Our church in Naperville, Cross of Christ Fellowship, is spending some time this summer in the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. In the book, we see the prophet perplexed at the evil circumstances around him (1:2-4); we also see him perplexed by how God plans to respond through bringing judgment on Israel through the unbelieving nation of Babylon (1:12-2:1). God responds to Habakkuk’s complaints calls on Habakkuk to trust him, by waiting on God’s timing to bring about judgment. Judgment will come not only on Israel (1:12b), but also on Babylon (2:6-20). One day there will also be an absolute victory over all evil and glorious renewal of the Earth (2:14). And in the meantime, Habakkuk was to “wait” on God (2:3 “wait for it) and embrace the path of the righteous, which is to “live by faith” (2:4 “the righteous shall live by his faith”).
This posture of waiting on the Lord and walking by faith in Him really summarizes up the whole posture of a believer in this life. We wait and we walk by faith.
WAITING ON THE LORD
As Christians we wait on the LORD. We wait on God who promises eternal life to those who believe in Jesus (John 3:16). We wait on God to bring justice over all evil in all of the world (Rev 20-21). We wait on our Lord Jesus Christ, who will one day return in glory (1 Thess 4:16). We wait to see how God will use painful and frustrating circumstances, even evil things that happen to us, for His own good purposes (Gen 50:20). We wait on God to forever vanquish death, as we see our loved ones die and we ourselves face the reality of a coming physical death. We wait on God as we pray for relief from situations that seem unexplainable in light of God’s sovereignty. We wait on God to hear the desires of our hearts as we bring our requests to Him, sometimes prayers we make over years and even decades.
As Christians our posture is a GOD-WARD waiting. God’s timing is perfect, and at “just the proper time” (1 Tim 2:6; Titus 1:3) Jesus came and saved us through his death on the cross. Though we tend toward being impatient with God, the path of wisdom is leading our hearts to wait on God and know that He is good. To go against His word and try to force a change that we are called to wait on God for, is foolish and presumptuous—see Abraham with Hagar (Gen 16) or Saul (1 Samuel 13:8-1).
WALKING BY FAITH
As Christians we “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). We trust in God’s revealed Word, which is the Bible (2 Tim 3:16), and we know that God is absolutely in control of all things; God works “all things for the good of those who loved him and are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).
We trust that Jesus is our savior. He is able to defeat our greatest enemies (Satan, sin, death) and we walk by faith in the fact that it is through faith that we are saved (Gal 2:16). We walk by faith in the truthfulness and authority of God’s word, even when our feelings conflict with it or our culture maligns the views of the Bible. We walk by faith in God who works through us to accomplish His glorious purposes, even when we do not see the results we hoped to see. We walk by faith in God who brings about trials and hardships into our lives for our sanctification (Jas 2:2-4). We walk by faith in the love of God and goodness of God, even when the darkness feels overwhelming or when friends or loved ones abandon the faith or reject us or even work against us and our efforts to proclaim the gospel.
HOPING IN JESUS AS WE WAIT AND WALK BY FAITH
Ultimately, our hope as Christians is not how we well we wait on the Lord or walk by faith, but in Jesus. Jesus is the object of our hope and faith, not how well we trust in him. Our great God and Savior Jesus has redeemed us from our unbelief and sin, and his grace trains us to wait on him and walk by faith (Titus 2:11-14).
I often feel saddened by how little I wait on the Lord and walk by faith. It is so easy to be impatient or ‘lean on my own understanding,’ or be tempted by the world’s wisdom, or feel overwhelmed by my circumstances. But Jesus is our shepherd, and he leads us on paths of righteousness, for his own name’s sake (Ps 23:3b). His blood cleanses us from our presumption, our unbelief, our impatience, our arrogance. He leads us back to the path of waiting on the LORD and walking by faith.
One day, my faith will be sight, but until then, my Lord teaches me to wait and walk by faith in him.