Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
1:1 The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.
1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
1:3 Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
1:4 So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous– therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
2:1 I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.
2:3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.
2:4 Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.
At the start of this passage we read about a cry of help and pleading for God to be delivered from captivity. God’s people were being punished and their faith was being tried to see if at the end of all this, they would indeed come back to God. Sin was what caused for God’s judgement to be placed on them, and the nation needed to be tested to see if this hardship would either bring out a genuine love for God or cause them to fall away.
The second half of this passage shows that God is answering the cry for help. The explanation of these verses is simply that the prophet takes the time to get to know the mind of God. Through studying the scriptures, spending time in prayer and thoughtful meditation, God is able to speak to him concerning his desperate plead for God’s mercy. What is important to focus on is the attitude behind the cry for God’s help. He also exercises patience and a willingness to wait the time as a watchman does. He has faith that God will answer, not only to satisfy himself but to enable him to give hope to others.
The whole point of this passage is focusing on the time. God puts us in situations to earnestly seek Him out because He wants to trust in Him and His perfect timing for our lives. When we begin to experience doubt about God’s faithfulness in our lives and His ability to answer prayer, that is when we must earnestly seek out His word and spend time in prayer trusting that He will answer us. This is not a process that happens overnight. It takes dedication, discipline and a heart that yearns to seek out God’s will for our lives. He has the perfect answers and we must trust that He will answer us in His own perfect way.
Habakkuk and many other Jews of the time wrestled with the hard reality of the coming Babylonian exile. Habakkuk was alive in a time where Judah was still free but Babylon was growing larger and stronger each day. Habakkuk’s complaint against the Lord was about why the wicked (Babylon) were allowed to surround the righteous; believing that Judah was still a righteous nation. The northern kingdom was already taken captive by the Akkadians and now Judah looked to be the next to fall but where is the Lord’s justice?
God promises Habakkuk that even though things look bad, there is still a vision for God’s people. Despite the threat of deportation God has not abandoned them. We see soon in the OT narrative that God will free them from exile and we know He was true to His promise. God will never let the wicked rule eternally. He deals with them in His own perfect time.
While we are impatient beings, be joyful knowing that we have an eternal home among the children of God. Though wickedness may prevail in the this earthly kingdom God has a vision for us, both here and also in the hereafter. We are never abandoned even if we fell that way.
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