Revival of the Lord's Work
Habakkuk 3:2
O LORD, I have heard your speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive your work in the middle of the years…

This prophecy was probably written during the reign of the good King Josiah, who attempted a serious religious reformation. It proved to be only partial and temporary. It was reluctant and counterfeit on the part of many of the people; as was evinced by their speedy return to idolatrous practices after the untimely death of the distinguished reformer. What was the "burden" the prophet saw? It was intimated to him that the decree of God was unalterable, and that the day of visitation was at hand; and the very people are named who should be the instrument of God's righteous judgments on treacherous Judah. Turn now to the exercise in which the prophet engaged, in the certain anticipation of national calamity. It was the exercise of prayer. In his prayer there were three special petitions. Although the condition of his countrymen was dangerous, and their banishment inevitable, yet so long as a remnant was preserved, their case was not desperate. If he could not see his friends reformed and regenerated in their native country, he would plead for their conversion in a foreign land. "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years." This is an earnest supplication for the revival of God's work of grace, in the hearts of His people, in the time of outward distress. Do this "in the midst of the years," that is, during the seventy years of captivity. While these melancholy years pass heavily along, let the work of repentance commence; let the tears of godly sorrow flow. The second petition is, "In the midst of the years make known." Make known Thy character, and perfection, and grace, during the years of captivity, to those now estranged from Thee. If they were unmindful of Thee in the time of prosperity; in the day of adversity let them consider. Make Thy faithfulness known as a God still in covenant with them, as still willing to be reconciled to them. The third petition is, "In wrath remember mercy." Wrath is incurred, judgment is threatened, the sword is unsheathed, and vengeance must be inflicted. But see how the man of God perseveres in prayer. If judgment may not be altogether averted, it may be mitigated. We must bear the indignation of the Lord, in submitting to slavery in a foreign land, and in being deprived of the soul-refreshing ordinances of religion. But, gracious Father, "in wrath remember mercy." It were easy to prove that all the petitions in this prayer were literally and remarkably fulfilled. That there was a revival of religion during the captivity, may be proved from the grateful and devout sentiments of the captives in the announcement of their enlargement. "When the Lord turned again the captivity," etc. We find a confirmation also in the character of those who returned from Babylon. God had evidently granted them, in the words of Ezra, "a little reviving"; and their first care on their return to Palestine was to rebuild the temple, which was lying in ruins. And as a decisive proof that the prayer of the prophet had received a gracious answer during the captivity, we find that the Jews were henceforward cured of what may be called their hereditary and besetting sin — the degrading and God-dishonouring sin of idolatry. The second part of the prophet's prayer was not less clearly answered. Was not much made known to Ezekiel, by the spirit of prophecy, during the captivity? Was not much made known to Daniel? Behold then the efficacy and fruit of prayer. The third part of the prayer was as remarkably answered as the other two parts. "In wrath remember mercy" In every circumstance that tended to mitigate the rigour of their bondage, God was fulfilling the prayer of the prophet. Learn —

1. That sin incurs the displeasure of God.

2. That prayer is the only way of averting the judgments of God.

3. That the extension of religious knowledge is the only rational means for effecting a national reformation.

4. That while Jehovah is the Supreme Governor of the universe, religion is His great work in the world.

(James Glen, A. M.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

WEB: Yahweh, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds, Yahweh. Renew your work in the midst of the years. In the midst of the years make it known. In wrath, you remember mercy.

Revival in the Midst of the Years
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