Habakkuk - The Musical Prophet

Monday, April 26, 2010 (Edited 2/12/2011)



Toward the end of the Old Testament, we come across a book in the minor prophets in which we discover the musical expression of a preacher named Habakkuk. The book of Habakkuk contains many stern warnings for the people of Judah. Like many of the prophets, he paints a picture of terrible judgements that will fall upon the wicked, those who turn their backs on God, and those who seek to oppress the people of God.

There are many passages in Habakkuk that have become well-known because of their succinct presentation of deep truth, and made famous by such men as Martin Luther:
  • "The just shall live by his faith." (2:4)
  • "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink." (2:15)
  • "The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." (2:20)
  • "O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years." (3:2)
However, the book of Habakkuk ends differently than any other book of prophecy. Chapter 3 is a prayer offered up in the form of a song. The last verse even states that the preacher played upon stringed instruments.
    "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. 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. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. 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." (vss 1-16)
And then, I love the ending of Habakkuk's song. It reminds me of that wonderful passage in the book of Job where Job states:
    "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21b)
What a beautiful attitude for every child of God to exhibit:
    "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon min high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments." (Habakkuk 3:17-19)



Curtis Hollembeak


Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.