Habakkuk 2:3 CEV
‘At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen!’
We are living in an age in which perfect timing is of the essence. God’s perfect timing is the basis of our verse.
In His time
The New International Version puts the first part of the verse in this way, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time.”
Although God gave Habakkuk the message it was not for that immediate time.
The message for Habakkuk was a specific message for a particular time in world history. A specific future time when the fall of Babylon would take place.
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
(Daniel 5:30-31 NIV)
Two things were definite about God’s plans for the future:
His plans would take place at exactly the right time.
And they would definitely take place.
- Look again at the verse. What do you notice about God’s comment?
- Did you notice that God does not scold Habakkuk for his complaints? Nor is He annoyed about His questions. God actually explains that sometimes the answers to our prayers do not necessarily come to pass immediately.
At the right time
- Have you perhaps prayed to God about a particular issue, but the answer only came much later? Did you perhaps realise that the timing of the answer was perfect?
- Do you remember a time when you believed God was actually telling you something, and at the time you did not understand what He meant?
- Perhaps you waited in anticipation of an immediate explanation. A day. a week, a month, a year passed without receiving the answer. Just at the point that you were about to give up the answer came and God’s timing was perfect.
In the early days of my life as a committed Christian, I received a dream of a sunken chapel. I don’t usually pay much attention to my dreams. I don’t remember them beyond a few minutes after waking up. However, I strongly believed that in some way that dream was a message from the Lord.
Years later, I attended a Renewal Conference of our denomination in Kwa-Zulu Natal. As it was my first attendance at that particular conference centre I was shown around the centre by one of my colleagues. He asked me ‘Rob have you seen the chapel?’ Immediately, within my spirit, I knew what I was about to see. Sure enough, it was the sunken chapel of my dream.
What then was the significance of the dream?
I had been going through a time of questioning whether I was meant to be in the Presbyterian Church ministry at all. What I learnt at that Renewal Conference brought about a transformation in my whole approach to the pastoral ministry and the focus of my preaching. Because of that dream, years earlier, I knew something significant was about to occur.
God’s appointed time
The vision Habakkuk received was for God’s appointed time. When God makes a promise, we can count on Him to carry out His promise when the time is right.
Wise King Solomon provided this reminder:
“Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.”
There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping,
for killing and healing, destroying and building,
for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing,
for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting.
There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving,
for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking.
There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 CEV)
Wait for the right time
God has his perfect timing. Habakkuk “was to patiently wait on the answers to come.”
This is where you and I have a problem. We are living in an age of instant answers. Instant coffee. Made-in-a-minute soup. Electronic banking. We expect things to happen immediately, in our timing. We find waiting to be frustrating. When we bring a need before the Lord in prayer, we expect an immediate answer. The Lord is the almighty God. All things are possible for Him. He could answer immediately. Yet for some unknown reason, He often chooses to delay His response.
The prophet Isaiah, like Habakkuk, knew what it is like to have to wait for God’s answer. He provides us with these encouraging words,
“…they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV)
If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.