The Righteous Shall Live by Faith (Hab. 2:1-5)

What have we learned so far?

Hindi lang basic commodities like food, medicine, medical services and essential during this pandemic. For us Christians, what is most essential is the Word of God. Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4; Luke 4:4). That is why we are going through a study of Habakkuk. Kahit 2600 plus years ago na, very relevant ang salita ng Panginoon. We are being sanctified by the truth, his word is truth (John 17:17). Let us make the most of our time to spend time with the Word. Maraming resources available ngayon. Read the Bible, and get help from others online, through church community, small groups, etc.

Like Habakkuk, we can pray to God and say out complaints. Lament ang tawag dun. Anuman yung hurts mo, anuman yung questions mo, tulad ni Habakkuk, “How long…why…why…” Hindi lang isang beses (Hab 1:1-4), dalawang beses dito (Hab 1:12-17). Kasi lumalapit tayo sa Diyos. We want comfort, we want to make sense of what is happening around us, gusto nating maintindihan ano ang ginagawa ng Panginoon.

Minsan akala natin hindi sumasagot si Lord, o wala siyang ginagawa, o wala siyang pakialam, at kung may ginagawa siya parang di tama ang ginagawa niya. Although we know, sa theology natin, hindi naman ganyan ang Diyos. So, dito sumasagot si Lord. Nauna na sa Hab 1:5-11, at sinabi niya na may gagawin siya to deal with injustice and oppression sa Judah. Yun nga lang, nag-complain na naman si Habakkuk kasi parang di tama na Babylon ang gagamitin ng Diyos na mas masahol pa kaysa sa Judah. 

Dito sa chapter 2, pag-aaralan natin in three parts this week, sasagot na naman si Lord. Hindi siya magsasawa, hindi siya mapapagod, hindi siya makukulitan sa atin. God is patient and gracious in dealing with our pains. 

Waiting (2:1)

Bago natin marinig ang sagot ni Lord sa Hab 2:2, in-express muna ni Habakkuk yung gagawin niya, yung confidence niya na itong mga complaints niya ay dinirinig ng Diyos, and he will soon reply, and act.”I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint” (Habakkuk 2:1 ESV).

“I will take my stand” sabi niya. Naka-“station” siya. Para siyang isang watchman, on guard, on the “look out.” Walang tulugan. Usually ito yung mga sundalo na naka-assign at nasa isang mataas na tore para makita kung merong kaaway na paparating. O kaya naman merong messenger na may dalang balita. Dito si Habakkuk, hindi kaaway ang hinihintay. Yung sagot ng Diyos, yung reply ng Diyos, good news kaya itong word from God. Sa mga nauna parang impatient ang dating ni Habakkuk, “How long, O Lord?” Parang ang tagal naman, parang naiinip na siya. Dito naman ngayon characterized by patient waiting. Expectant siya. Nasasabik siya. Habakkuk expectant, patient. Contrast with Hab. 1:2.

For what purpose yung paghihintay niya? O ano ang inaasahan niya? Una, 1) “To see what he will say to me…” Kung noong una, parang ang question niya ay ang di pagsagot ni Lord sa pag-iyak niya sa prayers niya (Hab 1:2), ngayon naman he’s waiting on how God will respond. At hindi lang response ni Lord ang iniisip niya…

Ikalawa, 2) “…and what I will answer…” Not just God’s reply, but his response sa reply ng Diyos. Itong paghihintay niya ay hindi niya sinasayang. He’s reflecting on how to respond to God. Although sa salin ng ASD at MBB (“kanyang sagot” / “tugon niya”), maybe using another manuscript as basis of translation, iba dun sa Ang Biblia, “at kung ano ang aking isasagot tungkol sa aking daing” (2001 ed). Ganun din sa ESV, at CSB, “what I should reply”. So, habang naghihintay siya sa pagsagot ni Lord, he’s also reflecting how to submit himself to God’s Word. He’s not making excuses, or justifications for not submitting to God. He’s not also accusing God of wrongdoing. 

Sa mga sumunod na verses, whole chapter, Hab. 2:2-20, sumagot na si Lord. Hindi nabigo, hindi nasayang ang paghihintay ni Habakkuk. Sa chapter 3 naman nakasulat yung prayerful response ni Habakkuk, heto siguro yung sinasabi niyang “what I should reply” (CSB). Simulan nating tingnan ngayon kung ano ang reply ni Lord sa second complaint ni Habakkuk, hanggang v. 5 lang muna tayo.

Wait, It Will Surely Come (2:2-3)

Sumagot si Lord, tulad din sa Hab. 1:5. Ang kaibahan lang dito ngayon, merong transitional comment from Habakkuk. For emphasis, for recognition that God indeed answers our prayers. “And the Lord answered me” (2:2). Me! Personal ‘yan. Simula ng sinabi ni Lord, “Write..” Singular imperative. Isulat mo…Unlike sa Hab 1:5-11, plural ang response, para sa lahat sa Judah. Ito may personal, mas specific. What can you learn here from God’s dealing with Habakkuk? He’s not just dealing with the world, or the church in general, but with you specifically, personally. 

Dito sa Hab. 2:2-5, makikita natin yung call to faith kay Habakkuk, to wait and trust in God, instead of having prideful arrogance tulad ng Babylon. Siyempre by implication, this is also a call for God’s people to put their trust in him. Kasi paparusahan niya ang mga kaaway ng Diyos. Nakasulat sa Hab 2:6-20 yung tinatawag na “five woes,” inisa-isa ng Diyos kung bakit itong Babylon ay deserving of God’s judgment at kung ano ang judgment ni Lord sa kanila. But before that, tingnan muna natin ang personal na invitation or call ni Lord para kay Habakkuk, and para din naman sa atin na nakay Cristo.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2 ESV). Isulat daw yung vision. Ano ba yun? Usually, yung word na ito ay tumutukoy sa isang prophetic message from God (1 Chron. 17:15Prov. 29:18). Posibleng tinutukoy nito ay ang buong book o Habakkuk, o kaya naman yung isang section dito tulad ng mga sasabihin niya sa susunod na mga verses about his pronouncement of judgment sa Babylon. Anuman yun, itong salita ng Diyos kailangan niyang isulat sa bato. Permanent witness kumbaga. Hindi yung sinabi lang tapos wala nang record or evidence.

And not just for permanence, to serve the future generation, but also for clarity. “Write…make it plain…” Ang words of prophecy ay hindi para magpalito sa mga tao. God is not speaking in riddles here na kailangang i-decipher. Plain revelation from God. Anong purpose? “So he may run who reads it.” Or, “so one may easily read it” (CSB). Madaling unawain, madali ding maipahayag. Ang salita ng Diyos for our own understanding and for clear proclamation sa iba. So itong isusulat ni Habakkuk, madali lang naman. Pakinggan niya lang si Lord, isulat niya. Easy. But waiting to see its realization? That’s the harder part. May tiwala naman tayo sa power ng word of God, tulad ng nakasulat sa Isa 55:10-11. Oo, bumabagsak ang salita ng Diyos na parang ulan mula sa langit, at dumidilig sa lupa. Tiyak na may kabuluhan yun. Pero it takes time para yung butong nakatanim ay tumubo at magbunga. Farming requires patience. That is why di ko hilig magtanim. Bibili na lang ako ng gulay sa palengke! O lutong ulam para mas madali! We want instant, quick results. May matutunan tayo sa patience ng mga farmers. “Magtanim ay di biro.” Ito rin ang tinuturo ni Lord kay Habakkuk, at sa atin ngayon in times of waiting, times of need.

“For still the vision 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.”  (Habakkuk 2:3 ESV). Sabi ni Lord kay Habakkuk, hintayin mo ang fulfillment ng vision na ‘yan. Hindi ‘yan mamaya lang o bukas lang. Still future, maybe far far away! “Awaits its appointed time.” Merong panahong itinakda ang Diyos sa lahat ng bagay sa plano niya sa kasaysayan. Don’t expect immediate fulfillment. Kaya naman gawin ng Diyos na isang salita niya lang, isang iglap niya lang mangyayari na, hihinto na ang sufferings natin, mawawala na ang coronavirus. Pero meron siya reason – known only to him – bakit di niya ginagawa o agad ginagawa. 

Pero kapag nakikita na natin ang realization nito masasabi nating, “Ang bilis ng panahon, no?” Dito rin sabi ni Lord, “It hastens to the end.” Sa MBB, “Ngunit mabilis na lilipas ang panahon.” Minsan di natin agad feel yung effect ng Salita ng Panginoon. Part ito ng tension ng “already” and “not yet” reality ng kingdom of God. Pero makatitiyak tayo na totoo at tiyak na mangyayari ‘to. “It will not lie.” Di tayo lolokohin ng Diyos, his words are not deceptive, they will not fail, they will not disappoint. Kasi ang Diyos di naman di nagsisinungaling (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29).

Alam natin mangyayari, pero naiinip tayo kasi parang mabagal. Kaya sabi na ni Lord kay Habakkuk, “If it seems slow, wait for it.” “Seems slow” on our perspective, seems delayed, but “it will not delay,” “it will surely come.” The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, patient siya, tayo lang ang impatient (2 Pet 3:9). Di natin pwedeng ikahon ang Diyos sa timeline natin. His timeline is best. Itong Hab 2:3-4, cited in Heb 10:35-39, mamaya titingnan natin ‘to. Pero dito makikita natin na ang context ay tungkol sa perseverance and endurance ng mga Christians in times of suffering.

Be patient, wait for it. Maraming utos sa Psalms na maghintay tayo sa Diyos at sa gagawin niya (Psa 27:14; 31:24; 37:7, 34). When we wait, we believe God’s promises (Psa 37:9). So we must resolve, “I will wait on the Lord” (Psa 25:5; 38:15; 39:7; 62:5; 130:5).

“While the judgment coming upon Judah will begin quite soon (586 B.C.), the punishment of the Babylonians will not be fulfilled until 539” (ESV Study Bible), so malamang di na ‘to naabutan ni Habakkuk, yung time na tinalo na ni Cyrus of Persia ang mga Babylonians, na siyang instrument din ni God para makabalik ang mga kababayan ni Habakkuk after 70 years of Babylonian captivity. 

At dapat alalahanin natin ngayon, tulad ng paulit-ulit ko nang ine-emphasize, na itong sinasabi ni Lord na judgment ay matutupad sa kamatayan ni Jesus sa krus, nang akuin niya ang parusa at galit ng Diyos in behalf of us sinners (penal substitutionary atonement). And we still cry for justice, naghihintay tayo ng final judgment of evil sa pagbabalik ng Panginoong Jesus. So ganun din ngayon, we must have a gospel-centered view of this pandemic. Tingnan din natin ang dulo at abangan ang Ending ng Story of God. Our waiting is not just about the resolution of this coronavirus pandemic. We wait for the restoration of all things. 

Dapat hindi tayo shortsighted when we approach our sufferings now. Sabi ni D. A. Carson (How Long, O Lord, pp. 133-134): “Christians who have no answers to why this or that has happened can afford to take the long view. The God they know is a just God; he will ensure that justice is done, and seen to be done. That means they do not always have ready answers; they have, instead, a reasonable confidence in the One who does have the answers and the power to impose them. God will have the last word; we dare wait for that.”

Ngayon, ang tanong, how will you know and be certain that you will not be among those who are judged? How will you partake of the benefits of the redemptive work of Christ. Answer? Malinaw ito sa vv. 4-5.

“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. “Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.”  (Habakkuk 2:4-5 ESV)

Ano ang makikita n’yo ditong two contrasting ways to live. Prideful arrogance and humble trust. In response, ano ang kailangang gawin? Repent of your pride, and put your trust in Christ. 

Repent of your pride. Wala naman exactly sinabi kay Habakkuk na ganyan. Pero implied kasi sabi ni Lord sa kanya na tingnan ang kayabangan ng Babylon. In effect, wag mo silang tularan kung ayaw mong matulad sa sasapitin nila. This is a call for all of God’s people to humble themselves before God. Sa chapter 1 pa lang, sinasabi na ni Lord yung tungkol sa arrogance nitong Babylon (Hab 1:8, 11). Here, “his soul puffed up” (Hab 2:4). Swollen, mahangin, malaki ulo. Ikinumpara itong mayabang sa isang alak na tinatraydor ang umiinom nito. Akala mo masisiyahan ka, pero ito ang kokontrol sa ‘yo. We are driven by pride, but we are controlled by it. Ito rin ang sisira sa buhay natin. Pride leads to death and destruction (Prov 16:18). Kaya binanggit din ang greed ng Babylon na expression din ng pride sa Hab 1:5. Libingan, Sheol, kamatayan ang katumbas nito. Hindi kasiyahan. Hindi buhay. Kahit makaipon, makasakop pa sila ng “all nations” / “all peoples” – they will be judged severely by God. Magiging malinaw ‘yan sa vv. 6-20. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole word and forfeit his soul” (Mark 8:36)? The way to death is the way of pride. Adam and Eve, di ba ganyan din? Si Satan? Yung Israel? Yung ibang nations? Lahat ganyan ang kahahantungan. For the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). We need another way to live. We need God’s way. Jesus is the way. But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ.

Put your trust in Christ. “But the righteous shall live by his faith.” A wonderful, glorious, good news “but”! In contrast ‘yan sa arrogance ng Babylon at ng destruction na naghihintay sa mga katulad nila. Paano daw mabubuhay? Paano dapat mamuhay? “By his faith,” or “by his faithfulness,” alternative translation. “The Heb word denotes steadfast reliance on the Lord, a trust that perseveres” (Reformation Study Bible). A trust that perseveres. Nagpapatuloy. Hindi sa simula lang. Kaya nga “waiting” ang sinasabi dito kay Habakkuk. Ngayon kasi, the way we share the gospel sa mga unbelievers, sinasabi lang natin, “Salvation is not by works, quoting Ephesians 2:8-9. By grace through faith in Christ. So tanggapin mo si Jesus, sumampalataya ka sa kanya and you will have eternal life.” Totoo naman. Kaso di naituturo ng iba na ang “faith” hindi lang one time deal. Ang totoong faith nagpapatuloy hanggang wakas. 

Now, let’s look at four passages, isa sa Old Testament (Gen 15:6) na ugat ng Hab. 2:4, at tatlo sa New Testament na ginamit ang passage na ‘to to support their argument (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). Looking at the context, ano ang matututunan natin dito about faith, specifically about “trust that perseveres”? Kasi yung faith na yun napapatunayang totoo, nasusubok sa panahon ng sufferings. 

Gen. 15:6 – Dito makikita natin na naniwala kahit na against all odds, matanda na siya, imposibleng magkaanak, pero nagtiwala pa rin sa pangako ng Diyos. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Madalas din ‘yan banggitin sa New Testament, illustrating what kind of faith ang kailangan din natin para maituring na matuwid sa harap ng Diyos. Like sa Rom. 4:3. So here, Abraham by faith waited patiently for the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Rom 1:17 – The righteous shall live by faith. Hindi lang faith sa simula. From faith for faith. Sa simula by faith, ngayon by faith, hanggang sa dulo by faith. At yung justice na yun ni God ay satisfied by Jesus’ work on the cross.  Rom 3:21-26, so that he might be just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus. Malinaw sa NT na yung faith in God and his word specific na faith in Jesus. Faith na nagpapatuloy. Ito kasi ang problem sa Galatians. 

Gal 3:11 – Binanggit ni Paul dito yung “the righteous shall live by faith” to remind them na yung ng status ng relationship natin kay God ay nakasalalay hindi sa anumang gagawin natin para idagdag sa finished work of Jesus. Sapat ang ginawa ni Cristo. Magpatuloy tayong magtiwala dun.

Heb 10:38 – Dito sa Hebrews ay binanggit ang “the righeous shall live by faith” sa context ng matinding persecution na nararanasan nila. Very real ang temptation to shrink back, to walk away from the faith. Meron ditong warning in that regard. Meron ding exhortation to continue believing in God’s promises, kahit di agad nakikita ang fulfillment nito. Kaya nga binanggit yung mga examples of faith sa Hebrews 11. 

So, from this survey of some key texts, malinaw na when we talk of “faith”, na yung salvation natin is by faith, hindi lang ito yung faith na sa simula lang nung tinanggap mo si Cristo tapos ay naghihintay ka na na matapos ang buhay na ito at mapunta ka na sa langit. The Christian life is a life of faith from beginning to end. Like Paul, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us (Gal 2:20). Faith ang kailangan natin for our justification. Faith din for our sanctification. And faith hanggang sa glorification. Faith from start to finish. Lalo pa ngayon na we cannot make sense of what is happening around us, and around the world. Tulad kay Habakkuk, ang salita din ni Lord for us is this: magpatuloy na maghintay, magpatuloy na magtiwala sa gagawin ng Panginoon. Hindi niya tayo bibiguin.

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