I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:1-4)
How The Just Live By Faith
The prophet Habakkuk was a prophet of questions. His burden was to cry to the Lord for answers of the cruelty of what he witnessed against the righteous. After he received his first answer he posed another question to God. He was wanting to understand the nature of the Lord’s allowance for trials that plagued the righteous. The Lord’s answer would lead the prophet to prayer and to complete his burden with the promise that no matter what befell the people and himself he would remain faithful.
Following his second question, it is important to see the attitude of the prophet toward his God. The first lesson we learn is that questioning the Lord is a means of gaining knowledge when we do not understand. There is nothing wrong with asking God questions wanting understanding about the nature of man’s cruelty and how the Lord can allow it to happen or continue. We must also be assured that our Father wants to talk with us about anything. Often we have questions that trouble us. He is not a Father who ignores our childlike inquiries. We must ask. Talking to the Creator is a first desire of all men but how little we spend time talking to Him.
It is intriguing the manner of Habakkuk’s questions. He concludes his second question with the terrible things done by the wicked and asks of the Lord, “Shall they therefore empty their net, and continue to slay nations without pity?” He is not arguing with God to bring the Lord down to the feet of the prophet. It is the man of God who recognizes that he must go to the Father. He knows that it is man that must stand his watch, setting himself on the rampart and watch to see what the Lord will say to him. He is not making demands of God. He is asking for answers in a humble and contrite manner. The prophet is waiting on the Lord. When the answer comes it will be something that reproves the man and exalts the Lord. Habakkuk is a man of great faith and he knows how to approach God to be found just.
The prophet waits for the answer of God to obey the word of God. He is told to write the vision and make it plain. The Lord knows what is going on and the justice of the Lord will always find its way with the affairs of men. There is so much misery and heartache in the world causing the child of God to wonder how the Father can allow suffering. Faith can be challenged when the mind is not kept in proper understanding of the will of God. The Creator is aware of more death and sorrow than any of else will imagine in a lifetime. He has witnessed the savage cruelty of man since the beginning of time. Let’s just be careful to remember that God knows what He is doing. The just? We live by faith and we trust Him to carry out His will in the affairs of men whether here on earth or the judgment to come. Is it wrong to ask questions of God? No. Trusting in His answers requires us to order our lives by waiting for His answer, waiting for when He reproves us, and living by faith. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls — yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”
The world will not perish just because we cannot do everything. God still has things under control. (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer, 1962)