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But this was not happening, and Habakkuk became increasingly distressed and finally cries out to God. Habakkuk was, much like the other prophets, a morally sensitive soul.

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Apparently, Habakkuk had repeatedly called upon God to act, to intervene, to set things right, to just do something. Yet it seemed that God had not heard him and God would not act to save. This is no small thing for Habakkuk, a Jew whose faith and life is expressed fully in the Psalms, the prayer book of Israel.

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At the heart of the Psalms is the conviction that the God of Israel is known in prayer, through speaking, listening and answering. And Habakkuk was not praying like many people pray today. What he offers up to God are prayers on behalf of others, especially those who suffer much and those who suffer unjustly.

Some churches offer classes and workshops on prayer. They sell books and DVDs on how to pray and what to pray, so that by praying, Christians can make a difference in the world. If we are honest, we would acknowledge we are one with Habakkuk. Lord please do this, please act here, please set this right, please make this well, please right this wrong, please stop this evil, please heal this damage, please end this conflict, please change this heart. Act like God. The answer is not what he was waiting for, but it is an answer -- one that is both unsettling and astounding.

What Judah will get is what Judah has selfishly desired and eagerly sought: injustice, violence, division, a relatively godless way of life that is easily drawn to the worship of other gods in place of the God who brought them out of Egypt and made them his own. This is not what Habakkuk was expecting to hear. But he persists in prayer, in conversing with God. Amazingly, he takes God at his word, saying he plans to position himself to be alert and on the lookout for what God will do and say next. He trusts that God has more to say, and he commits himself to waiting on God rather than taking matters into his own hands.

This is the rub in the story. Habakkuk assumes a disposition of waiting with confident trust in God.


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In Scripture, to wait is to be active, to do something, something very important. Some people say that all you need is faith and everything will turn out all right. In other words, faith fixes things. But true faith is not something we have and use; it is not a tool in our hands to make things happen. This is why the Lord tells Habakkuk to write down the vision of his purpose for the world, since it awaits its appointed time and has yet to be completed.

What is this vision? What does God give Habakkuk to put into writing and to hold until its appointed time?

The Prophet Habakkuk in 3 Minutes

What does God say to him about his vision for the world -- the truth of what is going on, what is truly worth waiting for and will certainly come? We are waiting for God. Faith is a willingness to trust that God knows best and will bring our lives and the world to a good completion.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This is why we offer our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. A vision is an inward view, an image, or series of images, broader, larger, grander, deeper than aught that the bodily eye can see; it is evoked by some outward sign, on which a spiritual force acts. Visions may come from God; they may bring men near to God. There are day visions. It was to be a sign of the latter days, that in them there should be second sight far into hidden things. And a life without visions is not that which an imaginative and sympathetic man or woman would care to live.

There are false visions and true; some that never come, and some that will come, and truly. The false visions are those which have this world for their boundary, and the things of this world for their substance. There is a great variety in them, even at that rate. It is sometimes the will of God that men should get the discipline they need, and without which they would be lost for ever, by making the pilgrimage of life with visions before them which for ever fly pursuit. Turn from visions that fade to one which does not fade.

That vision is supernatural; it is pure vision, for it is seen by faith, and by faith only. What is that vision of these latter days? Jesus came to earth, lived, disappeared. But with that departure came a vision such as never mortals beheld before. The vision of a ransomed and purified race of men and women; of the destruction of all that is false, and the setting straight all that is wrong; of perfect truth, and a clear view thereof.

Then never lose faith, never fear.

Morgan Dix. Though it tarry, wait for it.

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In these words we have something supposed, and duty prescribed. A firm persuasion of the being and reality of what God has promised. Faith makes unseen things visible, and future things present; and as to things of a spiritual nature, it so demonstrates their excellency as to engage us to choose and give them the preference to all other things, while it excites strong desires after them.

Faith therefore enters into the very essence of the duty here enjoined. The deepest humility, joined with reverence and love. In order rightly to wait upon God we must have high apprehensions of Him and low apprehensions of ourselves. The waiting soul is sensible of its own dependence on the Divine all-sufficiency. Fervent and continued desire.

For these two are joined together in Isaiah Waiting will cease when desire fails; but when everything else in a Christian seems to be gone, this remains. Waiting upon God is opposed to a stupid and lethargic frame of spirit. Patience must be exercised in waiting. Not despairing patience.


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Not merely natural patience. A truly Christian patience, whereby we bear without murmuring the greatest afflictions, and are not totally discouraged by the longest delays. A patient spirit is neither timorous and distrustful on the one hand, nor rash and hasty on the other. For an apostolic similitude, see James We expect from God; we must not prescribe to Him. Fixedness and stability, in opposition to a fluctuating and unstable temper of mind; constancy and resolution, in opposition to fickleness and levity.

Diligence and constancy, in opposition to sloth and weariness. Waiting upon God does not imply indolence, but activity; not neglect of the means, but diligent use of them. Diligence without dependence is the greatest folly; and dependence without diligence is no better than presumption.

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The reasonableness of the exhortation. We are but servants; and what should servants do but wait? What God has promised must be worth waiting for. Surely those put a great slight upon the promised blessings who will not earnestly seek and patiently wait for them. God has long waited upon us.

He has had great patience with us, and shall we not patiently wait for His mercy? It is one end for which God bestows His grace upon us, that we might be able and willing to wait. It is this which calms the boisterous passions and stills the tumult of the soul. God seldom performs His promises or answers our expectations till we are brought to this state of mind. When we are submissive in the want of blessings we are most likely to enjoy them; whereas fretfulness and discontent will provoke God to withhold them. When we contend with Him, He will contend with us; but when we resign ourselves up to His will, He will gratify us in our wishes.

The sweetness of blessings is generally proportioned to the time we have waited for them, and the longer they have tarried the more welcome they are when they come. Learn from hence that when grace has reached the heart there is still much for the Christian to do.

Our present state is oftentimes a state of sore and pressing want, and always of imperfect enjoyment; and therefore we should wait, and our waiting should be accompanied with cheerfulness; and to secure this we should regard promises more than appearances.

God's Spoken Word : A Habakkuk 2:3 Story

Beddome, M. One signifies to tarry for shame, to remain in a place because ashamed to leave it. One word has in it the idea of choice, and means to remain behind willingly. Illustrate by Genesis ; Deuteronomy ; Genesis Habakkuk is speaking of the second advent of Christ. Mrywwitz, A.