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.