Summary: A lesson in learning to trust God from the book of Habakkuk
Habakkuk 2:1-4 “How Do I Live By Faith?”
I have some friends who are doing what is known as "living by faith."
To them, and to many who use that phrase, it means that they are trusting totally on God to supply their financial needs.
As a matter of fact, most people who use the term "living by faith" use it in a sense that refers to God’s provision.
They have no doubt that God will meet their needs.
It is easy to say we are "living by faith" when things are going well, when there are no personal crises to deal with, no tragedies in life, no heartache.
But what about when "the going gets tough" - when the last of the savings account is gone and there is still no job in sight, when someone we love is taken from us abruptly, when we seem to be thrown into the middle of persecution or injustice for no apparent reason?
These are the times that test our faith.
These are times that cause us to question God.
These are times that can lead us to doubt the very existence of God if we aren’t careful, especially if God is slow to answer.
Does asking God questions mean we don’t have faith?
No, Habakkuk asked God questions.
He was troubled by the wickedness he saw in his society and he brought some serious questions before God.
In this conversation between Habakkuk and God, we are left with the distinct impression that he was a man who truly learned to live by faith.
He trusted God to provide answers to his questions, but more than that, he trusted that God is in control and that he can be completely trusted to vindicate those who are faithful to him.
In Verses 1-4 of Chapter 2 we catch a glimpse of what it really means to "live by faith."
Habakkuk gives us four principles - four biblical truths - that will strengthen our faith if we are willing to learn and apply them.
I. Living By Faith Means Waiting For God To Answer (v 1)
In Chapter 1, Habakkuk asked God two questions: The first is found in Chapter 1:1-4, "Why do the wicked go unpunished?"
Habakkuk appeals to the Lord, wondering how long he must cry out and how long he must look at all the wickedness before God does something.
We would have said it this way, "Hey, God, when are you going to punish all these evil people and vindicate me?"
God answers the first question by telling Habakkuk that he will use the most wicked of all nations, the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to punish not only Israel, but all of the wicked nations on earth. (1:5-11)
God’s answer seems to trouble him a little bit because Habakkuk understands something of the character of God.
Look what he says, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." (1:13)
So, he asks the second question, "Why are you going to use the wicked to punish the righteous?" (1:12 - 2:1)
Habakkuk can’t seem to understand how God can sit idly by and watch all the wickedness that is so obvious without lifting a finger to punish it.
Then, when God tells him that he will use the most wicked nation on the face of the earth to judge the wickedness of the nations, he’s really confused and disturbed.
He just can’t come to grips with the fact that God would use a wicked nation like Babylon to execute judgment.
But instead of trying to second guess God, instead of getting angry with God because it wasn’t an answer he really wanted to hear, he decides it would be better if he just waited for God to answer his second question.
Look what he says, verse 1:
"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." (2:1)
He does not doubt that God will answer.
In fact, he fully expects that God will not only answer his complaint but will also tell him how to answer others when he is challenged.
Surely others would be concerned that God is going to allow the Chaldeans to punish Israel.
Habakkuk prepared himself for God’s answer and waited patiently to receive it.
He "waited and watched" for a word from God.
How many times have you gone to God with a question, or with a petition, or even a complaint, but not waited for Him to answer?
God reveals his answers through prayer, through Scripture, through circumstances, through other people.
He can even use unsaved people to give us the answers to our questions.
Watch for those clear signs God gives us that reveal his answers.