I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me. —Habakkuk 2:1Waiting is hard for me. I want answers now for why God seemed to be allowing sin and then allowing the Babylonians to conquer and enslave the Israelites. Where is your holiness and justice? Postponements perplex me; deferrals daunt me. I’m baffled by God’s delays, wondering why and when. “How long, O Lord?”
The prophet Habakkuk wanted answers as well, but God chose to take His time. Habakkuk challenged him like Job, who received no answers from God. Are you like him or David crying out to answers to your plight, your illness, loss of loved ones or independence? What do you cry out??
His was a psalm of lament like David’s crying out to God for answers in Ps 13:1-4 “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me, forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts? And every day have sorrow in my heart? OR
Psalm 55, “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy…my heart is in anguish within me…fear and trembling have beset me…Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest- I would fly far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far away from the tempest and storm…Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never cause the righteous to fall.”
And Habakkuk did get responses eventually too. In the meantime, He said, “I will stand my watch . . . to see what [God] will say to me,” Habakkuk wrote (2:1). “The vision is yet for an appointed time,” God replied. “Wait for it; because it will surely come” (v.3).
Faith never gives up. It knows that despite appearances, all is well. It can wait without signs or significant indications that God is at work, because it is sure of Him. “Each delay is perfectly fine, for we are within the safe hands of God,” said Madame Guyon (1648–1717). I wish I could find that kind of faith.
We too must learn to view each delay as if it were “perfectly fine.” Postponements are reasons to pray rather than grow anxious, impatient, and annoyed. They’re opportunities for God to build those imperishable but hard-to-acquire qualities of humility, patience, serenity, and strength. God never says, “Wait awhile,” unless He is planning to do something in our situation—or in us. He waits to be gracious.
So take heart! If God’s answer tarries, “Wait for it; because it will surely come.” —David H. Roper
“But the righteous will live by faith.” (2:4). This clause is quoted frequently in the NT. To support teaching that people are saved by grace through faith (Ro 1:17), Gal 3:11). Ephesians 2:8. It became the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th C. The same principle that was applicable in the realm of national deliverance is applicable in the area of spiritual deliverance (Salvation).
Fear and awe of the warrior God and faith come together because he trusts in God’s grace. He is the covenant God who keeps his promises. This gives Habakkuk solid confidence. This deliverance then and now and in His second coming should give us confidence and joy.