“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2).
“Then the Lord replied: Write down the revelation (or vision) and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation (or vision) awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright, but the righteous person will live by faith (or his faithfulness)” (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
“Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the sheepfold and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
How do we get from “How long, Lord, must I call to you for help, but you do not listen?” to “I will rejoice in the Lord”?
Between the questioning and the rejoicing, there is the revelation.
The revelation: this is God’s answer to our questions.
The revelation: this is where our rejoicing comes from.
What does the revelation (or vision) teach us?
It teaches us to be patient: “the revelation awaits an appointed time.”
It teaches us that there is a future towards which we can look forward: “it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come.”
It teaches us how we are to live: we are to live by faith (or faithfulness).
What does it mean to have faith, and what does it mean to be faithful?
Faith is faith in the Lord. It is not faith in ourselves. Faith says, “I will rejoice in the Lord.” Faith says, “I will be joyful in God, my Saviour. The Lord is my Saviour: this is what faith says.
Faithfulness: How are we to be faithful? We must remember this: “The Lord God is my strength.” It’s the faithfulness of God which inspires our faithfulness: “Great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23); “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
What will the faithful God do for us? “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
“The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”: Where does our hope for the future come from? It comes from “the revelation” (or vision): it will certainly come.” It’s not only “the end… will certainly come.” It’s the Lord will certainly come. When the going gets tough and there seems to be no end to our troubled times, let us remember the promise of Jesus: “In my Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you… I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).