“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him,” (2:20).
Habakkuk had positioned himself in humility to hear from God, ready to have his questions answered; but more importantly, ready to hear His reproof.
I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved, (2:1).
Habakkuk would watch, anticipating God’s answer concerning their treacherous enemy being raised up as God’s instrument of judgment against His people; wondering how on earth this would be in keeping with the character of Holy God. And the Lord would answer Habakkuk’s questions; but first the Lord directs His prophet to write down the vision that was quickly making its way to fruition.
Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay, (2:2-3).
And as the vision unfolds, five woes against the puffed-up pride of the Babylonians are pronounced. Five woes describing their tyrannical oppression against God’s people that had ushered in their determined doom. And though they had exalted themselves in their violent greed, destroying everything in their path, God would have the final say, and He would bring down their pride, making them the objects of ridicule, as they had so mercilessly done with so many.
“Will not all of these take up a taunt-song against him,
Even mockery and insinuations against him
And say, ‘Woe to him who increases what is not his—
For how long—
And makes himself rich with loans?’” (2:6).
And I wondered, as Habakkuk was furiously writing, so careful to make sure he didn’t miss one word of the woes that were soon coming against the enemy, did his hand suddenly come to a screeching halt as every one of his questions was definitively answered in God’s declaration of His Holiness as Almighty King and Judge in His Holy Temple?
“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him.” (2:20).
By reminding His prophet of His eternal dwelling place, Habakkuk would understand that because He is in His Holy Temple, He Is above all the earth forever, He Is above all of mankind forever, He Is above all His creation forever; and because He forever sits in Holiness as Righteous King and Judge of all the earth, none can question His authority; for none will even be able to utter a sound.
Consider Him in His Holy Temple
From His Holy Temple in Heaven, He sees His creation, examining the heart of every man, bringing His wrath against the wicked and shining the light of His presence upon the righteous.
The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
5 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
And the one who loves violence His soul hates.
6 Upon the wicked He will rain snares;
Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
The upright will behold His face, (Psalm 11:4-7).
From His Holy Temple in Heaven, He makes earth His footstool. And He will look with His favor upon all those who humble themselves before His Presence, before His Supremacy, His Perfection, and His Sovereignty, before His Omnipotence, His Omnipresence, and His Omniscience, before His Holiness, His Truth, and His Justice. And from His Holy Temple He will look with favor upon those who are humbled in silence before Him and tremble at His Word.
Thus says the Lord,
“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
2 “For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word, (Isaiah 66:1-2).
The day is coming when He will sit as the Holy witness against all rebellion upon the earth. And on that day, all pride and idolatry will be brought down before Him in His Holy Temple, melting like wax before the fire of His Holy wrath.
Hear, O peoples, all of you;
Listen, O earth and all it contains,
And let the Lord God be a witness against you,
The Lord from His holy temple.
3 For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place.
He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.
4 The mountains will melt under Him
And the valleys will be split,
Like wax before the fire,
Like water poured down a steep place, (Micah 1:2-4).
How do we respond to Him in His Holy Temple?
Jesus left His rightful place in His Holy Temple and came down out of Heaven to give His life for us that we would partake of His gift of eternal life.
“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51).
It is only as we humble ourselves and acknowledge our sin and the absolute inability in our own hands to deliver, and place our faith in what only Christ could accomplish to pay the debt of our sin, that we are declared righteous before Him.
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 HCSB).
When we come into relationship with Holy God through faith in Christ, we have peace with Him. That is beyond amazing; oh such grace! But may we never take His grace for granted. And though He has brought us near, He is Holy and He dwells in Holiness, ever on the throne in His Holy Temple.
But pride is insidious, even in the life of the believer, as it raises confidence in the works of our hands and diminishes His Holiness. Pride forgets that He needs nothing from us. And when we are caught in the horrifying sin of pride, we relegate Him to a place of our own making.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; (Acts 17:24-25).
Oh, may truly live by the faith we profess that our soul would be right within us. Let us daily humble ourselves and bow before Him in His Holy Temple that we would surrender to His Supremacy, His Perfection, and His Sovereignty, His Omnipotence, His Omnipresence, and His Omniscience, His Holiness, His Truth, and His Justice.
“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith,” (2:4).
Trials and the injustices of life threaten to darken our confidence in His faithfulness. But we must never forget that whatever our distress, He forever reigns supreme; and from His Holy Temple, He is faithful to hear our cries for help.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears, (Psalm 18:6).
Living by faith doesn’t mean we won’t be challenged with questions in our afflictions. Quite the contrary; even Habakkuk the righteous prophet of God was perplexed by what was happening. And the truth is, how do we even know our faith is genuine if we never need faith?
Consider the following quote by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest.
“Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character has to be cleared in our own minds.”
God allows our tribulations and trials to strengthen our faith, as well as our character, that we would come to a greater realization and understanding of His character.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope, (Romans 5:3-4).
Today, let us, like Habakkuk, position ourselves in humility to hear from God, ready to hear all that He has to say, including His reproof, that He would correct our wrong thinking with His perfect Justice.
Correct me, O Lord, but with justice;
Not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing, (Jeremiah 10:24).
And let us ask Him for a greater revelation of His Holiness, that our greatest desire, the one thing we would want more than anything on this whole earth, would not be to have all our questions answered but to daily see His beauty as we meditate on Him in His Holy Temple, that we would be filled with songs of praise.
Oh, Lord, silence our questions we pray, that we would seek You more than answers we think we need. Lord, grow our desire to so walk in reverent faith that we would be absolutely undone by the unfathomable privilege of coming into Your presence, that we would never miss one day of seeking You in Your Holy Temple.
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord, (Psalm 27:4-6).