“Then the LORD answered me: ‘Write down this vision and clearly inscribe it on tablets, so that a herald may run with it. For the vision awaits an appointed time; it testifies of the end, and will not lie. Though it lingers, wait for it, since it will surely come and not delay.‘” Habakkuk 2:2-3
Write down this vision
Habakkuk had placed himself before God on behalf of the people of Judah–Habakkuk’s kinsmen and God’s own children–God’s sole, chosen Representation on earth. God’s answer to Habakkuk’s prayer was not for Habakkuk alone, but for this whole nation of people. “Write it down,” God tells Habakkuk.
Looking at a few cross-references for this verse (e.g., Romans 15:4; Revelation 1:19; Deut. 27:8; Isaiah 8:1; Jeremiah 30:2; Jeremiah 36:2), it is clear that God does not rely on merely the spoken word.
Literacy is a supreme principle in the Christian faith. The Hebrews were known as “People of The Book”. This phrase, for whatever other meaning or connotations that have been loaded onto it, undeniably states that a single written record forms the base of our faith.
When we speak, we speak informally. But when we write, we realize we are committing ideas to a lasting, communicable record. This is so important to God that He commands His words to be recorded, for His Word is Truth: “…though [the proof of this message] be delayed for a time, it shall surely come about” (v3).
Make it clear
The message is God’s, but the transmission of God’s truth abides with the messenger. God gave this responsibility to Habakkuk, and God gives it to us today. God demands clarity in the transmission of His Word.
God wants no ambiguity. No ability for misreading. No stumbling over the words. All that God showed Habakkuk would come to pass in the near future; and when it did, all must know that God had ordained it.
So that….a herald may run with it
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary (BibleHub.com) gives a helpful explanation for what is happening here. The writing tables were boxwood tablets covered in wax and engraved with an iron pen (in large letters). These tablets were posted in a public place (the Temple, or, most likely in Habakkuk’s place, the prophet’s own home) for public viewing.
The idea was that all who read it would then “herald” the news by telling others. This was like a postal system where the sender is God Himself.
Perhaps Habakkuk had cried out to the people verbally and they had not listened. Perhaps the people just thought Habakkuk was a Puritan and out of touch with the times, speaking from his own narrow prejudices and lack of cultural accuity.
But now God says “Write it down and let it be more formally and officially published: “This is what the LORD God says!”
Though the term “run” simply means a clear and unobstructed reading, there is a definite sense of urgency. God is about to act. God warns His people.
An Unobstructed Message
I think about Habakkuk. Though he had been trivialized by his people, he could not be entirely ignored. God’s righteousness consumed Habakkuk’s very life. He was a clean vessel into which God could pour His vital message and trust that it would go out pure and untainted with “self”.
I have to ask myself,
- “Am I a clean vessel for my Lord’s message to this world?”
- “Am I an unobstructed message of God’s mercy and justice?”
The ministry of apologetics. God intends that Habakkuk (and all believers since) have an answer to give a taunting world about the hope that we have, now, in Christ; whether that ministry of apologetics is to “the ungodly” for salvation, or the godly who are behaving outside of their faith (1 Peter 3:15-17; all of ch. 3!) for their correction and reconciliation with God.
This is no light responsibility.
It requires a willingness to study and hours of quiet time alone with God in listening prayer.
It requires a heart that is open and vulnerable to the chastisement and correction of God so that it may be clean.
It requires the moral and spiritual fortitude to be bold where we would otherwise cower from the fear of man,
- to be meek where we would otherwise be proud,
- to be a lover of eternal souls–as God is–where we would otherwise covet our prejudices and privacy, and
- to be more concerned with God’s glory than our own.
God help us all as believers to cultivate this these disciplines for Your glory!
God’s Merciful Warning is for ALL
God commands Habakkuk to write down His message, because God expects for all people to know Him. There is no secret faith in the scriptures. All that was written for Judah would reverberate throughout the whole known world as it unfolds.
God’s truth is no mere intellectual discourse. God has revealed His purposes for us all through His Word so that all may become worshippers of the One True God.
God was, and still is, preparing ALL men to see and understand that God alone is Sovereign.
- God does not respect his own children above the law of truth, but He judges everyone by that same truth.
- God warns and warns before He brings about correction of sin. He does not delight in our punishment, but brings punishment that we might return to Him and be saved.
- God has greater and better things in mind than our immediate circumstances; our God is jealous for us because of His great love. All His plans for our future is for good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:11).
Dear Heavenly Father, I am unclean. Through the power of Your risen Son, the Living Word, and Your Holy Spirit, tell me the truth about myself so I can repent and be cleansed. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear; give me understanding to comprehend and wisdom to act in grace with eternity before me. Keep us, your people, in Your hand through our chastisement, and bring us all to greater faith and worship of You. Thank you for your cleansing and salvation offered through Jesus Christ, and help me to not withhold from others the hope that You have for them also. Make me bold for Your Name’s sake and for their salvation. Create in me a practical apologetic so that I will walk purely in your truth for your honor and glory. In Your holy Name, Amen.
© May 2019 by www.ReadPsalm119.com. Revised May 21, 2019 from a previous post, Habakkuk's Tower.
This is part of a series of reflections on the book of Habakkuk. See Habakkuk's Lament (Pt1).