Today’s passage is Habakkuk 2.1-4, but to make sense of it, it’s worth looking back at chapter 1.
In chapter 1 the prophet’s cry is one that we often hear today: how can you let this happen, God? We see destruction and violence and wickedness all around – where are you, Lord? The law is ignored and justice is perverted – how can you let this continue?
At the beginning of chapter 2 we have an answer, of a sort. What do you think of the Lord’s reply?
When I read these words I’m reminded that so often the Lord’s reply to me is the same: trust me. ‘Things are moving, I’m not delaying or lying to you… trust me.’ Verse 4 contains those famous words “the righteous (one) will live by his faith”, and what strikes me is how true this is. We do live by faith, and in faith, that the Lord is coming, that he will put things to right. Though the world is often dark and violent and God is invisible, often mysterious, and frequently elusive in his replies to important questions, we have to trust him… the alternative is to put our faith in empty, powerless idols (look ahead to Hab 2.18-20). We don’t build statues today, but we’re good at putting our trust in money, or politics, a job, or even our family. But let’s make that choice to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…” (Heb 12.2)
One of the books that’s been most helpful to me on the question of faith is Philip Yancey‘s ‘Reaching for the Invisible God‘ (you can read Chapter 3: Room for Doubt and Chapter 4: Faith Under Fire online for free), his personal and insightful exploration of the challenges of relating to – and trusting in – an invisible God. I also highly recommend John Ortberg’s ‘Faith and Doubt‘, which is one of the wisest books I’ve read on this – or any – topic.
If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (Hab 2.3)