It would be almost embarrassing to attempt breaking down the rich poetic imagery in this grand Hebrew psalm. Far more important to the reader is understanding the uniquely Hebrew approach to certain fundamental questions.
Modern Western man chokes on the notion a single concept can contain two utterly opposing results, and how someone can tremble in fear and rejoice at the same time. Yet Habakkuk clearly points out how God’s divine Presence affects each of us in different ways. The difference is rooted in our attitude toward Him and His revelation. The song opens with the prophet calling on God to rekindle His ancient revelation in the hearts of men.
Habakkuk mentions two territories in the southern regions of both Edom and Judah. They are strongly connected to the earliest period beginning at Sinai when the Covenant was fresh. In the region of Teman was the trial of the fiery serpents, and in Paran was the Forty Years’ Wandering. God arises in His greatest power when judging sin, particularly the sins of His own. Pagan nations are not privileged to know God so personally, but Israel was His very own family on earth, the people who would give birth to His Son. Pagan nations would face His wrath on much gentler terms because they weren’t expected to really know Him so well. Israel was held to a much higher standard.
Yet He cannot abide sin. He disciplines His own people and makes them stronger, but the same wrath destroys those who don’t know Him. Sadly, we recognize here if Israel should cease obeying Him, they will also see destruction. God’s promises would not fail while the earth stands, and His revelation will always come forth, one way or another. Habakkuk weaves into his song the recognition He will always have a people on earth, but to the degree Israel abandons His message, so they will die in His wrath. The people of Israel could well become His enemy, and terrifying is the fate awaiting His enemies.
Yet those who live for His Laws could make themselves a part of the lusty joy of His weapons of truth. So having truly heard with his very heart the message God gave back to him, Habakkuk is utterly shaken anew by the force of this reassurance both directions. The fruit of the land was at His whim, and if Israel turns away from Him, there would be no fruit of revelation, and no fruit of the ground, either. Because he walks in fear of God, Habakkuk fears nothing else. He can handle the trials of the future, living in a nation which has largely forgotten her Master and Lord, with the prospect of being crushed by Babylon.