The prophet's subject is famine, but he finds joy even in that! Does this not apply to today (Amos 8:11-12)? Though a famine of true Christianity stalks the land, though everything seems to be gone, we can rejoice in God. Though circumstances reach their lowest ebb, and things seem to be so out of kilter to the way that we think they should go, we can have joy because He has promised to save us—and He will. He has assured us many times, "Just endure this period of trial. Trust in Me."
Verse 19 returns to imagery of the herald, the runner. A deer is known for its fleetness of foot and its ability to bound over any obstacle in its way. For us, running the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1), God is our strength. He enables us to overcome. He helps us to climb the high hills, an image of our reward in the Kingdom of God. God is our strength. He enables us to run and to leap over our obstacles. He is the One that will bring us our reward.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Chapter 3 is Habakkuk's prayer. The best part of this song is that it shows that Habakkuk truly grasped what God was teaching him. The song is a prayer, the response that he promised God in Habakkuk 2:1. After being greatly chastened, he tells God that he understood what He was saying.
One commentator called this section "the greatest expression of faith in all the Bible." Habakkuk is a good example of what a person of true faith does. He obeys God by listening. He waits patiently for God's answer to his dilemma, and he receives understanding. Then, he expresses his faith in this song.
We could almost compare it with Job's expression of faith in Job 42:2-6. Habakkuk finally sees God as He really is, and he expresses his joy and his faith that God is on his and Judah's side. In the same way, we could express our faith and joy that He is on our side and the church's side because we know Him.
The prophet goes through all the ways that God has worked on behalf of His people, particularly the Exodus. He admits that he had forgotten all these things. He realizes that, though they were not understood at the time, all these acts of God worked to bring about what He had planned. God's acts brought Israel into the Promised Land and made them into a nation. No matter how much we fail to understand, God is still wonderful and working hard to bring us blessing. So he tells God, "I am sorry that I forgot all your power and that I let my fears get in the way."
Richard T. Ritenbaugh