“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”
In the verses previous to this, the subject has to do with the vanity of idolatry. “What profiteth the graven image…? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; … there is no breath at all in the midst of it” (Habakkuk 2:18, 19). Then we find these glorious words, “But the LORD is in his holy temple.” The living God is compared to the dead images and idols. Idols are lifeless, but God is living. Idols cannot speak, but God has made His Word known. Graven images exist in a single, helpless place, while the everlasting God is in all places at the same time.
Several sound conclusions can be derived from our Scripture. The first thing this verse teaches is the existence of God. God does not try to defend or persuade skeptics of His existence. God’s reality is naturally assumed, incredibly obvious, and simply declared. Our text says, “the LORD is.” The honest seeker and observer does not question that fact. The Bible begins with the words, “In the beginning God” (Genesis 1:1). God does not try to prove His existence, but only states it. This is foundational, but essential. Hebrews 11:6 says, “he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder…”. God is, and that fact is plainly declared and demonstrated in the world we live in.
Where does God especially manifest Himself? Does He actually reside anywhere? Our passage states that He is “in his holy temple.” God is everywhere, but He has chosen to particularly reside in specific places. His throne is in Heaven. He was with His people Israel in the Old Testament. He resides in New Testament Christians. And Jesus promised to be present in His true churches. The God of the Bible exists and has elected to make Himself known to His people.
Another thing about God that is taught in our reading is the respect that He is due. Habakkuk says, “let all the earth keep silence before him.” God deserves to be respected and feared. In another place it is said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Worship should be mindful of and directed toward God. Worship is not to please men, but to honor the Lord. Too much entertainment and worldliness is mixed in the popular worship of our generation. “The LORD is in his holy temple.”