“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.” – Habakkuk 2:1
If you have been a Christian for a relatively short time you have probably never heard about the prophet Habakkuk. He is definitely not a household name, even for the church. Habakkuk, one of Israel’s minor, or lesser, prophets, steps into the scene at a time when God’s people were in serious decline. They had abandoned following God’s will. Habakkuk loved God, he loved God’s law, he loved God’s people and he wanted to see God’s people obey and glorify God.
Despite his prayers, Habakkuk sees things getting worse. Apparently, Habakkuk had repeatedly called upon God to act, to intervene, to set things right, to just do something. Yet there was silence. Finally, out of a deep sense of frustration and confusion, he cries out to God, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help?” (Habakkuk 1:1)
Remarkably, he takes God at his word, and commits himself to wait on God rather than taking matters into his own hands. Habakkuk trusts that God is already at work, even if he can’t see it. Habakkuk assumes a position of waiting with confident trust in God. So Habakkuk waits. Waiting is perhaps the hardest discipline of the Christian life. Most of us hate to wait. I know I do. Probably all of us are waiting for something at this very moment. We must remember that waiting may answer some of the “why “ questions. Questions such as “why doesn’t God answer our prayers?” Or “what does God want me to do?”
We often view waiting as passive, but is it? In Scripture, to wait is to be active, to do something. That something is faith. And faith is is entrusting ourselves into God’s hands as God speaks and acts in all the circumstances of our lives, since God is already busily at work. To wait and to be patient is to trust that God is at work even if we can’t see or understand what God is doing at any given moment of time.
God did answer Habakkuk but it was not the answer he expected. God’s solution to the sin of Judah was to have them invaded by the Babylonians. Habakkuk complains a second time to the Lord about the solution being drastic, but God assured Habakkuk that He would also deal with the Babylonians (Habakkuk 1:12–2:20). In the end, Habakkuk acknowledged that God is sovereign. He is good and whatever happens we can trust in Him:
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Even though Habakkuk couldn’t see it, God was working the whole time. He is doing the same in our lives as His followers. We simply need to watch and wait.
- Have you argued with God? Is arguing with God ever a good idea?
- Do you think it is possible for God to be doing good without us even realizing it? Why or why not?
- Do you think God ever does good, wise, and perfect things that are beyond our present circumstance or understanding to even see?