And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 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.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
When the LORD responded to Habakkuk a second time, the revelation contained a prelude and a promise before the actual oracle of woe upon the Babylonians.
The LORD commanded Habakkuk to write and record the vision. It is that vision which Habakkuk recorded, and which God gave him, that we have in the biblical book which bears the prophet’s name. The word vision is from the Hebrew word ha’zon meaning word of revelation, which is a communication from God which is to be communicated to others.
The LORD then gave the prophet a second command, which was to make the vision plain on tablets. The meaning of this directive is two-fold. The command could have been for Habakkuk to write down God’s vision in plain, distinct letters. Secondly, it could also mean that the LORD wanted the prophet to explain the oracle and to make it plain or understood to the people of Judah.
The tablets could have either been made of stone, metal or wood. They would have been more like a plank. On commentator explains that, “the boxwood tables were covered with wax, on which national affairs were engraved with an iron pen, and then hung up in public, at the prophets own houses, or at the temple, that those who passed might read them.” In principle, this would have been similar to what Martin Luther did on October 31, 1517 when he nailed his 95 Thesis’ on the church door of Wittenberg.
The purpose for such an action is found in the purpose clause which follows. “So he may run who reads it.” On the surface, the meaning may refer to the impending doom of Judah. However, the oracle God was about to deliver was no longer about Judah’s impending destruction but rather about Babylon’s. Therefore, the phrase likely meant that people will run and tell anyone that God will defeat the Chaldeans. What will be an oracle of woe for Babylon will be an oracle of blessing for the Jews.
God then gave a promise about His sovereign timing of fulfillment. “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.” Even though the oracle concerns the future, it will surely come to pass because God has spoken.
This promise of God fulfilling His promises in Habakkuk parallels 2 Peter 3:1-9. “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
God’s promises will come to pass even though we may think they never will. What promises that God has given in His Word do you personally claim? Remember, His Word is true and what He has said He will do.
May the LORD’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!