God’s Time – never too early, never too late

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)


Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

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.


On the Lookout for God

Habakkuk 2:1 MSG

‘What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint.’

Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

 A Lookout tower

In Old Testament times lookout towers played a major role in a city’s defence system. Inevitably, most cities had one or more of these towers built at a strategic point on the city’s walls. Men were appointed to be on regular watch duty in order to warn the residents and its leaders of any approaching danger  (See Judges 8:9,17; Judges 9:46-52; 2 Kings 9:17; plus many more).

The book of Nehemiah describes the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and refers to several towers located along those walls.

We also read in Scripture of towers that were built in vineyards so that someone could be positioned in the tower to prevent the theft of the grape harvest (Isaiah 5:2; Matthew 21:3).

David was the author of many of the psalms in the book of Psalms. In Psalm 61:3 he wrote,“You are a strong tower, where I am safe from my enemies.”

“You are a strong tower, where I am safe from my enemies.” David in Psalm 61:3 Share on X
  • In all honesty, to whom do you first turn when things become too stressful for you?
    • Would that be God (obviously ideal, but do you really?) or your partner? Or even yourself?

Waiting and watching for God

We noted in the last session that the final verse of Habakkuk chapter 1 is in the form of a question. Today, we see the prophet say that he will watch for the answer. He will stand on something high, like the walls of the city of Jerusalem or one of its (lookout) towers. (adapted from Easy English Commentary)

Jeremy Collier in his book by the same title says, “Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God’s will.”

“Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God’s will.” (– Jeremy Collier) Share on X
  • What is your reaction when you have an appointment with someone and they keep you waiting? This is a very common challenge in South Africa.
    • What about your country?

Time waits for no man

Many of us find it difficult to just hang around waiting for something to happen or for someone who’s running late, to arrive. We are often in bondage to time.

  • Are you a time fanatic, things must happen when you have decided they should?
  • Are you a clock watcher, more concerned about time than getting the job done? Perhaps you’re anxious to get away from work on the dot of 5, or whatever time you’re due to knock-off. Or do you first get the job done?

Scripture reveals that God is not bound by time. In fact, He often keeps us waiting.

The prophecy of Habakkuk reveals that our God cannot be pressurized into falling in line with our timetable. He may well choose to keep us waiting.

  • When God appears to delay His answer to your prayer, are you inclined to carry on regardless? That’s a temptation I often face. Instead of waiting, I feel I need to just move on. 

Jesus’ tells us to “Watch and pray. Then you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted. The spirit is willing. But the body is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NIrV)

Waiting patiently

Learning to wait patiently for God to answer our prayers is one of the most difficult lessons we have to learn as Christians. We live in an instant age – instant coffee, instant meals, instant digital cameras, instant SMS messages, to name but a few.

  • In what current situations are you under pressure to get things done today – yesterday would have been better?

God is not under that same pressure.

Learning to wait upon the Lord can make the difference between peace and panic in our lives.

The Lord as our lookout tower

In his commentary on this verse, Matthew Henry wrote“The Divine power, made known in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, forms a strong tower for the believer, who relies on the Lord.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Max Lucado commenting on this verse, suggests the following:

    • When we are in a state of confusion we can turn to our shepherd, Jehovah-Raah.
    • If we’re concerned about material needs, we can talk to Jehovah-jireh – God our provider.
    • If life’s circumstances have us in turmoil, we can seek help from Jehovah-shalom – the Lord our peace.
    • Should we be in need of physical or emotional healing Jehovah-rophe, the Lord who heals you, is always available.
    • And if we feel the battle against the forces of evil is becoming too much for us, it is then that we can take refuge in Jehovah-nissi, the Lord my banner.

And in “The Great House of God”, he says:

    • Indeed the Lord is the Good Shepherd who guides us;
    • the One who provides;
    • the quiet voice that brings peace of mind;
    • the doctor or specialist who heals our aches and pains and
    • the one who goes ahead of us like a banner bearer. (adapted fom ‘The Great House of God , by Max Lucado)

Blessed are those who wait

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18)

Like the prophet, when we are becoming overwhelmed by life’s trying circumstances we should draw aside to our tower – that special place where we can commune with God without distraction.

There we can be open with the Lord, tell Him all our troubles. We can ask for His guidance. But we do need to be prepared to watch and wait for His answer. This may eventually come to us through the Word, through a podcast, or even through the Holy Spirit impressing the solution to the problem upon our minds. But we need to listen. And watch. And stay on the lookout for His answer!

Share with me in a comment how you are using these messages. I’d love to hear from you, and I will respond. Do you need prayer? I’m happy to pray for you.

Have a blessed week!


If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.