O LORD, I have heard your speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive your work in the middle of the years…
Following closely upon Jeremiah, Habakkuk was face to face with the woes which were hastening for the dissolution of the kingdom of Judah. He, more than any other of the prophets, represents the perplexities, not of the nation, but of the individual soul, the peculiar trial which tormented so many exalted spirits of his day. He saw with grief the increasing contrast of sin and prosperity, innocence and suffering — this was his burden. It is essentially personal: he takes it all upon himself. Our text is always a good, a wise, a necessary prayer. The work of the Lord is never so forward that we need not pray, for its further advance. But what is to be said about the movement known as Revivalism"? It begins with, and proceeds upon the assumption that man can only be reconciled to God in one particular way. It recognises but one type of religion, and that the most delusive one. It repudiates the idea that God is ever pleased with a dutiful, earnest, moral life. It regards as positively dangerous a mere intellectual grasp of the Christian faith. Revivalism tells you that, unless at a certain time, and at a certain place, and under conditions that you can recall and define, you have undergone an emotional process which has changed the whole drift of your life, and given you an assurance of nearness to God hitherto unfelt, you are not a Christian at all. Revivalism confronts you like a spiritual footpad, and holds to your head the pistol of modern pharisaism: "Are you a Christian? Is your soul saved? Have you found the Lord?" The answer involves an awful alternative. You must either surrender the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free to the monstrous claims of this pretentious crusade, or consent to be branded as an outcast from the flock of the Good Shepherd. This barrier of separation between converted and unconverted has no sanction to which any follower of Jesus Christ is called upon to submit. We must not, however, cease to pray, "O Lord, revive Thy work." Revive it, O Lord, in politics, in public life, in commerce, in trade, in toil of every kind, so that in all places and at all times men shall realise Thy presence.
(R. H. Haddew, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.