Summary: No matter what we are going through, even when it appears as though God is not aware, stand your watch and wait on the Lord.
Rev. Wayne A. Lawson, M.Min
First Baptist Church
Ardmore, OK 73402
(Preached Sunday, July 31, 2005)
Scripture: Habakkuk 2:1-4 1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Title: A Different Perspective
Three books of the Minor Prophets are contemporary with Jeremiah’s ministry, especially its early years. ZEPHANIAH – NAHUM – HABAKKUK reflect the circumstances and outlook in Judah during Josiah’s reign and the days immediately following his death. They depict the imminent rise of Babylon and the subsequent collapse of Assyria. Above all, they set in bold relief the justice of God justice of God at work in Judah and the world. They discern the divine hand in the changing of the guard internationally - they call attention to the need for reform internally - and they anticipate divine recokoning with persistent rebellion where reform is rejected. This sounds much like our nations condition today.
Like HAGGAI and ZECHARIAH, Habakkuk is called “The Prophet” possibly a technical title designating an official position in the religious community, or perhaps merely indicating that this writing was worthy to be included among the canonical prophetic books. Habakkuk finds himself troubled on Two Different Levels.
· First – Why did God allow wickedness in Israel to continue for so long
· Second – Why did God elect to use a wicked nation – Babylon – to destroy a less wicked nation – Israel
· The Prophet really struggles with these two issues and does the only thing he knows how to do
· He cries out to God for an answer
· He took the Question to the Answer
· He then waits for God
God has not as of yet judged Judah’s wickedness. God, not the people, is the first object of Habakkuk’s censure. He has the audacity to give his complaint to God concerning the sin of his people. The problem that this prophet is experiencing in our text for examination is the fact that “a different perspective” is required. Habakkuk is Hurting and Viewing situation – “Looking through a glass darkly.” He is experiencing a problem that many in the Church experience even today. When it comes to the things of God we need “a different perspective.” All too often we have the tendency to view the Spiritual Realm through Carnal Vision.
· Spirituality and Carnality don’t mix
· Like Water and Oil
· Carnal Mind is Enmity with God
· Can’t Decipher Spiritual things with Carnal Thoughts
The way we view any situation is dependent upon the perspective by which we employ. For example -- The Parsonage seems somewhat small when I walk around in it, but it is big enough when it is time to clean it. I have been blessed to Pastor here for slightly over 5-years now, feels like I have been here a long time, but when you compare it to the 116 year Church history, it has only been a very short time. It seems as though I have not been in Oklahoma very long, but in a little over 6-months we will be residents of Oklahoma for 10-years. Our perspective will influence the way we see things. One of the great challenges of being a minister is saying things clearly so that people understand. I know what I want to say, but people often hear something quite different than what I intended. That’s because we have different perspectives. This was Habakkuk’s problem. He expected God to revive His people and wake them from their spiritual sleep. We find him in the midst of prayer, almost to the point of Questioning God and accusing Him of inactivity.
This Prophet seems to stand between the times – looking back to the Exodus and ahead to the day of the Lord. But neither past nor future intervention will ease his problem. He longs for a display of God’s power in his present circumstances. We have same expectation today. Expect God to display His hand to prove to us He is working in our situations. Reminded of Gideon He put out a Fleece asked God to Prove He would use him to save Israel by his hand. We too want God to Prove that he is Aware and Working on our Behalf. After posing questions to God listen to what the Prophet says - “I WILL STAND UPON MY WATCH, AND SET ME UPON THE TOWER, AND WILL WATCH TO SEE WHAT HE WILL SAY UNTO ME, AND WHAT I SHALL ANSWER WHEN I AM REPROVED.” Several interpreters understand this to have been an actual tower or elevation, citing the examples of MOSES or BALAAM and of ELIJAH at Sinai. None of these cases is really comparable to that of Habakkuk, who could possibly be using only a figure of speech. Certainly he must have prepared himself by prayerful meditation to receive the Divine answer. Jeremiah waited 10-days for an answer to his inquiry. Probably some interval of time elapsed between the expostulation of Chapter 1 and the answer received in this Chapter. Habakkuk records only his determination to wait for an answer; he does not tell us when it finally arrived.