Habakkuk had a lot of questions for God (see chapter 1). Why was God not dealing with the wicked? Why was it taking so long for God to answer? Why would He then allow the wicked Babylonians to invade Israel?
At the start of chapter two, Habakkuk is earnestly awaiting the Lord’s answer (v.1). He gets up in his “watchtower” to be able to see any signs of an answer quickly.
Like the end of Job, when the Lord answered Job, it was much more than he bargained for. It was a decisive denunciation of the Babylonians and all men who are prideful (“lifted up”) (v.4).
After pronouncing five “woes” on them, God concludes His vision by saying “the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” (v.20)
God wanted Habakkuk and us to know several things:
- God is well able to answer any questions we throw at Him, no matter how hard. (We may not like the answer, but that is more our problem than His.)
- God wants everyone to know the truth about the future. He says in verse two to make the vision plain so the one who reads will run and tell others.
- God’s plan has an appointed time (v.3). It may not be on our timetable, but there is a time it will happen. We should be patience enough to wait for it to unfold.
- God’s will humble the proud sinner and exalt the righteous believer (v.4). The phrase “the just shall live by faith” is a revolutionary concept repeated several times in the New Testament (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38) to show that life and righteousness comes not through self-reliance and self-effort but through humble faith in God.
- God will put down all who exalt themselves against Him and will fill the whole earth with His knowledge, like waters that cover the earth (v.14). There is coming a day when Christ returns to set up His kingdom that everyone will know the Lord and worship Him.
- God should be trusted. His plan is clear. His promises are sure. The vision is comprehensive. We simple need to listen to the Lord, read what is written in His Word, run and tell others, be patient to wait for it’s fulfillment, and silently trust in the living God.