A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet on Shigionoth.…
This chapter presents to us God in three aspects, as devoutly addressed, as poetically portrayed, and as triumphantly enjoyed.
I. IT WAS COMPOSED FOR GENERAL USE. It is not an extemporaneous address; it is a settled form of devotion. Pre-arranged forms of devotion are both scriptural and expedient. There is a set form given to the priests for blessing the people in Numbers 6:2, 3. Psalm 92. is called a psalm for the Sabbath, and Psalms 102. a prayer for the afflicted. Hezekiah commanded the Levites to "praise the Lord in the words of David and of Asaph the seer," which is Psalm 106. And Christ Himself gave His disciples a form of prayer. Whilst it is scriptural it is also expedient. To get a whole congregation into the channel of devotion, a pro-arranged form seems desirable.
II. IT WAS IN PROSPECT OF A TERRIBLE CALAMITY. "O Lord, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid." Terrible was the calamity now looming on the vision of the prophet. The Chaldean army was approaching; the ruthless troops would soon be in his country, sack Jerusalem its metropolis, and bear his countrymen away into captivity. In view of this the prayer is addressed. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble," etc. Surely, if men fully realised the predicted judgments that will fall on this world, prayer would be the habitude of their souls.
III. IT WAS FOR A REVIVAL OF DIVINE WORK. "Revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy." Kiel thus renders the passage — "Jehovah, Thy work in the midst of Thy years call to life, in the midst of the years make it known." This may mean, Perfect the work of delivering Thy people; let not Thy promise lie as it were dead, give it new life by performing it. Do it now, in the midst of the years, when our calamities are at their height, when Thy wrath seems to be at high tide and terrible. Now "revive Thy work." Three thoughts are suggested —
1. The work of human deliverance is the work of God.
2. This work of God may appear to decline.
3. This decline of God's work can only be overcome by His intervention. "Revive Thy work."
Parallel VersesKJV: A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.