Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
Habakkuk seems to have been acting like Job did. Job was personally attacked by Satan and he assumed God was punishing him. Habakkuk was not personally attacked, but he saw his nation in big trouble and he assumed that God was not intervening properly. Job wanted an audience with God. He believed that God needed some counsel in what He was doing. Habakkuk also assumed that God needed some counsel on what He was doing.
In verse 1 here we see that Habakkuk expected God to reprove him. He was not going to repent on his own. He was going to stand upon His watch. He was not willing to stand down. He would reman upon his tower. He would have been wise to submit to God’s authority. He could have learned things much sooner and he could have been a better servant of the true God.
Habakkuk gives us a picture of the danger that any true child of God will face when he becomes arrogant. It is never wise to second guess God. He is much wiser than all of humanity put together. He does not need to consult with any man. He does not consult with the angels. He has the entire plan laid out. He is following His plan and nothing that man will do is going to interfere with His plan. The best thing that man can do is submit to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. God’s plan allows for that to happen. He does not want anyone to perish. He will never be overthrown.
In verse 2 God did answer Habakkuk. God understood that Habakkuk was being somewhat foolish in his attitude. Sometimes God chooses just to ignore what has been said. That is a good strategy when used by God. A non-answer is more effective than an answer when it comes from God. Habakkuk would be made to look like a fool for being so arrogant and being left hanging in his arrogance for a time.
In the meantime, Habakkuk was commanded to write the vision and make it plain. God had something to say to Habakkuk, but also to all people. There was a need for people to listen to what God had to say.
Jesus Christ spoke in parables at times to keep the truth from the false teachers. They did not want to know the truth. They were so arrogant that they felt they did not need God. Jesus kept the truth from them because they were already under condemnation. There was no need to heap more condemnation upon them. However, Jesus explained the parables to the disciples. Those who want to know will be able to know. The Holy Spirit indwells the true child of God and He guides the true child of God into the truth. The confusion we see today among so many professing Christians, clearly shows that not all are saved. The Holy Spirit does not create confusion among God’s people.
In our text, Habakkuk was not a false prophet. He just needed to learn some things. Others also needed to learn some things. God was giving Habakkuk a vision and he needed to write it down as God gave it to him. The writing needed to be plain so that the reader could make the appropriate response.
We must notice as well that this writing was to be upon tables. The normal writing was done on parchment or animal skins. They would not last and so the message needed to be recopied. Habakkuk was to write this message on tables of either stone or wood which was a more durable medium that would keep the words accessible for a longer period of time. It is important to note that none of God’s Word has been lost. God assigned the recopying of His Word to Jews who knew the fear of the LORD. His Word has always been available and always will be available.
This vision was of great importance to man. It was of great importance to the Jews alive in Habakkuk’s day. The Babylonians were coming. They would be a fierce people who would not show mercy. The time for repentance among the Jews was now. They would not be able to escape the attacks. We know that king Zedekiah tried to escape but the Babylonian army caught him and brought him back to Jerusalem, where his sons were murdered before his eyes and then his eyes were plucked out. The last thing that king Zedekiah saw was his sons being murdered. Not a good thing to witness. He died a broken man who had been physically blinded due to his spiritual blindness.
God was going to lay out a warning to the Babylonians for their arrogance and foolishness. Habakkuk needed to understand that no one is immune from God’s observation and judgment.
In verse 3 we are told that the vision was yet for an appointed time. Again we are reminded that God’s timing is always right on. His plan will not be delayed. His promises are sure and His judgments are equally sure. God’s Word is:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Peter wrote that there would be scoffers. They were the fools. God was not forgetful, nor was He late. Habakkuk needed to be reminded that God knew what He was doing with Judah in his day. He would act and He was acting. As we mentioned, the judgments of God will come. The lost will be cast into hell and then at the great white throne judgment they will be cast into the lake of fire. In Habakkuk’s day, the promise of the Messiah was sure. Jesus Christ would come at just the right moment. For our time, He will also come back at just the right moment. Salvation is only through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 4 Habakkuk was reminded that the soul that is lifted up with pride is not upright. The proud person is not following God in obedience. By contrast, the just shall live by faith. Faith must be in God. Habakkuk needed to be reminded that he needed to strengthen his faith in God. Rather than questioning God’s methods, he needed to humble himself and follow God’s way.
In the midst of this message, God addressed the matter of drunkenness. Drunkenness was a problem then and it still is now. Notice that the use of wine is a transgression. It is a transgression and it also leads to further transgressions. The person who claims to know the Lord and yet uses wine is proud. God makes it very clear that alcoholic wine is never pleasing to Him. Noah got caught using alcoholic wine and it hurt him and his family. From there we see the continuous harm caused by alcoholic wine. Proverbs 20:1 states:
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
The one who uses alcoholic wine will indulge in other sins as well. There is many a home that has been destroyed by a drunk father or mother. The drunkard wanders off and finds more trouble. Wine is an effective tool of the devil to lead people to hell. Those who get into alcoholic drink will always want more. Some will argue that they can handle their liquor. Those people need to go back and read Proverbs 20:1. They are already deceived and don’t want to admit to it.
God was showing Habakkuk that He knew what He was doing. We need to understand the same thing today. The wise person submits to God and trusts Him even when we cannot see clearly the full effects of what He is doing.