Do you believe in visions? I do, and from an early age. When I started my first job (office boy), the weekly salary was 12 shillings and 6 pence (less than $1) but I looked forward to the day when I would be chairman of the board or president, or whatever you call it.
Happily the Lord had better things in store. I learned I was a sinner before God, but provision had been made for all who confessed their sins. Through mercy I was brought to know Jesus as the savior of sinners.
What a transformation that made! My sins were forgiven. God had great plans; first for His Son, but also for me and all who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you one of His?
But let us have a look at Habakkuk. He lived in an evil day. Israel had fallen into idolatry, and the moral state of the nation was very low. Judgment was coming, and of the severest kind–Jerusalem to be destroyed and the nation carried off into captivity. Was that all? Certainly not. God had made promises to Israel, unconditional promises, and God cannot lie. This makes Habakkuk bold. He goes to the watchtower, a good place to get a long view.
He got a vision: "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea"(2:14). Habakkuk would know the Scripture had said this before, but this time there was more detail (see Numbers14:21 and Isaiah 11:9).
This is wonderful, but not to be compared with the Lord’s plans for us, His heavenly people (see Ephesians 1:10). The vision effected a big change in Habakkuk; he rightly felt that he must get adjusted to this remarkable discovery.
"I must venture my life to be in conformity with the truth" he says, in effect. "Revive thy work, O Lord . . . in the midst of the years make known" (3:2).
This brings us to another use of the watchtower; he looked for an answer to his prayer, just as you and I may do when we really pray earnestly. Here was an answer! In the midst of the judgments, God raised up a good king, Josiah, in Judah. Then a season of refreshment and blessing was known even in the small circumstances (see 2 Chron.35:18). In addition, a wonderful prophet was brought into prominence, Jeremiah, the one who wept over the desolations, but also had the privilege of showing God’s mercy to the nation—and the new covenant to us (Jer.31). Revival is a powerful movement, and it is available at the same time as God’s hand is upon the nations and also upon His people. If you want to know more about revival, look at Psalm 85:6 and Psalm 138:7 among others.
But there is something important to learn about this interesting story. There is only one way in which all this can come to pass: look at 2:4, "the just shall live by his faith." There are only two references to faith in the Old Testament, and this is one of them. It also tells us it is not faith generally, or in others, but in us individually ("his faith") and this is where so many of us fail.
Habakkuk asked for a hard thing. The enemy of our soul puts every possible difficulty in the way, but this is where the victory can be won. God, in His wonderful love for us, puts all His resources at our disposal.
"Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world." (1John 4:4). Hard things are to be overcome (see 2 Kings 2:10). Once again Habakkuk comes in with a message. Look at the conclusion (3:17-19)—he is rejoicing when there is nothing visible to rejoice in! Think about that for a moment, and then consider how Habakkuk can bring a wonderful message of encouragement to us also.
Young men in our day also see visions (Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17). God needs such today because the days are evil (2 Timothy 3:1). Judgment is coming but the Lord is long-suffering (2 Peter 3:9) and wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). But we also can venture forth in faith. We also can ask him to revive us (Isaiah 57:15) and ask him to increase our faith (Luke 17:50). Sometimes we marvel at saints who are real overcomers in the face of burdens that are insupportable without Divine help. This is the victory that our God is looking for in us today. Let us thank God for Habakkuk and seek to walk in his steps. Amen