Waiting for God’s Answer.

Habakkuk 2:1 NIV

 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.

Photo by Maria Camila Castaño from Pexels


Waiting an answer

In the last session, I referred to the phone calls we often make. When we are waiting for an answer to our call only to be told, “Be patient your call will be answered” is frustrating. When your call has been placed in an automatic answering system there is very little you can do to get a speedy answer. You have a choice to make. Impatiently put down the phone and try again later – or patiently await your turn in the queue.

  • When God appears to place you ‘on hold’ what is your usual reaction? Do you hang up on Him? Or do you, like Habakkuk, spend time waiting for Him and watching? Perhaps you phone a Christian friend. What do you do?
  • Habakkuk placed himself in a position where God could answer his call. How about you? Do you have a special place where you can listen for God? If not, can you think of one? Preferably a place you can be quiet, perhaps read Scripture, and pray. Try to develop such a place so that when you go there, your mind automatically begins to seek God.

We all need to discover that quiet place, a place where, if possible, we will not be disturbed. Where God has an opportunity to speak into our hearts. Somewhere we can deliberately switch off our own rational thoughts and invite God to speak to us.

Those special waiting-upon God places

Although we ideally want to be open to God at all times, I know have a variety of places where I am more likely to hear from Him.

A fellow Bible College student used to take a long run each morning. He communicated with God while running.

One of Shirley’s author friends has a hammock in her garden. As she enjoys nature, she is more open to the voice of God.

I can identify with her sentiments. My elder son has a lovely home with a large beautiful garden. When we visit them for a few days I often go and sit at some spot in their garden each morning for my quiet time. With the sound of the birds in the trees and soft running water from a small fountain, it is a great place to meet with God, waiting for a message from Him.

  • Can you identify a spot where you can go to, possibly not every day, that will supplement that time we spoke of earlier—the regular daily location.?

Awaiting God’s answer

The second part of Habakkuk 2 verse 1 is very interesting.

Most translations have ‘wait to see’, ‘wait and see’ or ‘watch to see’. The NIV and a couple of others have – “I will look to see what He will say to me.” I like that.

Notice Habakkuk didn’t say, “I will listen for His voice.” The clear picture here is of Habakkuk taking up a position where he could actually see how God would respond to his question. Perhaps through a vision, angelic visitation, dream, supernatural event, a change in circumstances, whatever . . . He is looking for a very definite sign of God’s response.

Jesus’ communication with God.

I am sure you know how some of the great Christian leaders of the past spent time with God. Their example is certainly an inspiration to us. But surely our greatest example is our Lord Himself? Scripture does not record all the times that Jesus communicated with His Father in Heaven, but a number of significant occasions are recorded for us.

Jesus prayed:

  • at His baptism by John the Baptist—Luke 3:21
  • before choosing the twelve apostles—Luke 6:12-15
  • at the raising of Lazarus from the dead—John11:41
  • at the Last Supper—John 17:1
  • in the Garden of Gethsemane—Matthew 26;39ff; Mark 14:35ff; Luke 22:41ff

In addition, during His three-year ministry, Jesus often withdrew from the crowds and even the twelve, in order to meet with God. Scripture records that He often went up a mountainside to pray. Could that have been a daily event? Definitely not. It was His special place to commune with His Father.

Awaiting signs of God’s answer

Just as the watchmen on the city walls or in the vineyard placed themselves in a position where they could see clear signs of approaching danger, so too the prophet was taking up a position where he could see signs of an answer to his complaint.

  • When you are praying for a specific situation, what signs do you expect to see of God’s answer?
  • How do you ‘look to see’ how He will answer?

God may delay His answer to your prayers but be assured of this one thing, God does want to answer your prayers.  He will answer your prayer in due course.

Our responsibility lies in waiting for that answer. That doesn’t mean that we stop praying for the answer, but our prayer can take on a note of assurance because we know He will answer. So we watch in anticipation for the answer. And of course, we acknowledge it when it does come. We continue to pray, regardless of any negative vibes, until we receive a clear answer.

It's amazing what you don't get when you don't ask - attributed to Berney Neufield Share on X

Phillips Brooks has this to say about prayer.

Rather than praying for an easier lfe, pray for a stronger person.   Rather than praying for challenges equal to your abilities, pray for abilities equal to your challenges. Then the miracle will not be what you have done, your work—but you shall be the miracle. Then every day you will wonder at yourself and the richness of life that God in His grace has given you. (Phillips Brooks)

What have you learned today? What action are you going to take? How about finding that special place? Or identifying a spot for your daily quiet time.

“Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful.” (Colossians 4:2 CEV)

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


Watching and waiting

Habakkuk 2:1 NIrV

‘I will go up to the lookout tower. I’ll station myself on the city wall. I’ll wait to see how the LORD will reply to me. Then I’ll try to figure out how to answer him.’

Patiently Waiting and watching

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay   [spacer height="20px"]

  • How good are you at watching and waiting for someone to arrive? Or for a meeting to commence?
  • What is your reaction, when the date and time have been set, and an important person arrives late or perhaps does not pitch up at all?Of recent years, South Africans have become well used to waiting, albeit often not patiently, for politicians to arrive to address us on television.  

We’ve all had the experience of making a phone call only to have a recorded voice tell you, “Please be patient. Your call will be answered.” There is not much you can do, apart from drumming your fingers on the desk, doodling on your desk pad, listening to or humming along with the music, while you wait for a consultant to become available. Sometimes they even add insult to injury as the robotic voice assures us, “You call is important to us!” 

In 1952 Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys brought out the hit song ‘Slow Poke’. The lyrics describe someone waiting for their date, who failed to arrive at the appointed time. The date seems to have had no concept of the passing of time, or the extreme concern engendered in the waiting party. The hours go by and still there is no appearance of the date. Eventually the waiting person decides that the only thing to do is become a slow poke too.

Waiting patiently?

  • Can you think of a specific occasion when God appeared to have put you ‘on hold’? What were the circumstances?

We may often feel that God has put us ‘on hold’.

  • What do you suggest we do when this happens?
  • Take another look at our text for this week. What did Habakkuk do when God appeared to put him ‘on hold’?

Having expressed his concerns, Habakkuk didn’t just hang up. He placed himself in a position to receive God’s answer (Habakkuk 2:1).

Watchtowers and watchmen

As I pointed out in our last session, in Bible times, stone watchtowers were built on city walls so that the watchmen could see enemies or messengers approaching while they were still quite a distance away.

Jesus referred to a watchtower in one of the parables: “Listen to another parable,” Jesus said. “There was once a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to tenants and left home on a trip.” (Matthew 21:33 GNB)

In this case the watchtower was built so that the tenant farmers could appoint a watchman, to take up his position in the tower, to safeguard the grape harvest.

Watchmen and watchtowers were also words used by the prophets to show an attitude of expectation. (Isaiah 21:8; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17) “Then a guard said, “I have stood day and night on this watchtower, Lord.” (Isaiah 21:8 CEV)

Waiting for our ship to come in

I wonder if our problem as Christians is not that we often lack expectations. We pray about situations, health problems, the salvation of family or friends etc., but do we really expect God to answer our prayers? Are we waiting for His answer? What are we doing while we are waiting?

Waiting and watching for God’s answer does not mean that we should be idle. “Many people wait for their ‘ship to come in’ but forget  that they  must first dredge the harbour, build a lighthouse and a pier so the ship can find them and dock. If they don’t, ‘their’ ship will find another port.” (attributed to John Columbus)

My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain that the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace. 2 Peter 3:14 CEV Share on X

Patient watching and waiting for the Lord’s answer

The prophet Micah declared, “I trust the LORD God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer.” (Micah 7:7CEV)

After leaving school, I joined a bank. A few years later, in January 1959, I opened my life to Jesus. I soon became involved in Wayside Sunday School work. Gradually, over a period of time, I began to sense the Lord wanted me in full time ministry. I spoke to my pastor about this. He wisely advised me to keep serving the Lord as I was already doing, and that the Lord would make His will for my life abundantly clear. Over the next year, the Lord used a speaker at a Youth for Christ meeting, and my daily quiet time readings, to give me a clear call. And in 1965, I attended the Bible Institute of South Africa which was the first step towards a pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa.

As Christians we have a major means of hearing from God—through His Word.

Often, we may come across a passage that we may have read numerous times before, but suddenly the words almost leap out of the page. You know that God put it there just for you.

Have you ever experienced this? I have, on many occasions. 

In Psalm 5:3 David wrote, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5;3 NIV)

So what have we learned today? I believe the above verse shows us that God doesn’t always leap to answer our prayers the moment we utter them. (If He did, we wouldn’t have to wait or watch, right?) You see, what seems urgent to us, may not in fact be at all urgent in the large scheme of life. It could be extremely important for there to be a delay. It could even be that God plans to bring other things into play before He answers. 

So we need to learn the difficult lesson of waiting on Him and watching for His answer.

In closing, let’s have some fun. Join me and listen to the song I referred to at the beginning of today’s study by clicking on the link. And where I would never call God a slow-poke, perhaps there is some meaning in the words for us. If we really want to follow God’s plan for our lives, maybe we do need to learn how to watch and wait, and be prepared to move at His pace.

If there is any specific prayer I can pray for you, please leave it in a comment section below. 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.

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.