Habakkuk: In Wrath, Remember Mercy!

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O 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.” (Habakkuk 3:1-2)

It is a good thing to always approach the LORD with a spirit of reverence and respect. The Bible calls this fear. It means to stand in awe and to revere the LORD.

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 9:10 says, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! It is therefore right to conclude that the fear of the LORD is central to wisdom, or a proper understanding of applying Scripture to one’s life situations.

Habakkuk, who could be accused of approaching the LORD with a spirit of arrogance and pride, now does so with reverence. He fears the LORD: not only because of who He is but also because of what He does and has promised to do.

Habakkuk then prays that as the years continue that the LORD would revive this spirit of fear. Habakkuk does not want to forget what it means to reverence and to stand in awe of the LORD. To revive means to keep the spirit of fear alive and to recover it from the ill condition of forgetfulness.

Habakkuk also requests that God would make such fear and reverence known. The prophet asks that God would reveal and bring forth such awe in the lives of His people.

Finally, Habakkuk asks the LORD that He would remember mercy in His display of wrath. Within the context, wrath is God’s divine displeasure towards sinners and their sin. In this particular case, with the Nation of Judah. Mercy is God’s love and compassion. Habakkuk asked God to combine His righteous wrath and divine judgement with His love and compassion.

This is what God did at Calvary. He poured out His righteous wrath upon Jesus and then extended His loving and compassionate mercy towards us who deserved His wrath. When the LORD brought me to an understanding of this divine initiative, I was filled with reverential fear and awe.

As one commentator explains, “The LORD has determined that no one who does evil impenitently can stand forever. We must hear this word in our day. A nation that has experienced great blessing, such as the United States, will not endure if it rejects the Lord of hosts, even if God has used that nation to do good for the world.

May the LORD’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!



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