“… the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)
The prophet Habakkuk lived in one of the most difficult times in Hebrew history. God gave him a prophetic message to preach when the Babylonians were about to conquer God’s people. The watchtowers were manned with soldiers who were listening for the dreadful sounds of the Babylonian army. This little prophet had witnessed the terrible ways the great Prophet Jeremiah was treated when he preached his message. Being a simple choir director he could only imagine how he would be treated if he assumed the role of a prophet.
He therefore came up with a very clever literary form. He proclaimed that he was going to build a spiritual watchtower and ask God all the difficult questions that were on their hearts at that time. Questions like, “Why will you use a people more sinful than we are to chasten us?” He told them that when he heard from God he would tell them what God said in answer to these and other questions. His literary form was like a talk show in which he was the host and God was the Guest being interviewed.
God’s answer was that the wickedness of the Babylonian would be their undoing, but the just would live by their faith. Originally this meant faith in the prophecy of Jeremiah that they would return from the Babylonian captivity. By application these seven words, which are quoted three times in the New Testament, were used to inspire the great protestant reformation.
People say God does not speak today as He did then. The truth is we do not listen for God as this prophet did. Do you have a spiritual watchtower? Do you listen for God and expect to hear from Him?