God’s Second Response
2 Then the Lord answered me and said, “Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. 3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. 4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. 5 “Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man, So that he does not stay at home. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, And he is like death, never satisfied. He also gathers to himself all nations And collects to himself all peoples (Habakkuk 2:2-2:5 NASB).
I find it so interesting that God instructed Habakkuk to inscribe the vision he was about to receive on tablets (v. 2). The vision was meant to be shared. Those who read it were to run and tell others. This is true of all God’s Word. It is meant to be shared. Christians are meant to share the Gospel of Christ just as Habakkuk was meant to share this vision.
God then warns Habakkuk to be patient (v. 3). Though the vision he receives concerns the future, Habakkuk is to exercise patience when waiting for it to come to pass. He was not to waver should it seem like God was taking His time. The writer of the Book of Hebrews would echo this sentiment some seven hundred years later when he reminded the Christian to exercise endurance, “For in yet a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay” (Hebrews 10:37). God’s plan has been unfolding for thousands of years and we are called to remain confident that it will all come to pass according to His plans and on His schedule. Like Habakkuk, we must not waver or grow impatient.
God then directly responds to Habakkuk’s query concerning the Babylonians. How can God be silent as the Babylonians swallow up the righteous? God points out that the Babylonians are sinfully proud and their souls are not right (v. 4). God contrasts the Babylonians’ posture with that of the righteous who live by faith. This implies that Babylon, despite its strength and might, will not live because they fail to trust in God. In his commentary, Dr. Thomas Constable explains that 2:4 is pivotal in understanding the Book of Habakkuk:
This is the key verse in Habakkuk, because it summarizes the difference between the proud Babylonians and their destruction, with the humble faith of the Israelites and their deliverance. The issue is trust in God.
In verse 5, God compares the Babylonians to the public drunkard. He staggers about exposing his appetite for all to see. He is never satisfied … never sated. The Babylonians may be hungry to gather all peoples and nations to themselves yet it is all in vain for they have failed to put their trust in God. Their fall is inevitable. God justice will prevail in time.
Principles for Christians Lives from Habakkuk 2:2-5
- God’s Word is meant to be shared: We are commanded by Christ to share His gospel with others. His Word is essentially a love letter to mankind. We shouldn’t study it solely to build up our knowledge – we should study it to share it.
- God’s plan will come to pass in His time: We should not grow weary or waver. Rather, we should have faith that God’s plan will come to fruition just as He has promised. In the meantime, we are to exercise patience and live in faith.
- God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6): Knowing this, we should posture ourselves humbly before God. We should recognize that He is God and we aren’t.