“I Will Work A Work In Your Days” By Frances Metcalfe
The first chapter opens with a crying heart. Out of the midst of a vision of terrible wickedness and violence, the prophet calls upon the Lord, O Lord how long shall I cry… and Thou wilt not save? Does that cry find an echo in your praying heart today?
How quickly the Lord answers Him, and us. Behold ye among the heathen, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days. Then God gives to him a picture of judgment. A bitter and hasty nation arises which marches through the breadth of the land, possessing dwelling places that are not theirs. Not only does this army march, but their horses are described as being fiercer than wolves and swifter than eagles, flying to eat the prey!
Habakkuk interrupts this horrible picture to cry out in faith: O Lord my God, mine Holy One, we shall not die. O Lord, Thou hast ordained them for judgment; and O mighty God, Thou has established them for correction. Judgment correction – so far, and no farther! God is still on the Throne!
“Intervene,” cries the prophet. Spare the righteous. He asks for and expects an answer from the Lord.
Throughout the world today, the Spirit-controlled intercessors are repeating this cry. We too ask, and we, too, expect an answer from heaven.
Habakkuk was not disappointed, nor shall we be. I will stand upon my watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me. Praise His Name!
The Lord still answers those who cry and watch in the prayer-tower. God’s answer was not for the prophet’s ears alone, but was for all who would hear. He must give the word to the people, and so too must we.
“Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie.”
The Leeser translation, from the Hebrew, makes this more explicit. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, and it speaketh of the end, and will not deceive. Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
How significant that the it is changed to in the book of Hebrews, where we read in chapter 10:37: he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. This quotation identifies this word with the return of Christ.
In Hab. 2:4, we find the first utterance of the battle cry of the Reformation, The just shall live by faith, repeated in Romans 1:17. Martin Luther was gripped by these six little words, and shook the nations with them in the 16th century. Justification by faith alone, through grace, shall likewise save multitudes in the 21st century!
Descending from the height of this tremendous revelation, the prophet describes the final end of those who have dealt such death and destruction upon many nations. “Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee?… Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee. We shall soon see this word fulfilled in connection with those who have wrought great havoc. He ends the chapter with a trumpet call to the nations. The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
WRATH AND MERCY
In chapter three we come to one of the most beautiful portions in all literature. The prophet, anointed with the Holy Spirit, bursts forth with a magnificent psalm of prayer and prophecy. This prayer was recorded at the Throne of Grace and is sure to be answered! 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.
The one concern of the prophet’s heart was that the Lord’s work should not suffer loss, because of violence and judgment in the earth.
This should be the consuming passion of the praying saints today, that the Gospel should not suffer loss, because of the turmoil in the earth. O, that is some way, in the midst of the years of wrath, there might come a mighty manifestation of mercy and grace.
This one verse alone is sufficient authority for praying and expecting a revival in the midst of judgment. The rendering of this verse in the Leeser translation is poignant with meaning. O Lord, I have heard Thy fame, and was afraid, O Lord revive Thy work (here there is a break in his utterance). In the midst of the years of sorrow revive Thou it in the midst of the years make it (God’s work) known!
Then in vision, the prophet was shown the answer to his prayer, and in this prophecy we have a picture of the Revival. God came from Teman The R. V. and Leeser render this, and to the end of the chapter, not came, but cometh, the future tense! Teman means south-land, or wilderness.
God comes to His people in the midst of spiritual drought. Who is she that cometh out of the wilderness leaning upon the arm of her beloved? he must meet His Church where she is, and bring her out upon His arm. And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Paran means to glow, to be bright and illuminated. Praise God for the wonderful light which is manifest even now to those who are preparing for the Harvest Rain.
His brightness was like the sunlight, rays streamed forth out of His side.(Leeser). This closely fits Malachi’s word concerning the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings.
The next line is very significant. There was a hiding of His power. A secret revelation, to his chosen ones; a mighty working of His Spirit, which is even now in operation! Hidden now, soon to be manifest!
Still quoting from Leeser, Before Him went the pestilence, and fiery bolts went forth at His feet. Pestilence with war! He stood forward and made the earth to tremble. He looked and dispersed nations… the ways of the world are His. Thous didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation. Thy bow was made quite bare… the paths to the tribes were a sure word. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. Streams in the desert rivers and floods in the wilderness!
“Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even for victory, with Thine anointed” (shall we be in that number?). Surely this is a great manifestation of salvation and deliverance brought by the direct intervention of the Lord, through His anointed ones!
In the midst of world-wide judgment, here is a world-wide visitation of salvation! Habakkuk ends this prophecy with a song of praise. Looking forward to this triumphant work, he rejoices, even though he finds himself in a period of being unfruitful and drought. We, too, may join in this victory song, rejoicing in the hope that in the midst of the years of wrath, we shall see the fulfillment of this prophecy, and by the grace of God, actually participate in bringing it to pass!
“Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will exult in the God of my salvation, for the Lord eternal is my strength, and maketh my feet fleet as those of the hinds, He will cause me to tread on the high places.” Glory!