"This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." Habakkuk 2:3 NLT
It is impossible to read Habakkuk 2 and Luke 21 and not notice the similarities. Habakkuk 2 prophecies the destruction of Babylon, while Jesus is referring to both the coming devastation of the temple and Jerusalem along with His return in Luke 21. In each of these situations, destruction will come from God, "a righteous judge and a God who feels indignation every day." Just as Babylon and Jerusalem faced a day of reckoning so, too, does the world. All kingdoms and cultures will fall before the kingdom of God and the King of Kings.
Habakkuk struggled with the fact that the LORD would use the Babylonians to judge Israel. In chapter one, violence, iniquity, destruction, strife, and contention surround Habakkuk. He knew Israel deserved God’s judgment. In verse six, God says He is raising up the Chaldeans (Babylon) as His instrument of judgment. Habakkuk expresses surprise that the LORD would judge Israel with a nation more wicked than the Jews. Jerusalem, in Jesus’ day, could have shown the same dismay that God would use Rome to destroy the temple, Jerusalem and displace the Jews.
Reading Habakkuk 1:1-5, I must confess I saw similarities with the United States. I know we as a nation deserve God's judgment, but would He use a godless country for that purpose? Reading the news of North Korea's last missile launch and hearing the military is now recommending no spouses and dependents be in South Korea caused me to stop, think and pray.
I don't know what the future holds but I am thankful to know the One who holds the future. In both Habakkuk 2 and Luke 21, the One who holds and knows the future gives His children instruction for being prepared for difficult times to come.
Habakkuk 2:4, comparing the proud to the righteous, says, "the righteous shall live by his faith" with the inference being the prideful will perish. Verse 14 promises the coming day when the "earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." Verse 20 adds, "The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him." God is telling us to trust Him because everything He promises will happen. His glory will be revealed to the world. Nothing has changed. He is in His holy temple and the day is coming when the earth will be silent before Him. Paul says the same thing in Romans 3:19, "So that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God."
In Luke 21, Jesus gives us additional insight into how to live in troubled times. In verses 16-19, Jesus makes a profound statement: believers will be betrayed by those closest to them. Some will be killed. They will be hated because of Him. Yet, He promises not a hair on their head will perish. By standing firm in faith, they will gain their lives. Verse 28 says when these things take place, stand erect and raise your heads, because "your redemption is drawing near." Verse 31 adds, "know the kingdom of God is near." We are to be watchful, awake, and praying that we may have the strength to escape all these things that are to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.
Sovereign LORD Jesus, You alone work all things for Your glory and Your bride’s good. Strengthen Your disciples who are currently going through the terrible times depicted in Habakkuk and Luke. Holy Spirit, convict us to pray for our brothers and sisters as they face persecution for Your name. Strengthen us to stand firm in our faith no matter what the future holds. Father, thank You for keeping me in Your hand.