In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations. You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding. You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters. – Habakkuk 3:12-15
Well that was a quick float through Habakkuk. The is the last water passage of the book as far as I can tell. If I were to sum up the entire book into one sentence it would be “remember who is Boss (God)”.
In this passage God is striding about “threshing nations”. This is an interesting way to describe the wrath of God. I typically picture plagues and pestilence as “wrath of God” stuff. Threshing implies a purposeful pummeling, i.e. to separate the grain from the chaff if this is referring to the kind of threshing with which I am familiar. This idea is born out by the next sentence where Habakkuk says “You came out to deliver your people”, with the “You” being God.
Then the passage gets really interesting in that part of what God will do to “deliver His people” is to “save your anointed one”. This sounds like a reference to Jesus to me, a reflection of Him, and the strange work that He came to accomplish. Then the wrath of God turns from deliverance to something more akin to the violence in the movie Deliverance.
“You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot”. This could certainly be a reference to an earthly king or ruler of the time, but it also would describe the deceiver, or the king of this land of wickedness we call earth. The passage goes on to say “With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us”. This sounds like a prophetic reference to an actual battle rather than a metaphorical reference. Presumably the “us” is the people of Israel.
Near the end of the passage comes the water reference “You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters”. This seems like a murky metaphor. How can horses trample the sea? I suppose if they could it would probably “churn up the sea”. This seems like a reference to the Red Sea parting to me, but I could be wrong. In that case the “you” here would be the invader and the their trampling the sea would be more like trampling the sea bed until the waters closed in on them to their doom.
I am struggling to extract hidden wisdom from this passage, perhaps it is one of those passages that I just float by and admire the scenery.
Prayer: God thank You for coming to deliver us in a powerful and mysterious way.