We have walked through chapter 2 verse 1, regarding the ‘watchpost’ and ‘tower’ in which Habakkuk metaphorically describes himself ascending to heights of wisdom and recess found only in the Lord and his word, ascending far from earthly reason and wisdom. Habakkuk then, from his watchtower, said he was to ‘look out to see what [God] will say to me…concerning [his] complaint.’ It is thus no coincidence that the Lord answers Habakkuk with truth and power since he had recessed himself into faithfulness and constant aversion of his eyes to be fixed upwards, looking out from his tower. God answers us when we are listening, when we are watching, not when we are plowing through our daily tasks standing on our own wisdom and reason. If we are the Lord’s, then our ways are to be like the Lord’s.
“And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’” 2:2-3
God answers Habakkuk. He asks him to write the vision with which we find in chapter 1 on tablets, making it plain to see, with large letters if you will so that he who ‘runs’ by, or he who is engaged in conversation walking by, or he who is weak of sight might be able to discern the words on the tablet. For these words are a proclamation to all the people, not simply Habakkuk.
God then states the most profound part of his answer, ‘for still the vision awaits its appointed time.’ Did not God answer Habakkuk in chapter one with the same answer? “Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” Where Habakkuk wants God’s vision to be fulfilled, we are reminded that God’s ways are not our ways. For God has a preordained time with which his vision will come to fulfillment. He says that the coming of the vision “will not lie” or in Calvin’s words, “will not fail.” We can be assured that God has a plan and he will bring it about in his time. We must however draw far from any doubt that he will fulfill his promises to us…for his promises ‘will not fail’ but will be brought to fulfillment in the Lord’s time. God then speaks to the hearts of men, ‘if it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’ How often are we downcast and downtrodden when we pray to our Lord and savior and find no answer. How often do we beat our fists and say, ‘why don’t you answer our prayer now when it’s most important to me?’ But God, speaking to men, tells us to be patient and wait for it to come, for it surely will. Calvin says it well:
“Though the Lord protracts time, and though day after day we seem to live on vain promises, yet let God speak, that is, let him have this honour from you, and be ye persuaded that he is true, that he cannot disappoint you; and in the meantime wait for his power; wait, so that ye may yet remain quiet, resting on his word, and let all your thoughts be confined within this stronghold—that it is enough that god has spoken.” (Commentary on Habakkuk, 2:2-3)
God teaches us patience on His own terms. God’s ways are not our ways and His ordainment of history and when things come to fulfillment do not happen the way we want them to. How glorious that our ways and plans are not God’s! This world would be ten times more terrifying if men, full of weakness and selfish ambition, were in charge of their own history and destiny! God is sovereign, he is just, he is our creator and therefore knows what is best for each of us. So when the Lord seems far away, when his answers for our unanswered prayers are far away, remember that He alone is God and He alone knows the true course of action for our lives. May we wait patiently, expectantly looking from our tower on high with our eyes fixed forever upward on our Lord’s truth and scripture, knowing that ‘it will not fail’ but will be brought to fulfillment in the Lord’s due time. God is sovereign, he is in charge. Thank God we are not. May we stand firm in faith, holding on in prayer, trusting our Lord as our savior and our redeemer.
(ORIGINALLY POSTED: June 17th, 2o08)