The conclusion to the book of Habakkuk shows us how all who trust in Jehovah can respond to every trial in life. Even the great calamity announced to Habakkuk (overwhelming desolation of God’s people by the Babylonians) can be calmly awaited by his saints. But what does the faith that overcomes all difficulties look like? How is true faith demonstrated in the life of a believer?
Habakkuk’s concluding resolution is a demonstration of a living faith. His godly response to impending danger became a song to be sung by the Jews and is still useful to us Christians on a daily basis. You too may similarly demonstrate your living faith, and here’s how:
1) Fear God (Hab 3: 16a). The Lord looks to him who is humble and contrite in heart, and who trembles at his Word (Isaiah 66:2 ). The reason to fear is that God will have mercy upon whom he will (Rom 9:15). With the Lord alone there is forgiveness of sins, therefore all men will surely fear him (Psalm 130:4). Godly fear turns you from sin because you perceive God’s majesty and power in his Word.
2) Submit to God (Hab 3: 16d). His promises are for you to believe, they are for your hope and comfort. His commandments are his rule for your life, for you to cheerfully and conscientiously obey. Whatever good or evil that comes to pass is all God’s work of providence and so must be experienced by you quietly and without grumbling or complaining. Faith without full submission to God is idolatry and presumption; if you truly worship God you will gladly submit.
3) Rejoice in God (Hab 3: 17 - 19). God is your God forever, and his saving grace abides with you despite the loss of every earthly comfort and necessity. Time and circumstances will change, but your joy and strength in the Lord need not weaken. No, but God will certainly have you to be more than a conqueror through him who loved you (Romans 8: 37). “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). Habakkuk concludes his song in a note of redounding victory, and so can you!
Don’t wait for calamity to overtake you before resolving to live by faith. Each day brings enough trouble. Make it your practice to fear, submit, and rejoice before your covenant God day by day. Those who do not live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are likely to succumb to despair and defeat when God brings temporal judgement, but “the righteous will live by faith” (Rom 1:17). Did he not warn us that his coming will be as in Noah’s day? (Matt 24: 37, 38). “Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters they shall not reach him.” (Psalm 30:4).
Pastor Lou Veiga
This writing comes by reflecting on Elder Jeremy Thomas’ sermon on Habakkuk 3: 16-19, preached at Covenant PCA on March 13, 2022.