Habakkuk 1:2 NKJV O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save.
Habakkuk was distressed over the condition of his country. He had questions that seemed to go unanswered; prayers that seemed to be ignored by God and he was perplexed by what he saw going on around him.
How many of us have experienced similar feelings? We look around us and see turmoil, chaos, destruction and heartache and it seems that our prayers are lost out there in space somewhere. It’s easy to get caught up in the hopelessness of what we see happening in our world today, but as Habakkuk soon found out, God had not forgotten His people, nor had He ignored their prayers.
Chapter one is devoted to Habakkuk’s questions and God’s response, but in chapter two we see Habakkuk humbling himself before his God ready to listen and be corrected by God’s response.
Habakkuk 2:1 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.
Habakkuk determined in his heart that he would position himself to hear from God and that with his eyes of faith he would watch for God’s movement in his world around him. He knew his perspective of God was incorrect because he stated that he would wait and listen and answer God when he was corrected. Habakkuk knew that God was bigger than any turmoil he could see going on around him and surely there was something that he was missing in what God was doing. He needed an attitude adjustment!
There are times in our lives, as well, when we just don’t seem to “get it”; we don’t understand what God is doing when there is so much pain going on in our lives and the lives of those around us. We simply take what rolls down the pike and believe that that is God’s will for us when He really want’s us to connect with Him and understand His ways and walk by our faith in Him. So, Habakkuk listened and God replied.
Habakkuk 2:2, 3 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.
God said, Habakkuk, be sure you write down what I am saying to you and showing you about what is taking place in your world today. Because if you, as a prophet of God, have these questions about who I am and what I am doing, then the general population have them too. You are my spokesperson to give hope and encouragement to your people. When you see My hand at work and write it down so others can take it an run with it as well.
Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision the people perish. The New King James Version says that where there is no revelation, or prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint. When people have no direction and feel that there is no hope they flounder around with no direction, simply trying to make it through each day as best as they can. But God has a better plan for our lives. He doesn’t want us to be overcome by the heartache of what is happening in our lives, because as He tells us in Habakkuk 2:2-4 things will change.
Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in Him; But the just shall live by his faith.”
A prideful person cannot walk in God’s ways. 1 Peter 5:5 says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humility before God acknowledges His lordship over life. Those who are “just” have humbled themselves to receive God’s salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We are made right or “just” by our faith in Him as Savior and Lord. Just as it takes faith to trust God for salvation through receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord so it takes faith to live every day walking with Him. Many times the things that happen in our world are a result of prideful ways of living. People choose to live by their own standards and not God’s.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
In God’s economy, it takes faith in Him, trust in His ways, and acknowledging Him as first place in our lives to live uprightly before Him. Even though God shares with Habakkuk that things will change and not always be the same, there is a responsibility that the people of God have in seeing change come into their lives. It takes faith to please God and those who believe that He is and is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him will see the good plan of God unfold in their lives. The heartache and pain will not endure forever. There is a new day coming!
When you look at that phrase “shall live” it is the Hebrew word chayah and is defined as to live, to stay alive, be preserved; to flourish, to enjoy life; to live in happiness; to breathe, be alive, be animated, recover health, live continuously. The fundamental idea is “to live and breath”, breathing being the evidence of life in the Hebrew concept. This present reference to the just living by faith is one of the giant pillars of faith and is referred to several times in the New Testament. It literally reads, “The righteous person in or by his faithfulness (firmness, consistency, belief, faith, steadfastness) shall live!”
In essence you could read the last half of verse 4 as “the just shall live, stay alive, be preserved, flourish, enjoy life, live in happiness, breath, be alive, be animated, recover health and live continuously by their faith.” It takes faith to live; it takes faith to breathe; it takes faith to recover your health; it takes faith to live continuously. There is no way that a person can successfully live by faith when their focus is on the waves of what is happening around them.
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.”
Faith has a focus and it is not on the bad things that are happening to you or around you. Faith’s focus is on God. He doesn’t ask us to understand everything; He just expects us to have faith in Him.
Faith – Greek word pistis means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, pistis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliability in God and all that He says.
Looking at this meaning of faith, the just would then live by their conviction about God, their confidence in God’s ability to change their lives, their trust in God’s goodness, their belief in His willingness to do for them what His word promises, their reliance on Him in all things, their understanding of His trustworthiness, and their persuasion that God will perform what He says in His word for His word is His will.
Faith’s focus can be thwarted when the person looks at the waves of life’s storms raging around him. Faith’s focus then turns to fear. Fear is faith in the devil’s ability to harm you where faith is trust in God’s ability to save you.
When Jesus’ disciples were going through a severe storm on the lake as they were crossing over to the other side, they cried out for Jesus to save them. He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Then He said to His disciples, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40) It is clearly evident here that faith was needed to calm the stormy sea and bring peace into their lives. They were moved by their fear to cry out to Jesus when He expected them to live by their faith in speaking to the storm and commanding it to be still.
Once Habakkuk heard from God his attitude immediately changed and by the end of the book this is his response to those things that were going on around him that caused him so much distress:
Habakkuk 3:17-19 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 in my high hills.
All of a sudden the bad things happening around him took on a different light. He saw them through the glory of his God. He was able to say that regardless of the negative destruction that I might see or experience I will rejoice in the Lord! I will joy in the God my salvation because He is my strength. He makes me walk above the storms that are going on around me. He equips me for victory and gives me the agility that I need to maneuver through the potholes of life!
Paul said it like this in Acts 20:24 when speaking of the bad things that happened in his life: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
None of these things move me! Paul was focused on what God was doing in and through him more than he was focused on the persecution that he was experiencing as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His faith was firmly secured in the trustworthiness of his God and his focus was on finishing his race, living his life by faith in God, not in fear of what could happen to him along the way.
What storm is it in your life that has stolen your faith in God’s ability to change things for you? Has your eye of faith been deterred away from God and onto your problems. God loves you and has a good plan for your life. Will you listen to His words of love and encouragement and turn off the voice of the enemy that speaks of failure and defeat? The just shall live by his faith!
Father, I thank You that even though there is turmoil all around us that You have a plan for good for our lives. I pray this morning for those who may have lost their faith and have turned their eyes to the waves of the storm instead of the One who calms the storms. Father, I ask You to show them that You are working in their lives bringing restoration from all that the enemy has stolen from them. I pray that they will be encouraged and their faith renewed as they read of Your faithfulness through your word. I pray that those who may be around them speaking life into their lives will have more effect on them than the experiences of negativity that they are currently under. Father, You have placed Your people as the head and not the tail. You have said that You would make them to be above and not beneath their circumstances. Father, I pray that You will once again show them what they need to do to cooperate with the good plan that You have for their lives. Maybe they need to humble themselves before You and repent of the doubt and unbelief they have had in You. Or Father, could it be that they have grown weary in standing and fighting the good fight of faith? I pray that You will refresh them and give them renewed hope in You. Father, You know what needs to be done in each life. I pray that Your goodness will lead men to repentance as you have stated in Your word. Father, I pray as Habakkuk prayed that You would revive Your work in the midst of our years! Do again in the hearts of people what You have done in years past and bring salvation, deliverance, healing and restoration to them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.