Unfortunately (or fortunately) we do not know everything about the future. But God has allowed his people to know certain things about the future. The people of Israel were told about the future kingdom. Daniel was told what would happen to Babylon and the kingdoms that followed. Christians know what the end times will be because of the book of Revelation.
But what about your future? When you don’t understand what is happening, does God reveal to you what the next step should be? That is a difficult question, but one the prophet Habakkuk was facing. Would God answer his questions? He patiently waited for the answer like a sentry on a castle tower awaiting a message from his king.
I need to know what God has said (2).
We don’t know how long he waited, but God’s answer finally came to Habakkuk. He was told to write the vision in letters that would be easily read. God was telling the prophet that he wanted people to be able to understand his answer. When Habakkuk posted the message in the market place, the readers should have been able to run their eyes across the message and get it the first time. Then when they had read it, they should have understood what God was doing and find comfort in it. They would run homoe with the message clearly understood.
Think about the people of Habakkuk’s day. Some of them had kept themselves from sin and were just as frustrated with the sinful practices of their countrymen. But they also would be questioning what God was doing with the Babylonians. Why would God use them to carry out justice against Judah. If godly Habakkuk was questioning God’s plan, they probably would as well. So, the message needed to be communicated clearly so that everyone had the opportunity to understand what God was doing.
Think about the people around your neighborhood and city. They are wondering what God is doing in the world? Why all the fighting around the world? Why Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan? Do you have a clear message of what God is doing? Can you help them to understand?
I need to believe he will do what he has said (3).
God made it clear to Habakkuk that his message would not take place immediately. It was set for an appointed time. And that time was not revealed to Habakkuk or the people of Judah. However, it would take place. The Ryrie Study Bible places the date of Habakkuk’s prophecy some twenty years (606 BC) before the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC). There would be a long period of waiting before the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Waiting for God’s plan to unfold is often difficult. As we look forward to the fulfillment of prophecy, we realize that one day with the Lord is like a thousand. Wd don’t know how long it will be before our Lord Jesus returns and takes us into eternity with him. But we know that it will happen.
What then should our response be? Should we become anxious about the future? Should we scream and shout until everyone knows how impatient we are? The answer is obvious, but it is also difficult. We need to to wait upon the Lord for his perfect timing. But as you wait, be certain that what God is planning, he will do. And he will do it at the best possible time for all involved.
I need to trust him no matter what happens (4).
It is clear from this chapter that ungodly people will do wicked things. What Habakkuk had told God in chapter one was not news to the great God of the universe. He knew these things and admitted to the wickedness of the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar was going to be the instrument by which Judah was judged. But his pride was not overlooked. Nebuchadnezzar was wrong to be proud as were any others who took pride in their sin. But that was not to be the focus of Habakkuk’s life.
The just must learn to trust God. God clearly pointed out to Habakkuk that the just shall live by faith. What exactly does that mean? It means that no matter what happens, the godly man who is striving to do right must keep trusting that God is doing what is right no matter how bad things get. Do you believe that? God knows what is best and is doing what is best.
I know this to be true in my own life. As some of you may have heard, my family has come to a difficult decision about the direction God would have us to go. After much prayer and counsel, I announced my decision to resign as assistant pastor of Bible Community Church. This decision was made because of some child rearing issues that need to be addressed in our home. Let me tell you that this was not an easy decision. It was difficult for me to make that announcement to our church family and now to make that public to you. But I think it was the right decision. Do we know what will happen in the future? Is everything figured out? No. Quite honestly, we have a lot of things to think through. But one thing is sure, God knows what is best and—even in this—is doing what is best.