Why Then Do You Look On The Wicked?

an exposition of Habakkuk 1:11-2:1
Part 3 of 3
Base on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, Mar-Aug 2014

We’re continuing our study of Habakkuk 1:11-2:1 which may be divided into three parts, namely, the prophet describes God (1:12-13a), the prophet questions God (1:13b-17), and the prophet waits for God’s answer (2:1).

We’ve already considered the first two parts. In this article, we’ll look at the third and final part and two closing thoughts.

The Prophet Waits for
God’s Answer (2:1)

Habakkuk 2:1, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”

Having presented his second round of questions and complaints to the LORD, the prophet now takes up a posture of watchfulness to wait for God’s reply. He goes to the watchtower, the place where the watchman stands in order to keep a lookout for the enemy.

Habakkuk situates himself on a watchtower to stand in waiting, not for the enemy, but for God’s word and revelation for he says, “to see what he (God) will say to me.”

But not only does Habakkuk stand to wait for God’s reply to his questions, the last part of the verse suggests that he will, at the same time, also be preparing an answer to the rebuke which he expects from the Lord.   In other words, Habakkuk recognized that what he had just said earlier constituted a very strong and even audacious challenge to God’s revelation and indeed to God’s sovereignty, and so he braces himself for the rebuke that he is sure will come to him, and not only that, but he prepares himself to answer God’s rebuke.

But interestingly, that strong rebuke which Habakkuk was bracing himself for never came. Instead, God, in His mercy, dealt kindly with him by gently disclosing His purpose for the ages.

This revelation, found in the rest of chapter 2, so transforms Habakkuk that instead of questioning God further or answering back to God, he responds with a humble prayer and indeed a Psalm of praise and submission to God, found in chapter 3.

But more of that in subsequent articles. Meanwhile, I’ll like to leave us with two brief closing thoughts.

Two Closing Thoughts

First, we are to turn to God and His attributes for stability in our lives, and we are to wait upon Him patiently.

Habakkuk did well by turning to His mighty God or Rock in the midst of great chaos and uncertainty and fear.

We too must always fall back on the basic truths of God’s character and attributes. He is eternal and holy and just and faithful and powerful and sovereign. We must believe that, even if we do not fully understand all that He is doing and all that is going on. And we must wait patiently upon Him to do what is best and right in His own good time.      

Let us be encouraged that those who take refuge in the LORD and trust in Him will never be put to shame or be disappointed.

Second, we must never presume to comprehend God or to fully understand and appreciate all of His ways and works. We must never think that we can fully understand God and His ways. As one commentator wrote, “It is a dangerous and foolish thing to anticipate how God will act in the circumstances of life.” God’s ways are not our ways. Who are we to lecture God on how He ought to work or what He can or cannot do?

We must remind ourselves again and again of our position in this universe in relation to God. The author of Ecclesiastes says,

“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few” (Ecc 5:1-2).

God sits enthroned over the universe, not us. The universe is His to rule over and to order. He is the Sovereign. We are His subjects. Our part is to stand in awe of Him, and listen attentively to His Word, and humbly submit to what He says. May the Lord grant us His grace to do that. Amen.

Linus Chua