When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself…
We know things which do tremble that they may rest — the magnet, the planet, the bird, the heart. Do not regard this text as any melancholy and prophetic foreboding. It is a wise repression of a too vehement self-consciousness — the assurance that our labour is not guaranteed by our present exuberance, but by a wise and thoughtful fear. Wise fear is forethought and safety. This prayer of Habakkuk grounds the hope of future mercy on the remembrance of the past; it is the history of a state of humbled feeling, and a hope from this to rest in the day of trouble.
I. THE PRINCIPLE OF FEAR IS EXCITED BY THE SENSE OF GOD. Job said, "When I consider, I am afraid of Him." When we think wisely and thoughtfully of God we may well tremble. It is the dictate of natural religion.
II. THERE IS A USE IN THIS TREMBLING WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT RECOGNISES. The apostle says, "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men"; and this is ever the effect of this. Fear not to paralyse. There is a wise and healthy trembling. We are often shaken by undefined terrors. There seems nothing to make us afraid; but the spirit is overwhelmed — all within us sinks. You may tremble beneath some highly wrought sermon; but this is different to trembling beneath the Spirit's touch of power.
III. WHAT IS THE ISSUE? Rest in the day of trouble. Holy fear is the guardian of the soul; it bears us into real life, into a soothed life. This trembling is a sense of the soul, the vision and knowledge of the soul, — it is all the soul, — it is within, it is ourselves. And as we tremble so we rest. Rest in the day of trouble means that a kingdom of peace is set up in our soul
(E. Paxton Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.
WEB: I heard, and my body trembled. My lips quivered at the voice. Rottenness enters into my bones, and I tremble in my place, because I must wait quietly for the day of trouble, for the coming up of the people who invade us.