God Marching

When we see a battalion of soldiers on the march, how it stirs the emotions. How much more so if you are in a country under attack, like Ukraine is at the moment.

In our text this week the prophet pictures God on the march throughout the earth in the cause of justice.

Photo by Yogendra Singh

Habakkuk 3:12 ESV

‘You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger.’


The term, march, as in our text verse, is frequently used to describe military campaigns with the purpose of carrying out judgment. 

According to Clarke’s Commentary,  “This refers to the conquest of Canaan. God is represented as going at the head of his people as general-in-chief, and leading them on from conquest to conquest.”

He adds, you threshed the nations in anger.”  this can be likened to what oxen do to the sheaves on the threshing floor.

The commentator Smith asks the question, “Who did He thresh? Was this a reference to the church?”

Smith continues, “No. That’s inconsistent with God. The great judgment is directed against the heathen, not against God’s people . . . You see indignation and His wrath upon the heathen. But for His people, salvation; that is, deliverance.” (Smith’s Commentary)


Here in this verse, the term march is referring to God’s awesome unhindered progress as He leads His people onward in their victory against their enemies.

“When you, LORD, went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water.” (Judges 5:4 NIV)

“Wait until you hear a sound like troops marching through the tops of the trees. Then attack quickly! That sound will mean I have marched out ahead of you to fight the Philistine army.” (2 Samuel 5:24 CEV)

God, when you took the lead with your people, when you marched out into the wild, (Psalms 68:7 The Message). (Bold mine.)


Threshing in the verse refers to the way a farmer threshes his wheat. God separates His children from those who are lost, as the wheat is separated from the chaff.

John the Baptist prophesied concerning the Messiah, “He has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.” (Matthew 3:18 GNB)

Jesus took up this same concept in the parable He told of the wheat and the weeds.

A man sowed good seed in his field. One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. The man’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from?’ ‘It was some enemy who did this,’ the owner answered. ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’ the servants asked. ‘No, because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them. Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.’ ” (from Matthew 13:24b-30 GNB)

Jesus went on to say, “. . . . the same thing will happen at the end of the age: the Son of Man will send out his angels to gather up out of his Kingdom all those who cause people to sin and all others who do evil things, and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth. (Matthew 13:40b – 42 GNB)

  • When Jesus looks upon you what does He see? Wheat or Weeds?
  • If you have given your life to Him, He sees wheat. No matter how you may feel about yourself, if you belong to Jesus, you are wheat—and He will separate you from Satan’s weeds.


The enemy Jesus alluded to in the above story is none other than Satan.

Have you ever watched the movements of a chameleon? It changes colour to that of whatever it is resting on so that it is invisible to its prey. Satan has the same ability to take on another form, one which we will not fear. Paul warned the Corinthian believers that “Even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Satan and his emissaries are very active in the world. They often don’t march around waving banners. His followers may even be hidden within the membership of the church. The weeds that Jesus spoke about will always be there, maybe undetected by you and I, but known to God. Jesus assured us that God will deal with them at the end of the age. 

Our role is not to determine who we think are wheat or weeds. Our role is to concentrate on allowing the Holy Spirit free reign in our lives so that we will grow more like Christ. That we may look like healthy wheat.

“God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.” (Galatians 5:22,23 CEV)


We are in that period of the year known as Lent. Easter is only a short time away. So in the Church we begin to focus less on Jesus the teacher and miracle worker. Instead, we focus more on the Christ of Calvary. We remember how God, in the form of His Son Jesus Christ, marched into our world to rescue us from the penalty of sin.

In closing, this study won’t you pray along with me now?

Loving Heavenly Father I thank You for the amazing love You demonstrated when You sent Jesus into our world as our Saviour.

Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your life here on earth, for Your teachings. Above all else, I thank You for going to that cruel cross to take upon Yourself the burden of my sinfulness. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to help me live life to God’s glory.

Holy Spirit please grow in me those characteristics which will turn me  into healthy wheat. Amen


If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.



Mountains Scattered?

Habakkuk 3:6 ESV

‘He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways.’

Mountains have been split or shaken by an earthquake or a volcano, but ‘scattered’?

Habakkuk says ‘the eternal mountains were scattered.’ What on earth did he mean?

Photo by Eriks Cistovs:


The prophet imagines God on the move. As He advances, Habakkuk pictures God stopping suddenly to measure the earth.

  • Does this not seem strange to you when we know that God created the earth in the first place?

The explanation becomes a lot clearer as we examine some of the other translations.

Several translations do not use the word ‘measured’:

  • Earth Shook –  Contemporary English Version; New International Readers Version
  • Earth shakes – Good News Bible; Message
  • Shook the land (earth)- International Standard Version; New International Version
  • One commentator Franz Maurer a German Protestant theologian, provides a different interpretation viz, “rocked the earth”; which ties in with the next part of the verse “shook the nations.”

God’s Judgement

God’s judgement is so fearsome that it even affects nature.

“Mountains were scattered” (ASV; ESV; KJV) Other versions have:

  • Shattered – GNB; ISV; LITV; MKJV
  • Fall to pieces – Message
  • Crumbled – CEV; NIrV; NIV

. “hills sank low.” Several versions have similar wording but others interestingly have ‘hills did bow’ (ASV) ‘bowed down’ (ISV; LITV; MKJV) ‘did bow’ (KJV).

Habakkuk was actually issuing a very firm warning of the pending judgement upon both Judah and Babylon

What God Says About Measuring

God does have a lot to say about measuring in the Bible.

He provides his children with very definite instructions with regards to the use of weights and measures.

“Use honest scales and don’t cheat when you weigh or measure anything.” (Leviticus 19:35 CEV)

“If you weigh and measure things honestly, the LORD your God will let you enjoy a long life in the land he is giving you.”(Deuteronomy 25:15 CEV)

Eternal and Everlasting

The mountains are eternal and everlasting in the sense that they have not moved. They have remained in the same place from the very foundation of the world.

The apostle John in his revelation of the last days says, “When I saw the Lamb open the sixth seal, I looked and saw a great earthquake.…..Then the sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all mountains and islands were moved from their places.” (Revelation 6:12,14 CEV)

Habakkuk 3:6 in a sense is a foreshadowing of the last days. He tells us, these mountains and hills that were from the beginning of the creation have never moved. Yet, one day they will tremble or shake under the judgemental power of God.

Similarly, Judges 5:5 says, “Mountains tremble at the presence of the LORD.”

Scripture records that even Mt Sinai shook—at the presence of the LORD God of Israel.” (Exodus 19:18 ISV)

Everlasting ways

A keyword from our text is also in a popular Christmas verse:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:60)

  • What comes to mind when you hear of a God who is everlasting? 
  • What are some of God’s everlasting ways?

For example, God’s ways are everlasting in that He is constantly saving His people. What he has done in history he can do again and again. His power, his provision, his wisdom, and his grace, never change. Yesterday, today and forever God is still the same. 

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.” (Psalm 145:13a NIV)

All He does in time, every action he takes, is according to his plans, purposes, and decrees, and they will come to pass. Everything is subject to his control. Nothing can happen without his permission.

Even Satan is bound by God’s will as we noted in the last session. (Refer to Job 1 & 2 as a recap).


Earlier on we looked at the use of the word ‘measured’.

With this in mind, read the following:

  1. “Haven’t you heard? The LORD is the eternal God, Creator of the earth. He never gets weary or tired; his wisdom cannot be measured.” (Isaiah 40:28 CEV)
  2. “….because of Christ, there are blessings that cannot be measured.” (Ephesians 3:8)
  3. “I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured.” (Ephesians 3:19)
  • What three qualities of God are mentioned in these Scriptures?
  • What do they have in common?

Christ’s love is so beyond measure, that He was prepared to sacrifice His life for us.

From Everlasting to Everlasting

Mohammed and Buddha were each born on a particular day, and their lives ended on specific dates.

The Greek and Roman gods were a figment of man’s imagination so they never lived at all. 

By contrast, Christ existed eternally. He was born on earth and lived as a human being for over thirty years. He was crucified and died. But on the third day, after His death, he rose again. After forty days He ascended back into heaven to continue His eternal existence.

Our God is from everlasting to everlasting.

  1. “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2 ASV)
  2. “But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,...” (Psalm 103:17 ESV)
  3. “Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” (Nehemiah 9:5 NIV)

In my youth group days (and that was a very long time ago!) a popular song we used to sing was ‘Yesterday, today, forever Jesus is the same.” based on Hebrews 13:8. Do you know this song? It reminds us that Jesus is always the same.

Isn’t it great to know that the God we serve is timeless? As we have noted the gods worshipped by some of the other religions and sects were men who were given the status as gods, but because they were mere mortals they had a limited lifetime.

Our God is alive forevermore.

Indeed why not take Nehemiah’s words to heart and spend some time in praise of our everlasting God. Perhaps you would like to sing along with that song Yesterday, today forever God is still the same.

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.

Judgement is Bad News, but there’s also Good!

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

“Who was the last person you spoke to? And what was the topic?”

I spoke to Shirl and asked her to read through this post, to make sure I had crossed all my t’s and dotted all my i’s! I am really enjoying this, my first dive into the blogging pool, but I still need my editor on hand!

So now, after that short Easter post, we return to the next  verse in our study:

Habakkuk 1:6 CEV

‘I am sending the Babylonians. They are fierce and cruel—
marching across the land, conquering cities and towns.’

Image by azboomer from Pixabay

Judgement on Judah

  • Can you think of a situation where wrongdoers appear to be free from judgement of their actions? Unfortunately, in the land where I live, this would be an easy question to answer! But what can you think of?

God informed Habakkuk that He would deal with the situation so quickly and amazingly that the prophet would be taken aback (verse 5). He went on to state that He intended to use the evil Babylonians (Chaldeans) to punish Judah.

The mighty Chaldeans ruled Babylon from 625 to 539 B.C.

Habakkuk’s probable expectation was that God would rescue Judah from the impending invasion by the Chaldeans. That made sense. Then God would surely pass judgement on that evil nation for its horrific expansion programme.

Habakkuk was not ready for God’s answer.

Unfair judgement?

God often begins His judgement on sin with the people of God. God desires our salvation from sin and will use whatever means is necessary to achieve that goal, and what will be best for us in the long run.

  • Do you think it is fair when someone is condemned for the evil actions of another?  Why or why not?
  • Do you recall a time in your childhood when you were wrongly punished for something a sibling or friend did?
  • What about the other way around? Was your sibling or friend ever punished for something you did? Did you own up?
  • Can you think of a recent situation in which a wrongdoer got off scot-free while the innocent party got punished?
    • How do you think the situation should have been handled?

God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men. Click To Tweet

God’s Judgement

Matthew Henry in his commentary on this section of Habakkuk states, “The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing ungodliness and violence prevail.

He goes on to say, “We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

The news media these days is full of violence and atrocities taking place all over the world. Therefore we can readily identify with Matthew Henry’s commentary that as the children of God our longing is for heaven, the place where “holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us.”

  • What might God’s reasons be for not taking action against bad people?
  • Sometimes it feels as if He doesn’t notice those of us who are trying to do good. Why do you think that might be?
  • Can you think of someone you regard as a good person who seems to be going through a very difficult time at the moment?
    • Is there something you can do to ease their burden?

Why God reserves judgement

“The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.” (2 Peter 3:9 CEV)

Read that verse again, several times.

We do feel that it is unfair for the righteous to suffer while those who are living ungodly lifestyles seem to be getting off scot-free.  That’s the bad news. But the good news, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9, is that God is patient. And He wants everyone to turn from sin and not be lost.

That means the bad guys!

And it definitely means you and me—’cos we’re the good guys, right?

The Lord’s desire is for everyone to turn from sin and be saved through faith in Christ.

Can you think of someone who is, at this point, rejecting salvation, and is in need of saving? Don’t share publicly, but make a note of that person,  and make him or her a prayer project.


P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together