2 I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
(Habakkuk 2:1 NIV)
As we continue to listen in on the conversation between Habakkuk and God, Habakkuk has just asked his second question to the Lord at the end of chapter 1.
Chapter two begins with Habakkuk stating that he will wait for the Lord’s answer.
There is so much packed into this one statement in verse 1 – let’s dig in and find the treasures.
Habakkuk said he was going to wait for the Lord’s answer. Not only did Habakkuk ask God to answer by asking his second question, but he said specifically that he would wait for God’s answer. In fact, Habakkuk said he would wait for God’s answer as a soldier stands watch at his post. And where was his post? In the watchtower (ramparts), where he could get the best view to whatever was to happen.
First of all, it’s important to notice that Habakkuk asked his second question with full expectation that God would answer him. Let’s review quickly, going back to the Lord’s answer to Habakkuk in chapter 1, verse 5:
“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
First of all, the Lord told Habakkuk to be on the lookout for what He (God) was going to do. By keeping watch in the watchtower (ramparts), Habakkuk was exercising his faith and obeying God’s command.
Secondly, notice the timeframe the Lord declared to Habakkuk: “… in your days…”. The Lord did not give Habakkuk a prophesy about events way in the future, beyond his years. Instead, God said this event would happen in Habakkuk’s lifetime.
So what was Habakkuk expecting as an answer? I am guessing that Habakkuk did not know what to expect. His head was likely still spinning from hearing God’s pronouncement. But Habakkuk took a step of faith and followed God’s command. If the Lord decided to answer Habakkuk’s second question directly, Habakkuk was stationed in a quiet place where he would be ready to hear God’s answer. If the Lord decided to answer Habakkuk’s second question with action, Habakkuk was stationed in the watchtower where he would see the dust of the great Babylonian war machine rising in the distance as it approached his city. Either way, Habakkuk was waiting to see what God would say or do.
So how does this apply to us?
When we talk to God through prayer, do we pray in faith, or are we just voicing our complaints with no expectation that God hears, or that He cares, or that He will answer? Habakkuk prayed in faith, fully expecting God to respond, taking God at His word that something was going to happen in Habakkuk’s lifetime.
When we pray, what is our expectation of God’s timing? In our “instant” society, we expect instant gratification – emails, texts, and communication. Fast food, instant coffee, quick diets… you get the picture. All God had promised was that He would act in Habakkuk’s lifetime. We don’t know how old Habakkuk was when God gave him this notice. If Habakkuk was an older man, it could be several years. If he was middle-aged, it could be ten or twenty years. If Habakkuk was a young man, the wait could be upwards of fifty or more years between the time of God’s pronouncement and the actual event! In any case, Habakkuk was remaining faithful to God’s call and waiting expectantly. And so should we.
Notice that Habakkuk did not pray, then run out and take matters into his own hands. That’s always the temptation, isn’t it? If we feel that God is taking too long, then we run around and wear ourselves out, trying to make something happen. And our lack of faith often delays the Lord’s answer, as He patiently waits for us to come to the place where we really trust Him. Habakkuk asked his question, then waited in quiet confidence that the Lord would answer in His own time, not Habakkuk’s timeframe.
May we be like Habakkuk, praying humbly, waiting quietly and confidently, and watching expectantly for God’s reply.