Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:2–3, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” This quote, from the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” ranks as number eleven on the American Film Institute’s top 100 movie quotations of American cinema’s first century. It gets quoted (typically misquoted) a lot.
Habakkuk was having such a moment with God, and I think I can see why. “Make it plain on tablets?” “Though it linger…it will not delay.” Doesn’t sound plain to me. The Law of Non-Contradiction states that “contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time.” Yet here we go, “it will linger…it will not delay” Now who’s misquoting? Plus, you must consider the context. Is what God is saying “in the same sense at the same time?” Now that’s context.
Habakkuk had complained that God was not dealing with the evil in Judah on behalf of the “righteous” in Judah. God replied, “I am going to do something in your day.” (Habakkuk 1:5, NIV 1984). Kind of like, “though it linger.” God goes on to say, “I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth.” (Habakkuk 1:6, NIV 1984). Kind of like, “it will not delay.”
That’s our context, but how do we connect the dots? “The revelation awaits an appointed time.” It will linger, so wait for it. And when the appointed time arrives, “it will certainly come and will not delay. ” Habakkuk was not so thrilled with God’s response to his complaint. God was using a people more corrupt than wayward Judah to respond to Habakkuk’s complaint. How unlike God! Really? Because Babylon did come at the appointed time, when God’s patience with Judah was up. How unlike God? There’s more context. Babylon eventually fell, at the agency of Medes and Persians, but at the direction of God Almighty. Babylon no longer exists but Israel does.
The Babylonian Empire no longer exists, but the Babylonian culture of Godlessness does. A culture that we as Christians are repeatedly asking God, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Do see see a law that is paralyzed? Destruction and violence? Justice that is perverted and never prevails? Strife and conflict? The wicked hemming in the righteous? Does it seem like God is not listening? He is. In fact, He has told us, ” “I am going to do something.” But, “the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.” “Babylon” will fall once again. Never to rise again. Christ’s Kingdom will come, and His reign will never end. It may not be soon. But it is imminent. “Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.“