who came like a whirlwind to scatter me rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret, you trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters. I hear and my body trembles. My lips quiver at the sound, rottenness enters into my bones. My legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who will invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food. The flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls.
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s. He makes me tread on my high places. And then it ends with, to the choir master with stringed instruments. So here we are. I think it was sung.
Yes, it sounds like it now. Yeah.
So, so cool.
So Habakkuk had his breakthrough. It was not the one he asked for. I think he was like, could you just not let the Babylonians show up? You know, his land was going to be invaded. God was not going to relent and give Habakkuk a nice and calm, happy life where he could sit in the sun and eat grapes. Babylon was coming and soon within Habakkuk’s lifetime. So what has changed? It’s not like God said yes, the way Habakkuk would like. What’s changed has been his perspective because he wrestled with God and came to him and asked and complained and asked again because he did that seeking. And you know, Jesus says, if you seek me with all your heart and you will find me, God came and Habakkuk was changed as he saw God’s glory with his own eyes.
So, so cool. Did anything in that part completely stand out to you in any way? I’ve got a couple, but I don’t want to steal the ball if there was something.
I love that he’s, he’s watching all of this and he’s like, I hear, and my body trembles, my lips, quiver at the sound, rottenness enters my bones and my legs tremble beneath me. Yet, I will wait quietly for the day of trouble to come upon.There’s so many times… I just, I read that I had tears in my eyes because I relate to that. There’s so many times when you see trouble coming or you see a trial coming and it’s with trembling legs that you look at God and go okay God, I’m weak. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to go through this, but I will wait. I will wait for you. And I love that connection to him in this.
You know what I do too? I was struck by the same thing and the rottenness entering the bones, I think was like, my legs are sinking. I cannot stand. You know, they’re all just weak because what, you know, what I’m seeing. And that’s a pretty common reaction. Daniel fell down as though dead. Most people do when they see visions.
This is quite a vision. That’s not something that you see every day, you know?
Exactly, exactly. And the response is kind of, a ‘stunned-ness’ because it’s so foreign, you know, to see something like that would be so foreign to everything our brain even knew how to process.
So, but even in that trembling, you’re right. Even in the scaredness, he’s gonna wait and that God will come through. I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon the people who will invade us. It’s going to happen. I’m going to wait for it. Even though before that happens I may not get the life I want. In fact, I probably won’t.
So, but he’s seen the living God and people who have seen the living God are changed.
You know, I think of Job too. Job goes through all these, to me, completely legitimate complaints after he loses every single thing on the planet. And then at the end, when God speaks, God basically is like, who are you? This is what I have done and shows his majesty and Job just shuts up. You know, that ‘be silent’ thing happens again.
What can you say in the face of God, you know?
Yes, yes. As much as we think we know him as much as he describes himself to us in so many ways, Nicole, there’s still that veil. Y.
When we see him, it is going to be more than we can imagine.
Oh, I know.
It just is. And it’s going to be so worth every single hard thing; it’s going to be just amazing. So, so I wonder how often I miss chances to see and meet with God because I give up too quickly and don’t search for him wholeheartedly, like Habakkuk.
Yeah. That’s a great question.
It’s really convicted me that he waited, that he watched, that he climbed the towers that he kept asking that even when God answered him, he asked again in different ways. I feel that if God wants more than anything, our love and relationship with us, he wants us to go so close to him all the time in hard times and good times and Habakkuk really models that even in the frustrating-est of times that he’s gone to God and then, whoa, God showed up. God showed up.
Yeah, he did. Habakkuk was faithful in his staying with God and his talking to him with his complaints, with his praises, with everything. Like he went to God with everything that came to his mind and that you can see that he had a relationship with God. It wasn’t just, Oh, I’m in trouble. So I’m going to pray to you. The way he spoke with God. He, he knew God. He knew God from the past, from remembering his faithfulness, from saying, Oh God, you did this and you are this. Please do this. There is a, just a beautiful relationship that you can see that he had with God.
Yes. He knew that even in God’s wrath, he might show mercy, you know, that kind of thing. He did.
Yeah, and in the end Habakkuk lands on what matters is knowing God. Whether he gets grapes or not, whether there’s food, whether they’re sheltered. That in the end, you know, Job said naked I came into the world. Naked I leave it. In the end it’s me and God.
Everything else is superfluous. And too often, we get so distracted by things that don’t last. And we forget that the absolute center and heart of who we are, has to be that we are his, and that our hope and our strength and our ability to climb on the heights like Habakkuk says, comes from him. So, and climbing on the heights. Can we just think about that for a minute? Because that is so beautiful a thought, that like a deer, I can scramble up the hardest mountain and, and raise my hands high on the top because I’m his, even if everything’s gone wrong because of him and Habakkuk, seems to land there quite beautifully at the end, you know., God, the Lord, is my strength.
Okay. Forget it. So the Babylonians have taken over. I can’t count on my country. God, the Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s. He makes me tread on my high places. Just lovely.
We’re going to look at one more short passage where we see again, this seeking thing. We give up so soon. We need to keep coming to God. And we see this refrain again from Jeremiah, the prophet that told Habakkuk, ‘hey, it’s going to happen, Babylon’s coming’.
So it’s in Jeremiah 29, 10 through 14. So can you read those passages? They’re kind of familiar, but sometimes we forget the context of them. So go ahead and read.
All right. For thus says the Lord, when 70 years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you. And I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your hearts, I will be found by you declares the Lord. And I will restore your fortunes and gather you all from the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord. And I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Isn’t that beautiful.
But there’s that ‘seek me with all your heart’.
God wants our adoration. God wants our love. He, he doesn’t want third place.
He wants first place. You know, we need to seek him with all our hearts. So I whole ministry is based on the sure belief that we are changed and able to cope with the hard of life when we know God more. That’s the whole thing. Our little slogan is taking the time to know God and then love him more and more. So even in the hard, we can know God. This beautiful little book demonstrates this truth. It’s in knowing God that we get breakthrough and can receive and handle troubles that will come. It’s that simple. You got any other thoughts about Habakkuk?
The very end. Let’s see, God, the Lord, okay, just his end declaration. What he ends on. I just, it just blows me away and kind of brought tears to my eyes again, because his hope and his declaration that God is his strength is coming out of his mouth as he is still in the trouble. Whereas he knows the trouble is coming. God didn’t change his circumstances. He didn’t set Habakkuk aside and say, you’ll be saved from all of this. He’s like, it’s coming and I’m here. And he praises God in that. And he’s saying that God is his joy and salvation with his body trembling. But his heart knows that God is faithful and that he will carry Habakkuk through what’s to come. And I just, I just love that. That gives so much hope to me. You know, as we face all our craziness, that God is with us through all of that.
Amen. Amen. So Sweet Selah Moments, listener. How is it with you? Are you walking through something hard right now? Does God seem far away? Don’t give up, press in, pray and pray and pray again. Remember, as Habakkuk did, the reports you have heard of the Lord. Meet with him long enough that your heart is stilled and your ears are able to hear, Remember that God wins. That every hard thing will someday be seen to have fit somehow in his great and good plans. Remember that he holds you closely no matter what. Oh how we pray, both of us, that you will have breakthrough in your lives. And that we will have breakthrough in ours as we continue to pray. I’m going to close now. And I’m actually going to use Habakkuk three 16 through 19 as a guide as we pray for all of us.
So, Oh father, God, we hear of you. And it can make our bodies tremble. Our lips, quiver, our legs can tremble beneath us. And yet we choose to wait quietly for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. To wait quietly Lord for you to resolve the hard things and Father God, we declare to you that though the fig tree should not blossom nor fruit be on the fines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food. The flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls. Yet. We will still rejoice in you Lord.
We will still take joy in the God of our salvation. God, you are our strength. You are able to make our feet like the deer. You are able to make us tread on our high places, how we praise you and thank you that you never leave us or forsake us. In Jesus name. Amen.
Amen, Sharon, this has been such a great series on prayer. I know we have both learned so much about prayer and we hope you have to dear listener. Leave us a firstname.lastname@example.org/podcasts and tell us what God has shown you about praying for the good and the bad times. We love hearing from you all. Please share this podcast with others who may need to hear from God about praying through pain. Don’t forget to join us next time for episode 13, we will be looking at a new way to obey an old command. We call it Sabbath-ing. Take care friends.
Speaker 1 (27:45):
We are so glad you stopped for awhile with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for joining us.
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