“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah! 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.” (Habakkuk 3:3-5)
Throughout the Old and New Testament, there are times when God’s spokespersons review the history of God’s work among His people. These occasions offer a panorama of biblical history, particularly regarding God’s work in the Old Testament. Specific examples of these songs and messages of remembrance include The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32), The Covenant Renewal at Shechem (Joshua 24), and Stephen’s Sermon (Acts 7).
Another fitting example is found in Habakkuk 3:3-16. In this next to final section of this prophetical book, the prophet outlines the faithfulness of God through the centuries of Israel’s history since their Exodus from Egypt. Though Israel became faithless on many occasions, the LORD remained trustworthy, committed to His people, dependable and worthy of worship, honor and praise.
Habakkuk 3:3 says, “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah! His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.” The word “splendor” in the Hebrews literally means weight, power, majesty and authority. In other words, splendor refers to the Shekinah glory of God. Shekinah is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “settling” and means the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God.
Teman, named after a grandson of Esau, was an Edomite city (Amos 1:12; Obad. 9). Mount Paran was located in the Sinai Peninsula. Both refer to the places where God displayed great power when He brought Israel into the Land of Canaan (cf. Deut. 33:2; Judg. 5:4).
Habakkuk 3:4 says, “His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.” It is interesting to note that Teman and Paran are barren dessert regions in which there is very little growth or shade to block the sun’s brightness. However, the glory of the LORD surpasses even the created brightness and glory of the sun.
Habakkuk 3:5 says, “Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels.” Habakkuk recalled the judgment following Israel’s disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant God gave at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 5:3; Num. 14:12; Deut. 28:21–22; 32:24), Habakkuk emphasized the sovereignty of God’s judgments. Both the LORD’s glory and judgment were a part of His divine presence.
Are you consciously aware of the glory of God throughout your day? Are you conscious of the substantiveness of His divine being? If not, then ask the God to give you an increasing sense of His presence as you contend with the world, the flesh and the devil. Do not allow the attractive temptations to sin dull your senses to the glorious presence of God.
May the LORD’s grace and truth be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!