God’s answer to Habakkuk’s question in Habakkuk 1:17, as recorded in chapter 2, continues in the form of a song that mocks the proud oppressor.
No less than five woes (Hab. 2:6, 9, 12, 15, 19) affirm the message that Babylon’s doom is sealed. The punishment on the enemy will be in accordance with the “measure for measure” principle. What the wicked do to their victims will, in the end, be done to them. They will reap what they sow, because God cannot be mocked by proud human beings (Gal. 6:7).
In contrast to the oppressor, who is in the end judged by God, the righteous have the promise of eternal life in Christ, regardless of what happens to them here in this life. In describing the faithful remnant at the time of the end, the book of Revelation presents the expression “the patience of the saints” (Rev. 14:12). Indeed, the righteous are persistent in their wait for divine intervention, even if they see it only at the Second Coming.
Read Hebrews 11:1-13. How do these verses help us as we wrestle, in our own context, with the same questions with which Habakkuk struggled?
God’s ultimate answer to Habakkuk’s questions was the affirmation of His abiding presence. Trust in God’s presence and confidence in His judgment in spite of the appearances to the contrary; that is the message of Habakkuk’s book, as well as the message of all biblical revelation. Prophetic faith is trust in the Lord and His unchanging character.
“The faith that strengthened Habakkuk and all the holy and the just in those days of deep trial was the same faith that sustains God’s people today. In the darkest hours, under circumstances the most forbidding, the Christian believer may keep his soul stayed upon the source of all light and power. Day by day, through faith in God, his hope and courage may be renewed.”—Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 386, 387.