Habakkuk 2 vv 1 5

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These slides accompany the mp3 (audio) file here:
http://bit.ly/19TxPVl
and the video on our online channel here:
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  • Habbakuk is a REALLY well crafted piece of writing and this chapter opens (in verse 1) with a silence and closes with a silence … like a pair of bookends that BRACKET the oracle.Habakkuk has been banging on a bit, frankly, in the previous chapter.He comes to a shuddering halt in v. 1.It’s like somebody waxing eloquent and having their say about something – getting it off their chest – then saying: ‘right, I’ll shut up now, I’ve said enough!’Habakkuk realises that and he explicitly marks the point at which he shuts himself up and brings his tirade of complaint to a conclusion.He realises he’s been doing ALL the talking and he really needs to shut up and listen to God.There’s a really important spiritual point here.We need to understand that there IS a strong Biblical tradition of the faithful bringing both their laments AND their complaints to their Heavenly Father … as we noticed last time.But there is also a strong Biblical tradition of godly people, who DO wish to live submissively in covenant relationship with the Sovereign God then realising that they’ve done that and they need now to shut up and LISTEN if they’re ever going to hear anything about this from God.Yes, it is important to faithfully, perhaps frustratedly but not unfaithfully POUR OUT your breaking heart to your Father in Heaven.There are CLEARLY times when ONLY He can help you.But it is only the REBELLIOUS heart that simply keeps banging on.The faithful heart then sits back and gives room for God’s answer.That’s what Habakkuk needs to do.And it is not just what Judah but what ALL the earth … הָאָֽרֶץ ha-'erets… needs to do before HimIt is a ‘by virtue of creation thing, not by virtue of covenant or redemption thing … it is incumbent on the whole rampaging and rebellious EARTH to be silent before its Creator, the One Whose Presence sits above the cherubim in the Holiest Place.He is the HOLY Creator and Sovereign Lord …“ … let all the earth be silent before him.”So, back to the beginning …
  • Habakkuk has poured out his complaint against God eloquently, at length, TWICE.Now, having done that – as he should no doubt because faith should always resort not to man-made solutions but to God – wisdom kicks in with Habakkuk and he comes to this clearly stated resolve:“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.”He resolves to take up a double role … firstly that of a watchman … previous prophets have been cast in the role of watchmen of Israel.Now, this was a RESPONSIBLE position.It was not a role you gave to the village idiot.The safety and security of men, women and children lay in the hands of the watchman on the ramparts.Not just the safety and security of the village but that of the surrounding area that sought refuge in the citadel when threatened and the safety and security of the state depended in no small measure on the faithfulness-to-the-task of this person.So it is a metaphor that a number of prophets, standing watch on the spiritual battlements of the nation, took up … scanning the horizon, watching over God’s flock for perceivable threats to the integrity of the spiritual life of the nation and doing what Habakkuk does here.Please notice – and this is VERY relevant to current interventions in politics on behalf of what is perceived to be the Christian cause in our land – Habakkuk is NOT a social commentator.Habakkuk observes what he sees with his eyes and does NOT take that, with his own conclusions upon it, to the people.He observes and takes the fruit of his observation to GOD … because Habakkuk knows human perception and resolution finding is thoroughly flawed … Habakkuk has already TWICE taken the fruits of his own observations to God before ever uttering a word to the people.This is CRUCIAL.If you are in any sense God’s spokesman you’ve got to be disciplined enough to perceive what Habakkuk perceives here.The prophets were not great campaigners, great political and social commentators or reformers … the way they are sometimes portrayed.They give us NO role model of that sort.They WERE watchmen and heralds FOR GOD, bringing His word and ways to the people … and those words and ways were often (as here) not what a mere observer and commentator would ever conceive of or imagine.Habakkuk knows that only the revelation of God is going to answer his perplexity.So now he mixes (though doesn’t contradict) his metaphors.He is a watchman, and he is a herald …
  • Habakkuk doesn’t just watch … he listens.Can you see that here in v. 1?He will look to see (eyes) what he will SAY to me.You look to see, but you listen to hear.The metaphor is mixed.Habakkuk has surveyed the scene and poured out his complaint to God (not his press release to the Daily Mail) but the crucial thing for him will be NOT how much coverage he can get for his observations in the media or how many hits he can get on his blog …The crucial thing for him will be what God has to say on the matter, and THAT will dictate what he says in answer to the complaints of the people which will doubtless follow the unfolding events that God has just told Habakkuk are going to be taking place soon.He’s going to be a herald for God to the perplexity of the people when this all starts to kick off … but he won’t speak out his own wisdom.He is only a herald.He needs to draw down his message from God.HeraldRECEIVES message, to CONVEY message.So now, having been at first SHOCKED by what God says He is going to do, Habakkuk has poured out his complaint and now gets away to the ramparts with God to watch out and listen for the message.Here it comes.
  • What you have here is a description of the nature of what God is about to say:‘the revelation’ … the message that the prophet-watchman-herald is looking out for …It’s nature and it’s character … to be followed in vv. 4-5 by an outline of its general content and purpose as GOD sees the situation.We won’t get beyond that today and in fact will probably need to come back to that next time.
  • The revelation God gives to Habakkuk here is to be carved in stone … it is not going to be laid aside to decay, it is not written on paper or papyrus – it is written on a tablet of stone.What are you thinking of right now?Has your mind drifted to lunch/ supper or to Sinai?!You carved in stone the words of a covenant, of anANE’n Suzerain in his suzerainty treaty.Of course you are perplexed, Habakkuk, what we are discussing is so big and portentous, I’m giving you a rider to the Covenant! (Says the Lord).No doubt Habakkuk had been hoping for a bit of judicial, social, spiritual renewal when he started of his dialogue with God in chapter 1.Now this thing has grown.Habakkuk had been under the impression God was doing NOTHING, not taking the sins of the people seriously, but no!He never does take sin lightly.God is taking this MOST seriously and He is recutting the covenant in doing so.Now, we know what is coming … the man made monarchy is being dismantled at the instrumentality of the incoming Babylonian hordes in order to make way for John the Baptist, Jesus and the inauguration of the Kingdom of God … A new covenant altogether is truly being cut, and the message Habakkuk here receives appears to be a rider that prepares the way for that.It is going to be of permanent and enduring significance.
  • Now, this is not a covenant that will be carved in the wall of the inner sanctuary of the temple of some ANE’n deity.God’s covenant (from the outset) was to be taken out and about, read to the people, taught to the children … a way of walking with God for all the people, not a lawyers’ text book on settling disputes.Habakkuk’s message is portable so it can be taken by the herald, held up and READ from.The content is not for Kings but for all of God’s people … they will all need to heed its full content.
  • Now this bit here is fascinating …It is definite.It is to be heard, heeded and TRUSTED by all …But (get this) the relief that it promises is NOT instant.What a difficult message for ‘Paracetamol people’ … WE live in an age of instant relief.‘Forget it’, God says here.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.”The calamity comes quickly (1:5 “I am going to do something in your days    that you would not believe,    even if you were told.”)The conclusion of it will linger …And what this message then calls for is FAITH.“… wait for it;    it will certainly come    and will not delay.”The revelation Habakkuk hears calls for faith through the coming calamity … because
  • There is the HEART of the prophecy of Habakkuk.That’s the message.“ … the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.”
  • Habakkuk 2 vv 1 5

    1. 1. Welcome to Grace! But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
    2. 2. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction
    3. 3. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 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 … v. 20 The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
    4. 4. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 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.”
    5. 5. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 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.”
    6. 6. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 “Then the LORD replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 3 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.”
    7. 7. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 – Character of the revelation • Permanent
    8. 8. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 – Character of the revelation • Permanent • Portable “ so that a herald may run with it.”
    9. 9. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 – Character of the revelation • Permanent • Portable • Postponed “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.”
    10. 10. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 – Character of this revelation – Content of this revelation “the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness”
    11. 11. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 • Observation, vv. 4-5
    12. 12. Habakkuk 2 • Introduction • Silence of the prophet, v. 1 • Commission, vv. 2-3 • Observation, vv. 4-5 • Conclusion

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