We come to Habakkuk’s second question which the prophet asks in verses 12 to 13.
Why doesn’t God stop all the trouble in the world? God has purer eyes than to behold evil, surely, He can’t use evil people to chastise good people, that goes against God’s whole character. He’s got to be on the side of the good against the evil.
Yes! That is that right. Well, ‘yes’, but also ‘no’. There’s a time when God will allow the wicked to chastise the good for His purposes, to bring them to Himself and He says: you’ve appointed them for judgment, you’ve marked them for correction, which is true.
But He says we shall not die, which is also true. God is going to bring them through this.
There’s a kind of idea that, somehow, God shouldn’t allow this to happen because, as Habakkuk says: you’re too pure to behold evil, surely you can’t use the bad guys against the good guys.
Actually, that’s not necessarily the case. Otherwise, how will we explain evil people coming to power throughout the earth?
There has always been this battle between God and evil, God and Satan, and God allows Satan a certain amount of freedom to act if you like. He’s going to have His way ultimately, in bringing Satan down but, in the meantime, we have to live in a world in which evil often triumphs over the good, and we have to learn how to live with it.
But the prophet asks: How can you hold your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he? Surely this is against Your will, surely, you’ve got to do something to save us. You can’t let the wicked devour the righteous; you can’t favour a wicked pagan people over your covenant people, over Israel.
And so, Habakkuk says he’ll see what God has to say. In chapter 2 verse 1 he then says:
Habakkuk admits: Okay, maybe I do need a bit of correction on this. Maybe I’ll just see what god has to say. And he recognized he may have got it wrong. He says he’ll wait and see what God has to say about it. He’ll wait and see how would God will use these events. He asks Him what will be His answer.
There are times also, when we need to ask ourselves, and ask God: Have we got it right on everything?
I need to do that myself, and we need to be humble and recognize that there may be things which God, actually, wants to correct in us on how we view things. And we need to recognize that we don’t have everything sorted out ourselves. Even if, like me, you’ve studied the Bible for 50 years and you think you’ve got it all sussed out.
Well, maybe there are things which we need to see that God may want to change in us. And God continually wants to change things in us. He wants us to understand Him truly.
Habakkuk wants to see how God will answer when he is corrected. He wants to see what God’s going to say to him and how God will use these events.
Now, he’s asking Him and we see what He will answer. As I said, we need to be ready for God to correct us, to make us see what is true and what is not true.
In verses 2 to 4, in chapter 2, the Lord answers:
God says to Habakkuk: write down the vision make it clear so people can read it and understand it.
Put it on a billboard if you like, so people can walk by and see what it is, what it has to say. Write it down in a booklet if you like. This might be done with the ‘10 Signs’ booklet, and give it out to people so they can see what’s going to come and act in response to it.
God says this is going to come for the appointed time. It will surely come.
He says: whether you want like it or not, this is going to happen.
And there are things which we don’t like and we think we can stop from happening. But, actually, they’re going to happen whether we like it or not.
So, let’s be ready for it, be ready because, in this case, the Babylonian invasion which I’m talking about says God, is going to happen, and it’s going to happen because it’s my will. In fact, it’s my will in order to correct you.
There are two main responses here: that of the proud, and that of the just.
It says the proud his soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith.
This tells us that there are two ways in which we’re going to respond to the Word of the Lord:
1. The proud refuse the Word of the Lord, they refuse to repent of their sins and to believe in the Lord.
- They refuse to see the signs; they refuse to heed the prophetic word.
- They carry on without God.
- They say we’ve got it all sussed out, we’ll trust in our own righteousness.
- We can work it out, we’re clever people we know what to do and we can work it out without God.
Basically, the spirit of the world today is that still we can work it out without God.
- We don’t need God; ‘we don’t need You telling us that we need to repent and believe the Gospel’.
- We don’t need you telling us that Jesus is coming again: ‘that’s all a load of baloney!‘
- We’re going to sort it out.
- We’re strong, we know what to do.
- We know how to sort these problems out.
And God says that the proud are actually going to be brought down because they don’t sort it out and the vision will happen.
What will happen is going to happen because it’s God’s will, and God has written about it in his Word. Therefore, if it’s written in the Word of God, it’s going to happen whether we like it or not.
2. Then, He says: the just shall live by faith. Those who do repent and believe will and have a true faith in God, they will live.
They may suffer outwardly in the coming judgment, but they will have the life of God in them which will enable them to come through it with faith and victory.
And when you go to the Book of Daniel, you see there that you have people who had faith, who were justified, who believed in God, and who, in the Babylonian situation, had the victory.
They demonstrated also that their faith was going to stand and that they were to stand against all of the forces which were coming against them.
God says to those who have faith today that:
- If you have Me in you, you have the Holy Spirit within you.
- You have the God who made the Heavens and the earth within you.
- You have Jesus who died on the cross and rose from the dead within you.
- You have the Holy Spirit within you.
- You have the power of god within you and greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
Therefore, if you have any sense, if you have any understanding of the situation which we’re in – always in this world because we’re always facing trouble and death – if you have any sense, you’re going to believe the Gospel, and believe in Jesus, and have the Holy Spirit within you.
The just shall live by faith, of course, is a verse which is quoted three times in the New Testament.
The most famous one is in Romans chapter 1 verses 16-17 where it says:
There is a way in which every person on the face of the earth can be justified with God:
by having faith in God through Jesus the Messiah and repentance of faith in Jesus Christ who makes us justified with God.
To receive Salvation, to receive Christ in us, the hope of glory. Because Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, rose again from the dead to give us eternal life, and He promises to keep all those who trust in Him through good and bad circumstances.
So, whatever happens, trust in Him. And although the Gospel is not yet revealed to the Old Testament prophets, it’s there in embryo right through the Old Testament. And when Jesus comes, He comes to reveal it in full. And we who live after Jesus, can look back and recognize that we have a saviour in the Lord Jesus who justifies us.
And so, we can live by faith in Him.
In our time, we can see that although there is tribulation coming, there is a hope in Jesus the Messiah.
We can tell people about this hope in Jesus, we can tell people that there is a way out of the crisis which is coming on the earth.
We can read the Gospel. You know we’ve done these little booklets and signs and SOS messages (we can send these to you in various languages on request), giving them out, telling people what’s coming and giving them the opportunity to repent and believe the Gospel.
They can read the signs as the Lord said: write the vision, make it plain on the tablets that he may run who reads it.
So, give people something to read that they may understand what’s coming and what they can do about it by believing the Gospel and having faith in Jesus.
In Salvation we have the promise of God to keep us.
Revelation chapter 3 verses 10-11 says
A promise there, of God, to keep you from the hour of trial which will come upon the whole world. That hour of trial does seem to represent the Tribulation time which is coming to test those who dwell on the earth.
It says: I’m coming quickly.
Jesus promises He is going to come again, to come again to save those who believe in Him. Therefore, we should hold fast what we have that no one may take our crown.
There is the issue there about: Does it mean ‘I will keep you from the hour of trial’? I will take you out of the world before the hour of trial begins? The issue of the pre-Tribulation Rapture view?
Or does it mean I will keep you in the hour of trial, I’ll keep you through the hour of trial?
The Greek word is ‘from’, ‘εκ’, which means to take something ‘out of somewhere to somewhere else’.
So, personally, I favour the pre-Tribulation view. But, as it hasn’t happened yet, I should warn you that if it doesn’t happen this way and we end up going through the Tribulation, either way, we have to have Jesus in our lives. And He’s the One who’s going to keep us and help us through this time.
He’s the only help and so, write it down and read it, and believe it! And know that the just shall live by faith.