Henri Nouwen describes waiting as “an awful desert between where people are and where they want to go. It’s not a place people want to be – they want out of it by doing something.”
One of the major lessons we learn in Habakkuk is the importance of waiting. We wait on God, and for God, to answer our prayers. It may be difficult or frustrating to wait, but this is an essential aspect of Christian faith and discipleship.
“Never think that God’s delays are God’s denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius” – Georges-Louis Lecierc
For some people, waiting on God brings doubt, fear and worry, or causes them to question their faith in God. There are no simple solutions to these challenges, but God’s Word speaks to us about the value of waiting (Cf. Lam:3:25-26, Ps. 37:7, Ps. 40:1, Ps. 130:5, Isa 40:31). Last week we were reminded that it’s often in the waiting that we discover, learn and grow in our faith.
There is no problem with questioning God, and His waiting room is a good place to be in, but the big question is, are you prepared to wait on God to answer? The reality is that we don’t have a choice but to wait for most things in life, however, we do have a choice as to how we wait. Habakkuk needed to be willing to wait, which is a spiritual discipline that we all need to practice.
In response to Habakkuk’s second complaint, God instructs him to write down His answer, and to get it out there, so that other people will hear it. This detail reminds us that God’s Word deals with many of life’s questions, is important, and worth re-reading, remembering and sharing with others.
Most people believe that the revelation being referred to is outlined in verses 4-20, in which God explains that at an appointed time He will not only judge Judah, via the Babylonians, but that He will also judge the wicked Babylonians for their sin. Nothing nor no one escapes divine justice, which comes at God’s appointed time (Cf. Hebrews 9:27).
In the meantime, how we live and respond to God’s written and living Word will be the determining factor in our experience of the ultimate and certain judgement.
Habakkuk would have to wait on God’s justice at the appointed time. However, scripture tells us that a few years later Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians, and some time later the proud Babylonian Empire eventually crumbled and fell as predicted by God to Habakkuk.
The Babylonians are very proud. What they want is not good. But the person who is godly will live by his faithfulness (v.4)
In the context of Habakkuk this verse contrasts two types of people: those who are proud and live their own way, and those who trust God and live His way. In eternal terms these two categories are the critical distinctives that God sees in each one of us. Therefore, whichever one of these dictates or determines your day-to-day life and choices is significant – currently and eternally significant.
We cannot live faithfully before God based on anything that we do or personally contribute to in life. This is solely based on God’s faithfulness, which the New Testament tells us He makes possible in and through Jesus Christ. Echoing Habakkuk 2:4, the Apostle Paul reminds us that, “The righteous will live by faith” (Rom 1:17).
- Be willing to wait
- Re-read, remember and share God’s Word
- Judgement is inevitable
- As you stand before God today, are you prideful or faithful?