The balance of the second chapter (following 2:1) is God’s response to Habakkuk’s second question. The Lord announces His divine plan and it is certain to come to pass. Just because Babylon is the instrument of Judah’s punishment, this does not excuse Babylon from punishment for its own heinous sin. God is in control, even if the circumstances don’t give that appearance.
The Urgency of the Message
Hab 2:2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
The word given by the Lord is simple, urgent, and important. Habakkuk asked a good question, one which the Lord was pleased to answer. It was a word not just for the prophet, but for all the people. God’s word, revealed through scripture, is meant to be a plain word given with divine urgency to a hurting world in need of its good gospel news.
God is Faithful
Hab 2:3 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.
God is eternal. He created time. Time was designed to be useful to creation. As temporal beings we see time as a limited commodity. Our limited perspective prevents us from easily recognizing the wisdom of God’s use of time. We want what we want and we want it right away. God has already established His plan, including His own timing of things. Human urgency and divine urgency are not necessarily the same thing. What God proclaims He is faithful to accomplish. It is said that patience is a virtue. God teaches us to trust Him through development of patience which in turn requires waiting for a divinely appointed time. Time passes whether we are patient or not and what God has determined will happen exactly when it is supposed to happen. Just as in Habakkuk’s day, we too wait for the Lord to complete His plans. After 2000 years we look back and all too often want to accuse the Lord of allowing sin and evil to flourish for far too long. In the last century alone tens of millions have suffered and died in genocides of the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and dozens of other places from Vietnam to Rwanda. We forget that if not for divine patience with us, the world would long ago have ended and with it all hope for our birth and eventual reconciliation to Him. Even as we look forward to the day Jesus returns to resurrect the dead and transform his living followers, we also dread the judgment on our loved ones – no matter how just the judgment may be. Even as missionaries are martyred every day in Muslim lands, the Lord withholds wrath so that all whom He calls have the opportunity to be converted by the power of the Holy Spirit.
more to the answer next time
Do you ever wish God would hurry up and explain things?