An Apocalyptic Advent Day 17: Habakkuk and Faith

Habakkuk 1:1-3.

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,

and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

Habakkuk 2:1-5.

I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

2 And the Lord answered me:

“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.

4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.

5 “Moreover, wine is a traitor,
an arrogant man who is never at rest.
His greed is as wide as Sheol;
like death he has never enough.
He gathers for himself all nations
and collects as his own all peoples.”

Habakkuk is a dialogue. The prophet and God are talking. Maybe more like yelling. There is obvious frustration in the prophet’s voice. Chapter one is the complaint. Why God are you silent? Why are you letting evil reign? Why do you ignore my cry for help? In chapter 2 he goes up into the watchtower to wait for the response from God.

Habakkuk 2:4 is God’s response. The righteous shall live by faith.

This is, of course the phrase that the Apostle Paul uses in his theology of our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith.

Romans 1:17. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Galatians 3:11. Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Paul made Habakkuk 2:4 the very foundation of the gospel. But what is this faith? Faith that dies on a beach? Faith that accepts ridicule and scorn? Faith that goes to jail for going to church? Faith that believes even in a place where it is becoming really hard to believe? Faith that says God is a better bet than man? (Fleming Rutledge)

Charlie Brown losing faith

Maybe it’s faith that says, “I will trust God no matter what.”

Habakkuk 3:17-18. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

Faith is total and complete reliance on God. God as he actually is. The true God. The God of the Advent. The God of the Apocalypse. The God of the incarnation. The God of the cross. The God of “to live is Christ.”

For Paul, Habakkuk 2:4 meant the God of imputed righteousness. Righteousness that comes by faith. Faith in what? Faith in the propitiation of Christ. Faith in his life being given to us.

Faith is where the Advent must land us. Waiting IS faith. Faith in the God of our salvation.

How would you define faith? How does our faith in our union with Christ change how we wait for Christ’s return?

This song is saying almost the complete opposite of Habakkuk and Paul… but it’s Josh Groban so…

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