on Habakkuk 2 :20
The Lord is in his holy temple - Jehovah has his temple, the place where he is to be worshipped; but there there is no image. Oracles, however, are given forth; and every word of them is truth, and is fulfilled in its season. And this temple and its worship are holy; no abomination can be practiced there, and every thing in it leads to holiness of heart and life.
Let all the earth keep silence before him - Let all be dumb. Let none of them dare to open their mouths in the presence of Jehovah. He alone is Sovereign. He alone is the arbiter of life and death. Let all hear his commands with the deepest respect, obey them with the promptest diligence, and worship him with the most profound reverence. When an Asiatic sovereign goes to the mosque on any of the eastern festivals, such as the Bairham, the deepest silence reigns among all his retinue, viziers, foreign ambassadors, etc. They all bow respectfully before him; but no word is spoken, no sound uttered. It is to this species of reverence that the prophet alludes, and with this he concludes the prophetic part of this book. What God has threatened or promised, that he will fulfill. Let every soul bow before him, and submit to his authority.
on Habakkuk 2 :20
And now having declared the nothingness of all which is not God, the power of man or his gods, he answers again his own question, by summoning all before the presence of the majesty of God.
But the Lord - He had, in condemning them, pictured the tumult of the world, the oppressions, the violence, bloodsheddings, covetousness, insolence, self-aggrandizement of the then world-empire, and had denounced woe upon it; we see man framing his idols, praying to the lifeless stones; and God, of whom none thought, where was He? These were people's ways. "But the Lord," he joins it on, as the complement and corrective of all this confusion.
The Lord is in His holy temple - awaiting, in His long-suffering, to judge. "The temple of God" is where God enshrines Himself, or allows Himself to be seen and adored. "God is wholly everywhere, the whole of Him no where." There is no contrast between His temple on earth, and His temple in heaven. He is not more locally present in heaven than in earth. It were as anthropomorphic but less pious to think of God, as confined, localized, in heaven as on earth; because it would be simply removing God away from man. Solomon knew, when he built the temple, that "the heaven and heaven of heavens could not contain 1 Kings 8:27 God." The "holy temple," which could be destroyed Psalm 79:1, toward which people were to pray Psalm 5:7; Psalm 138:2; Jonah 2:4, was the visible temple 1 Kings 8:29-30, 1 Kings 8:35, 1 Kings 8:38, 1 Kings 8:42, 1 Kings 8:44, 1 Kings 8:48, where were the symbols of God's Presence, and of the stoning Sacrifice; but lest His presence should be localized, Solomon's repeated prayer is 1 Kings 8:30, 1 Kings 8:39, 1 Kings 8:43, 1 Kings 8:49, "hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place" 1 Kings 8:32, 1 Kings 8:34, 1 Kings 8:36, 1 Kings 8:45; "hear Thou in heaven." There is then no difference, as though in earlier books the "holy temple" meant that at Jerusalem, in the later, "the heavens?" In the confession at the offering of the "third year's tithes," the prayer is, Deuteronomy 27:15, "look down from Thy holy habitation, from heaven;" and David says, "the Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven" Psalm 11:4; and, Psalm 18:6, Psalm 18:9 : "He heard my voice out of His temple - He bowed the heavens also and came down;" and, Psalm 29:9, "In His temple doth everyone say, Glory." The simple words are identical though not in the same order as those, in which David, in the same contrast with the oppression of man, ushers in the judgment and final retribution to good and bad, by declaring the unseen presence of God upon His Throne in heaven, beholding and testing the sons of men.
In His Presence, all the mysteries of our being are solved.
The Lord is in His holy Temple - not, as the idols in temples made with hands, but revealing Himself in the visible temple (Jerome), "dwelling in the Son, by Nature and Union, as He saith John 14:10, "The Father who dwelleth in Me doeth the works;" in each one of the bodies and souls of the saints by His Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:19, in the Blessed, in glory; in the Heavens, by the more evident appearance of His Majesty and the workings of His Power ; "everywhere by Essence, Presence, and Power, 'for in Him we live, and move, and have our being;' nowhere as confined or inclosed." Since then God is in Heaven, beholding the deeds of people, Himself Unchangeable, Almighty, All-holy, "let all the earth keep silence before Him," literally, "hush before Him all the earth," waiting from Him in hushed stillness the issue of this tangled state of being. And to the hashed soul, hushed to itself and its own thought, hushed in awe of His Majesty and "His Presence, before His face," God speaks .
on Habakkuk 2 :20
2:20 The Lord - He is Jehovah, the fountain of being, life, power, and salvation to his people. Keep silence - Fear, submit, and depend on him; let his enemies be silent, reverence, hope, pray and wait for him, who will arise and have mercy on them, who will make it to be well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked, who will fully and satisfactorily solve the doubts, and unfold the riddles of his providence.