Where Are You, Lord?
God Questions: An Exposition of Habakkuk

Gary Combs ·
February 18, 2024 · exposition · Habakkuk 2:6-20 · Notes


This week, in part three of our God Questions series, we see Habakkuk asking, “Where are you, Lord? What are you doing? I’m confused. I don’t see You at work in this. Where are you, Lord?”

How are we to stay faithful when it seems like God is absent? Even when life doesn’t make sense and God seems far away, we can lament, crying out our questions and complaints to God, believing that He is good and that He will cause all things to come together for good in the end. In the book of Habakkuk, when the prophet struggled with understanding how a holy God could use an evil nation like Babylon, God answered him, declaring five woes of judgement on Babylon. Within these five woes, God encouraged Habakkuk’s faith by helping him understand where God was at work. We can be encouraged in our faith by understanding where God is at work.


Below is an automated transcript of this message

Good morning church. It is good to see all of you here this morning. We’re going through the book of Habakkuk together, in a series we’ve entitled “God Questions.” We’re going verse by verse through the book. We’re in part three today. We’re in the middle of chapter two and it’s a little book. It’s only three chapters long. It’s a little book, but it asks really big questions, hard questions, the kind of questions that we often struggle with as we think about God.

We’ve already covered some of the questions that Habakkuk has found difficult. A couple of weeks ago as we began the series, Habakkuk was praying, ‘How long Lord? How long before You answer me? It just seems like You’re not even listening. How long do I have to keep crying out? How long, Lord?’

Have you ever cried out like that? Do you feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? We talked about that a couple of weeks ago in chapter one and then last week it was, “Why, Lord?” I prayed this way, but You answered that way. That wasn’t what I wanted. Why, Lord? That’s a hard kind of conversation.

Now, this week, Habakkuk is asking this question, ‘Where are you, Lord?’ Where are You? I get that. You’re going to do this. So, You’ve answered my prayer opposite from what I thought, but how does this fit into who You are? How do I make sense of this? Where are you Lord? Have you ever been in that kind of place where God seems absent? You believe in Him, but you can’t see how He’s working at this point in your life. It just seems like you’re on your own. Have you ever been there? That’s how Habakkuk feels.

Maybe you’ve been like this, where you look at the news. Maybe, we shouldn’t even look at the news, but there’s so much evil in the world. There’s so much trouble. There’s so much pain. Where are You, Lord? Where are You in this? Do you see the violence in Israel and in Ukraine? Not just in those lands but in our own nation: the shootings, the murders, the rape, the, the theft, the division… How can You let this keep going on, Lord? How long will You let this continue? Where are You? The lack of shame, the immorality and the way our nation and other nations of the world. Instead of calling it wrong, they call it right and that they call right is wrong. There’s no shame. In fact, they celebrate their sin.

Where are You, Lord? Have you ever asked that question? Maybe, you’re not so concerned with these kind of cosmic things , these world things. Maybe, it’s more like in your own personal life. Lord, I don’t understand what You’re doing in my life right now. Where are You, Lord?

I guess the real question for the believer is, ‘How do we stay faithful when God seems absent?’ ‘How can we be encouraged in our faith when it seems like we don’t see God?’ I trust You. I believe in You, but I don’t see what You’re doing right now. It’s not making sense to me. I don’t understand.

The key verse is in Habakkuk 2:4 (ESV) “… but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Even when life doesn’t make sense, even when God seems distant, the righteous keep believing. This leads us to something which is really what the book of Habakkuk is. The book of Habakkuk is a three chapter long “lament.” A “lament” And for the believer.

Mark Vroegop, in his book, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, says, “Lament is a pathway to praise when life gets hard.” In other words, for the believer, for the Christian, the prayer of lament says, ‘Lord, I have questions. Lord, I have complaints that I don’t understand yet.’

I believe that we can cry them out to the Lord. We don’t just internalize them. We don’t just complain about them to other people. We lift them up in prayer. We pray, ‘Lord, where are You?’ We are in good company when we do this, because that’s how Habakkuk the prophet prayed. That’s how David prays in a third of the Psalms, but always, as it gets to the end, David will praise Him anyway. This is the prayer of lament; even when life doesn’t make sense. Even when God seems far away, we can cry out to a holy God and He hears us. It might not be as soon as we want, it might not be in the way that we want, but we can know this– He’s a good God and He causes all things to come together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

In the book of Habakkuk, the prophet struggled with understanding how a holy God could use an evil empire like the Babylonians to judge Israel. Habakkuk struggled with that and God answered by declaring five “woes” of judgment on Babylon. Within these five “woes,” God encouraged Habakkuk’s faith to see that God had a plan even though it didn’t look like it was working out right now.

God has a plan and He’s at work on his plan, even when we might not see the evidence at that very moment. We can be encouraged in our faith by understanding that God’s already at work. We can be encouraged.

As we look at the text today, we’ll see three ways that will encourage our faith, that God is already at work even when life doesn’t make sense. Let’s look at the text. We’re picking up on verse six. We left off at verse five of chapter two last week and we’ll start at verse six. I would remind you that the “him” that he keeps referring to is speaking about Babylon.

Habakkuk 2:6-20 (ESV) 6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!” 7 Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them. 9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! 10 You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. 11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond. 12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! 13 Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 15 “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness! 16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory! 17 The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them. 18 “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! 19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. 20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” This is God’s word. Amen.


1. Understanding that God’s judgment is already in motion.

We’re looking today for encouragement from God’s word, how we can be encouraged in our faith. This is not an easy read, is it? It’s a difficult read. I had asked my small group earlier this week (our community group meets on Wednesday nights) I asked them to pray for me because I’m studying the latter part of chapter two of Habakkuk. I’m looking, as I always do, for encouragement for myself first, but then encouragement for you. My desire is to bring you a word of encouragement in your faith. If you’re here and you’re not a believer, I desire to bring a word from the Lord that would move you to follow Jesus. If you’re a follower of Jesus, I want to encourage you to keep on keeping on. As I read this passage, I have to say that I knew what it was about, but I was looking for encouragement. Five “woes” didn’t sound very encouraging, but then, as my practice is to look for where we see something about the Lord, you’ll see that the name of the Lord is there in a few places. Those are the places that I’ll always dig in more deeply because the book is primarily a book about God and He’s revealing Himself to us.

We’re going to cover these five woes so that we can understand them. We’re going to look more deeply for encouragement from the person of the Lord so that we can know Him better. Let’s look at this:

First of all, I would say, let’s “unpack” these five woes quickly, so that we have time to dig into what we’ve heard from the Lord about Himself. The word, “woe,” is not used a lot in modern English. Maybe you’ve said, ‘Woe is me;’ which means that you’re discouraged, you’re sorrowful or you’re down about something. It’s an expression of lament. The word, “woe,” is an expression of lament, but when the Lord says it towards an evil nation like Babylon, it’s an expression of judgment, of coming judgment and of looming judgment. It’s, also, a declaration of judgment. Dr John MacArthur says, “When God utters woe against evil men He sets divine judgment in motion.”

To remember the time period here, Habakkuk has been told that the Babylonians are coming. They haven’t come yet; they’re coming to judge Israel for its sin. Habakkuk is troubled by this because he says, ‘They’re more sinful than we are. Why would You bring them?’ Habakkuk got the answer from God about that. God is bringing them. Habakkuk asks, ‘How long are they going to camp out here?’

God’s answers; ‘I’ve already declared “woe” over them. Their time will be limited. Got gives Habakkuk five “woes” of judgment on Babylon. I want to cover these quickly because I want to dig into what we can find out about what the Lord is saying to us for our encouragement.

To understand these five “woes” as I talk about them, this is what happens to every human government, every worldly government eventually. No matter how well it starts off, because of the sinfulness of man, we always slide into Babylon. Babylon is really in the story; it’s a real place. It’s a real people, but it’s also symbolic of the world’s kind of government no matter what government it is, including our government. Human sin causes it to slide towards this kind of five “woes.” Let me cover them:

The first “woe” is in verses six through eight, He says, ‘Woe to you because of your extortion, your unjust economics and your theft. You’ve plundered others and My judgment on you now is that they will plunder you. You’ve built a nation based on stealing from other peoples and now your judgment is they’re going to plunder you right back.

Verse eight says that they did it by violence and murder and not only that, they did violence to the earth. This is an unusual thing to see. The Babylonians were known for being like a “plague of locusts” coming through a nation. They would leave behind them a swath where they burned everything down. They would salt the crops so that the next generation couldn’t even plant their crops. As they’re passing through, they would cut down the forests, pull down the houses and take the stones and the timber out of them. drag them off and take those back to Babylon. They were known for being a “plague on the earth.” God says, ‘woe to you because you’ve spoiled others. You’ve taken them for spoil; now, you’ll be plundered by the very ones that you have plundered. “Woe” to you.

You have to understand that, during this time period, Babylon was the most powerful nation in the known world. It was the most wealthy nation, but by plunder it became wealthy, by stealing from others. If you look at a map very quickly here, you can see that the Babylonian Empire, at its peak, covered the whole of what’s called the Fertile Crescent. They started at the Persian Gulf. There’s a lot of history going on at the Persian Gulf right now in the news, with American ships in the Persian Gulf?

(Map on screen) The Babylonians started at the Persian Gulf. This was the land of Ur that Abraham was called out of. Here’s the city of Babylon built right on the Euphrates river. In fact, they had built a dam; they channeled the river through their city so they always had plenty of water, built between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Then they had conquered Nineveh and all of Assyria. They had conquered Lebanon all the way up into Turkey. They conquered all of Jordan and Israel all the way down into Egypt. It was a great empire, a very wealthy empire.

If you look at the next map, it was known for being one of the “Seven Wonders of the Known World.” During that time, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built, where they had brought the waters in from the Euphrates River and through their technological advances, had found ways to pipe the water up into these hanging gardens. It was listed as one of the ancient wonders of the seven wonders of the world. They were wealthy beyond compare. It would be hard to hear that God was saying to them that He will take everything away from them. Indeed, this wealthy country of Babylon, that seemed like a world power that no one could conquer, was one of the shortest lived countries during that time. Nations during that time were like a “flash in the pan.” God said to them, “Woe to you. You have plundered others; now, they will plunder you.” That’s the first “woe.”

The second “woe” is found in verses 9 to 11. He says, ‘Woe to you because of your greed and your arrogance. Because of this, your house will fall.’ You think that you’ve got this great fortress. You think that you’ve got this great city. Like an eagle’s nest, you’ve elevated yourself to such arrogance that you have this impregnable city. (Picture of artist’s rendering of the city of Babylon)

When Alexander the Great came through this city , he actually thought that he would make Babylon his capital city. Unfortunately, he passed away before he was able to do that. If you look at the city today, itlies in ruins.

Babylon built their city on arrogance and greed; they thought their walls were impregnable. It had three walls, it had an outer wall, middle wall and an inner wall. It’s like an eagle’s nest; nobody is going to get in there. The outer wall was 85 ft thick. You could drive two teams of four-horse chariots and they could pass each other on the top of the wall, all the way around the circumference of the city. They had piped the Euphrates river in so that it ran under the wall. There was no way to get in except through the gate. It was supposedly an impregnable city, but God brought it down.

In fact, today, if you go to a museum in Berlin, the Ishtar Gate from Babylon is there. A German archaeologist, right before World War I, actually went to the city of Babylon. He had it taken apart from a stone bust and numbered and they carried it to Berlin and rebuilt it. This is how we know what the Ishtar Gate looks like. You can go today and see part of it. It’s not all of it, but it’s the front part of the Ishtar gate in Babylon. You can still see the wealth and the beauty of the former city which is no more. God said “woe” to them. Long before it had fallen, the judgment of God was already in motion.

“Woe” three, the third “woe,” is in verses 12 to 14, Babylon’s civilization will be replaced with devastation because it was built with violence, bloodshed, and on the backs of slaves. “Woe” to you because of the way that you’ve shed blood. “Woe” to you because of your iniquity and morality. “Woe” to you because you’ve enslaved other people to build these cities. It will all come down. Do you see it? Verse 12, “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!” Verse 13, “Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts…” This is the first time that we see a reference to the Lord in these “woes.” Verse 13 continues, 13 “Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?” In other words, they labor for stuff that’s going to burn up. They’re just laboring for things that aren’t going to last. They’re spending their life and nations wearying themselves for nothing. Judgment from the Lord says, ‘You built all of this and you thought it would last. I’m telling you what? “Woe” to that which you thought was going to last. These worldly things will not last. “Woe” to you. They will not last .

The key verse is found in verse 14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Right here, in the midst of these five “woes,” God is telling Habakkuk something about the vast idea; that He has the plan. He has the overarching plan that He built us. He created us to reflect His glory, but because of sin, we have fallen. His whole purpose now is to bring His glory back to us, so that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord fills the earth. Even though Babylon looks glorious, it has one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, their glory will be gone, but the glory of God will keep going there. It is right there in verse 14. This is the first aspect of this verse because I think verse 14 really had an immediate fulfillment that Babylon would fall and it would give God glory when it fell because He predicted that it would fall. He said that it would fall.

When Jesus comes, a mere 4, 500 years later, the knowledge of the Lord’s glory is expounded and expanded because the glory of the Lord appears in the person of Jesus. There’s this ongoing glory and then there’s an ultimate glory when Jesus comes again. Truly, the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the earth. God is “unpacking” something here, tremendous and wonderful. “This is a singular and important verse. It may be first applied to Babylon. God’s power and providence shall be widely displayed in the destruction of this city and empire, and in the captivity and restoration of his people” (Clarke). Babylon will fall. It will fall .

The fourth “woe” is found in verses 15 to 17; “woe” to them because of their exploitation of others, of alcohol abuse and sexual immorality. They have shamed others. They have captured peoples, stripped them naked and made them drink the wine of orgy and of false idols. They have looked upon their shame. We see that pornography and prostitution is not a new thing. Babylon shamed these peoples. They captured them, brought them in and looked upon them. God is now going to make them drink the cup of shame. Verse 16 says, “You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory!” The Lord says, ‘I’ve got a cup and you’re going to drink it; it’s your shame.’ Verse 15 says, “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness!” You filled others with shame, now I’m going to make you drink the cup of shame. I think this cup is the cup of judgment.

We hear the Lord Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane say, “Lord, is there any way this cup can pass from me?” This was the cup of judgment. ‘Is there another way that I can go? Is there any way to save these people without going to the cross and taking the Your woe, Your judgment on My shoulders? Is there another way?’ The Father tells Him, ‘No” and His Son says, “Not my will but yours be done.”

Babylon had to drink this cup, the cup of their own shame. Jesus, who didn’t have to drink the cup, willingly drank the cup of my shame and your shame, my sin and your sin . He drank it to the bottom. He drank it to the “dregs” so that we wouldn’t have to.

Babylon is emblematic of the world’s government, the world’s religion, the world’s economy. We are caught up in this wrong worldly kingdom without Jesus, but when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we recognize that He’s already drunk to the bottom, the “dregs,” of the cup of God’s judgment. He’s already taken the five “ woes” in His own body, so we don’t have to. That’s the fourth “woe.” Take note of some of the details. In verse 17 it says, “The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,”

Now, what was Lebanon known for? It was known for the cedars of Lebanon. Remember how David had arranged to get cedars to build his palaces and how Solomon arranged with the king of Lebanon to actually cut down cedar and build rafts to bring it down to the Mediterranean Sea. Then, they brought it ashore and helped David build the temple, God’s temple, in Jerusalem. That’s what Lebanon was known for, but it appears that, as the Babylonians came through, they cut down the cedars of Lebanon.

If you look at a flag of the nation of Lebanon today, prominent at the center of its flag is a cedar tree. These were not the cedar trees that you think of around here in North Carolina. These are huge trees, almost redwood like in size, unbelievable.The Babylonians came through and cut everything down. They even killed the beasts that lived in the forest; they did violence to the earth. They came through like locusts; “woe” to them.

The fifth “woe” is found in verses 18 through 20. “Woe” to you because of your false religion. “Woe” to you because of your idolatry; you’ve made idols . 18 “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols!” They had made idols out of wood and metal; they were the maker. 19 “Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it.”

Verse 20, “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” God is in His holy temple in heaven and Babylon is worshiping these things that they have made with their own hands. “Woe” to you, Babylon! “Woe” to you peoples who are citizens of this worldly kingdom! Judgment is already in motion; it hasn’t come yet. This is seventy some years before it falls on Babylon, but it’s already been declared.

Now, may I say to you, that “woe” has already been declared over us. God’s judgment is already in motion over us, apart from Jesus. It says in Ecclesiastes 12:14 (NIV) “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil .” There’s nothing hidden from God. He sees everything we do. Even our motives are revealed to God and God’s judgment on sin is already at work. It’s called death.

The apostle Paul writes this in Romans 6:23 (ESV) “For the wages of sin is death…” Why is there death? Why is there suffering? Why is there pain in this world? It is because of sin and God’s judgment is already upon sin. God’s judgment is already upon us apart from Jesus.

In 539 BC, less than a century after God declared the five “woes,” the city of Babylon, the land of Babylon, was overthrown and miraculously, even as Jeremiah, the prophet predicted, they didn’t even have to break down the walls. They went under the walls by putting a dam upstream on the Euphrates River and lowered the level of the water and walked under. Cyrus overcame King Belshazzar as he was drinking wine from the golden goblets that his father had stolen from the Jerusalem temple. This is the storyline that God tells us. It’s the metanarrative of history declared in the scriptures.

It begins with creation, right? It begins with creation, that God made a perfect world. He said that everything’s good. It’s all good. But then, because of man’s sin, we experienced the fall, so now we’re part of this Babylonian kingdom. We see the Tower of Babel in Genesis; we see that we tried to build our own way to God. God had to interrupt that and cause dissension and different languages; God stopped it.

During this season of fall, He draws out a people. He actually pulls Abraham out of the ancient land of Chaldea, out of the land just north of the Persian Gulf. He pulls him out to a land end of Canaan. He says, ‘I want you to begin the process of being my people. I’m calling you a special people.’ Why did He do that? Was it because Abraham was better than anybody else? No. It was because he was preparing a people to bring the Messiah as our Redeemer. He’s beginning this process.

Verse 14 is pointing to what God is trying to do. He’s bringing the knowledge of His glory back to His creation, which was lost because of the fall. Verse 14 says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Babylon must fall in order for that to happen and then this prepares the way for Christ to come.

Christ has come and there’s a day coming, a future day, when the glory of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the earth. That’s the time of restoration, when Jesus comes again and His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is the storyline of the Bible. Do you know this Jesus? The “woe” is already upon us and Jesus has taken it for us if we believe in Him.


2. Understanding that God’s redemption is available now.

We understand that God’s judgment is already in motion. That’s why there’s sin, suffering and death; these things are in the world today. It’s because of our sin and His judgment is already upon it, but there’s redemption. It’s available right now.

As we look at this verse 14 again, we look at what God wants to do. This verse is familiar; I’ve seen this verse somewhere else. Indeed, if you really look into this, Habakkuk is hearing from the Lord, but he’s also hearing something that God had told another prophet years before. This was the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 11:9 (ESV) “…for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea .” This is important, because Isaiah chapter 11 is well known as a Messianic prophecy. A Messianic prophecy is where an old Testament prophet tells us some details about the coming Christ, the coming Messiah. Verse 14, then, is part of that Messianic prophecy. It’s not just about Babylon falling; it’s also about this One, Jesus.

In fact, if you start reading Isaiah 11:1-3, 10 (NLT) 1 “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him… 3 He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. 10 In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.”

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot…” This is a metaphor saying that this Messiah will come from David’s line. “–yes, a new Branch…” Branch is capitalized here because it points to the Messiah. What happened when Jesus came? The knowledge of the glory of the Lord was present on earth because we see that Jesus is the glory of God.

No one has ever seen God. John writes in John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” The only begotten, He has made Him known. When we see Him, we see the glory of God. Jesus came and He appointed twelve disciples. They began to spread over the known world at this time because God had demolished Babylon.

As Daniel pointed out in his book, as soon as Babylon falls, the Persians take over. As soon as the Persians fall, here come the Greeks and then the Greeks fall to the Romans. The Romans built the Roman roads. They set out Roman law; they make it possible for the the knowledge of the glory of God to be carried all over the known world. The Greeks brought the Greek language, the Romans brought the Roman roads and it made it possible.

Here’s verse 14 pointing to us right now. God is going to do this. ‘I know you’re discouraged Habakkuk. I know you don’t understand, but the Messiah is coming and He’s going to make the knowledge of the glory of the Lord spread as the waters cover the sea. Not completely, but we see it splash ashore in the coming of Jesus. We see it in this.

You see, redemption is available to us right now. The “woe” is already upon us; the woe of God’s judgment, but redemption is already available.

Second Corinthians says this, 2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV) For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” It’s available right now. Right now, you can come out from under the “woe” of God’s judgment, which is on sin . Those five “woes” have been taken away and all that’s left is the glory of Jesus, the forgiveness of Jesus, the sonship of Jesus, the righteousness of Jesus.

When God’s people returned, out of exile to Babylon and returned to Jerusalem. They no longer struggled with the Canaan worship that they once had. They’ve been broken in Babylon from, from their idolatry. They set up the synagogue system and the place was prepared for the Messiah to appear at the perfect appointed time. This helps us be encouraged that God’s judgment is already in motion, but so is His redemption. He’s at work. He’s at work to save.


3. Understanding that God’s restoration is coming soon.

We can be encouraged in our faith as we read these verses from Habakkuk, understanding that God’s restoration is coming soon. Jesus is coming soon. His restoration is coming soon. Verse 14 reveals God’s ultimate plan. God knew His glory. Adam knew His glory, but sin caused His glory to be hidden and the glory that was supposed to be reflected in us was diminished and now the redeemed of God that’s us that believe in Jesus.

As I’m preaching, I’m spreading the knowledge of the glory of God. You’re taking it in and as you go out to your neighborhoods, your workplaces or wherever you go, you’re declaring the knowledge of the glory of God, as we’re commanded, by our Savior, to make disciples of all nations declaring the glory of God. The gospel is the glory of God, declared that Jesus saves and we’re no longer under judgment. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” because all of the “woe” fell on Him.

Those that were in Him were found safe in the ark of God; the rain fell, but Noah and his family were found safe. The rain of God’s judgment fell on the cross and those who are in Christ Jesus are free from condemnation. This is what’s been revealed to us.

Remember what God told Habakkuk earlier in chapter two, Habakkuk 2:3, “For still thevision 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.”

There’s an appointed time coming. There’s a day of Christ’s return coming. The arc of history has already passed through. It’s already passed through these three seasons; there’s only one season left. It’s the season of restoration. He’s coming again and when He does, His glory, the knowledge of His glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the seas.

I have two passages that I want us to consider. One is to go back to Isaiah 11 and read the part of it that I didn’t read earlier that points to the time of Christ’s second coming. Let me read it to you quickly. This is speaking of the Messiah, Isaiah 11:4-9 (NLT) 4 “He willgive justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. 5 He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. 6 In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. 7 The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. 8 The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. 9 Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.”

There’s that verse again, there’s that verse again when you read the Isaiah prophecy in chapter 11, it describes both of His comings – His first and the one to come. Verse 14 of Habakkuk, which is also verse nine of Isaiah chapter 11, points to Jesus. This is a Messianic prophecy.

Babylon, as I’ve said before, is emblematic of the world’s government. How do I know this? Because we see it in the tower of Babel, in the book of Genesis. We see it in reality, in history and here in the book of Habakkuk, that it’s an actual place.

Then we see it in the book of Revelation, don’t we? Let’s see if you think that any of this sounds familiar to you, as I read a little bit about the world religion, the world government, the world economy in the last days found in Revelation 18:1-20 (NIV) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted: “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the GreatGreat !’She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit… For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” … “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!’ … “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ … “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’ “Rejoice over her, you heavens! Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice, apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgment she imposed on you.”

Does that sound familiar to you? These “woes” sound like Habakkuk at the end. Babylon will rise; it’s the false government. It’s the false religion. It’s the world system and it will rise under the beast and under the anti-christ and it will rise. God has already said in His word that He has already judged it. It will fall. “Woe” to the world and “woe” to every person who decides to remain a citizen of Babylon. But, for everyone who comes to Jesus, you’ll be part of that great company of people who make known the knowledge of the glory of the Lord that fills the earth as the waters cover the sea.

This is what God did. Habakkuk was crying out and God pulled back the veil and said, ‘Don’t worry, Habakkuk. Look what I’m doing. I’m already at work.’

He’s already at work in your life. I know you’re afraid. I know you’re scared. I know you’re troubled. I know you have questions. Cry out to the Lord. He’s already at work. He’s already at work. He’s bringing all things together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Let’s pray. “Lord, thank You that Jesus took those “woes.” Thank You that He took my punishment, He took our punishment, so that we could receive His eternal life. He took my death; He took my sin. He took my separation from You so that I could have eternal life, so that I could have His righteousness, so that I could have a relationship and be adopted into Your family. What amazing love this is, that your plan, Lord, your glory would cover the earth. May we be mirrors of Your glory, that we would be marked by it. Lord, I pray first for that person that’s here today.” You’ve never given your life to Jesus. Your life is still under the judgment of sin. You’re still under the “woe” of sin. Would you come out today and say, ‘Lord, forgive me. I accept what Jesus did on the cross and that He paid for my sin. I believe that He died for me. I believe that You raised Him from the grave and that He lives today. Come and live in me, by Your spirit. Lord Jesus, come and live in me today, forgive me of my sin, adopt me into Your family. I want You to be my Lord and my Savior. I follow You now, with all my life and all my heart.’ If you’re praying that prayer of faith, believing, He will save you. There are those that are here today and you’ve done that. You’ve received Jesus and you know Him as your Lord and Savior. But, you’re going through something right now; you’re going through a difficult time. Know this, even when God seems distant, even when you don’t know what He’s doing. He’s already at work. Say to him, ‘Lord, I don’t see it right now, but I know that You love me. I trust You and I will follow You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.