2 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.
How is your eschatology?!? No, that’s not Harry Houdini, we’re talking about the end times, our understanding of the final destiny of all people and all things.
We need to be careful to understand God’s reply to Habakkuk accurately. We are so caught up in our own time and place that we think about things in a limited and constrained way. The Lord of heaven and earth is under no such constraints!
Firstly, he speaks eternal truth to Habakkuk. While Habakkuk’s complaint was questioning and could be seen as a challenge, the grace of the Lord is evident in his response. He underlines that what he tells Habakkuk is for sharing with everyone as he commands him to write it down, to record it for all time and to make it plain, so that everyone can understand.
Not only this, but it is news which will spread rapidly, exciting and inspiring news which the hearers will want to share rapidly with others, the heralds will broadcast God’s plan far and wide.
The plan is awaiting its appointed time, this revelation deals with the end times and will not prove false, as the word of the Lord is trustworthy and completely reliable. To frail and limited humans, it may seem that this revelation will take time. But the eternal reality is that God’s plan to bring all things to conclusion will certainly happen and, in his timing, it will not delay.
So what is God’s plan? What does he intend to do? You will need to wait until tomorrow to hear! But in all the excitement of hearing God’s revelation, let’s not lose sight of the fact that, in his perfect grace, the Lord God speaks plainly of his plan to reveal his righteousness and his purposes for his people. He does not remain silent but, at just the right time, he brings about eternal justice and reveals his perfect righteousness. The prophet Isaiah captures the essence of our fleeting and temporary existence, in contrast with God and his eternal Word when he writes:
6 A voice says, ‘Cry out.’
And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
‘All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures for ever.’
Lord God Almighty,
You created and you sustain us and everything around us.
Not only this, but in your grace you reveal your purposes to us in your eternal word.
Thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ who came at just the right time, to bring salvation to your people and to deal with the problem of our sin, by laying down his life in our place on the cross.
Thank you that this message of salvation and grace is plain for all to see and is being heralded all around the world.
Help us to be effective heralds as we share the truth of your grace with everyone, as we share the reason for the hope which is in us.
We ask this for the honour and glory of Jesus Christ, who died and who was raised to eternal life.
Tomorrow’s passage: Habakkuk 2:4-8