The Just Shall Live By Faith

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry. ‘Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.’ ”  Habakkuk 2:2-4

This prophetic book takes its name from its author whose name means “one who embraces,” prophesied to Judah in the last quarter of the seventh century B.C. concerning the impending invasion by the Chaldeans. By the end of this prophecy, this name becomes appropriate as the prophet clings to God regardless of his confusion about God’s plans for His people. His contemporaries of Habakkuk’s day were Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zephaniah. The fact that so little is mentioned in the introduction of who Habakkuk was, suggests that he was a well known prophet of his day. So with that said, let us examine a little further.

The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. The Prophet’s Question: O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds (Hab. 1:1-4). Habakkuk’s bitter lament came at a time reflecting the time period shortly after the death of Josiah (609 B.C.), days in which this godly king’s reforms (2 Kings 23) were quickly overturned by his successor, Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:13-19). Habakkuk prophesied during the final days of the Assyrian empire and the beginning of Babylonia’s world rulership under Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. The Egyptian king Necho, traveling through Judah in 609 B.C. to assist the fleeing Assyrian king, was opposed by King Josiah at Megiddo (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Josiah was killed in the ensuing battle, leaving his throne to a succession of 3 sons and a grandson. Earlier during his rule, King Josiah as a result of discovering the Book of the Law in the temple (622 B.C.), had instituted significant spiritual reforms in Judah (2 Kings 22-23), abolishing many of the idolatrous practices of his father Amon (2 Kings 21:20-22), and grandfather Manasseh (2 Kings 21:11-13). Upon his Josiah’s death, however, the nation quickly reverted back to her evil idolatrous ways (Jeremiah 22:13-19), causing Habakkuk to question God’s silence and apparent lack of punitive action to purge His covenant people.

When any government’s enacting laws interfere and contradict God’s laws you will find a nation that will not be able to rest. There will be an abundant of violence, and corruption in government affairs. Does it surprise anyone today, that our elected officials, from the White House, to the State’s Capital’s, that there is an abundance of confusion as to know which direction the use of state and government aid should go to first? We have such an incredible need in so many places, right here in our own country, yet, we see how foolish we spend our tax dollars. How much waste is being spent on legal matters, that would not have to ever be spent on, “if only I would have gotten away with it!” The Bible tells us: Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice (Proverbs 16:8). And of course, who could forget learning in Sunday school class, Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34). It’s during these times in which evil seems to be increasing and being unpunished, that is parallel the way which we are living in, like the time of Habakkuk, in which we too should be crying out to the Lord.

Now the Lord’s reply is very interesting. “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.” In response to Habakkuk’s perplexity and pleading, God broke His silence. Informing him that He was not indifferent to Judah’s sin; but rather than revival, He was sending the “terrible and dreadful judgment” in using her enemies as His instrument of judgment. Yet, it would not last; Their self-sufficiency and self-absorbed ways planted the seeds for their own destruction, as they too were judged for their idolatry and blasphemy before the sovereign Lord. We know today, the answer of God, We are not without knowledge of God’s answer to the nation living in sin. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

And so we see in our text, The response of the vision: To the watching prophet comes the response of the vision with three elements being distinguished. First, the moral judgment of the Lord upon the evils practiced by Israel. Secondly, The future purpose of God: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14), By the coming of the Lord in glory, this revelation awaits its fulfillment. A parallel passage shared by Isaiah 11:9-12; God has promised that the whole earth would recognize His glory at the establishment of His millennial kingdom. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wonderous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen (Psalm 72:18-19). It is then, after the return of Lord, that this vision is fulfilled given to Habakkuk, that the knowledge of the glory, etc. shall fill the whole earth.

Beloved friend, The third element of the vision given to Habakkuk, “The just shall live by faith.” This great evangelical word is applied to Jews and Gentiles in Romans 1:17, Paul writes it to the Gentiles in Galatians 3:11-14; and to the Hebrews especially in Hebrews 10:38. This appeal of life to faith alone, makes possible not only the salvation of the Gentiles, but also the existence of a believing remnant in Israel while the nation, even though now in blindness and unbelief (Romans 11:1) will eventually establish the priesthood and rebuild their temple in their offerings to the Lord, but will be unable to keep the ordinances of the Law, due to the coming of the Anti-Christ. The Good News: In contrast to the proud, the just will be truly preserved through his/her faithfulness to God. And this is the core of God’s message to and through Habakkuk. Both the aspect of justification by faith, as noted by Paul’s usage in Romans 1:17 and Galatian 3:11, as well as the aspect of sanctification by faith, as employed by the writer of Hebrews (10:38) reflect the essence of Habakkuk; no conflict exists. For both goes beyond the act of faith to include the continuity of faith. Faith is not a one time act, but a way of life. The true believer declared righteous by God, will persevere in faith as a pattern of his life. Prayer: Help me Lord, to be steadfast in my faith and to be forever devoted to Your work. Bless me in abundance and help me to use it to Your greater glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!


Author: rontrujillo

Married 37 years We have six children. All of whom are adult. Three are married one of them blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren. Retired Firefighter @ Boeing Aircraft 37 years (Formally McDonnell Douglas) Born Again Summer of 1981

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