Habakkuk, it seems, did not have a long time to wait for his answer. Habakkuk was to write the vision down and make the message plain as he wrote it on tablets. Some believe these tablets were made of clay or stone. Since the material used is not given, they could have been, as Homer Hailey stated in his book The Minor Prophets, plaques or plates hung in public places so those who passed by could read them easily. Others see this to mean that the prophet was to write this vision so that all could read it quickly and hasten to someone else or hasten to get prepared.
No matter which it might have been, the writing was to be plain. This idea should be followed by all who seek to spread the gospel message to the world. It must presented so that everyone can read and understand God’s message. Those obedient to God’s message must realize their responsibility to take it to someone else.
The vision given to Habakkuk was for “an appointed time.” A time that only Jehovah knew. This explains the writing down of the vision as it would be years before it was to come to pass. Quoting the American Standard Version, “It hastens (Heb. Panteth) toward the goal and will not fail” (Hab. 2:3b). It will come to pass for God’s word is sure when He desires it to happen. It is interesting to see that Jehovah handles things in His own time, and man cannot speed up or slowdown that process, despite what some believe.
The question that comes up with a study of this passage is, “Does this refer only to the destruction coming by the hand of the Chaldeans, or does it refer to the coming of the Messiah? Commentaries differ on this passage. It may be just Babylon, or it could be the Messiah. Perhaps the safest thing to say about this passage was said by Hailey, “The answer is uncertain.”
God planned on punishing His people by using the horrible nation of Babylon, but Babylon would eventually meet its demise (Jer. 50:1ff). The faithful of the day would have to endure the destruction brought about by a people who chose to ignore God and all the prophets He had sent to them. Those faithful were to wait patiently for these events to transpire, and God would be there for them and then overthrow their destroyer. Just as God conquered Babylon and every other nation that opposed God, it would come when God chose it to happen.
From Habakkuk, many lessons can be found; even from three verses, there are lessons. First, man needs to realize that God is in control. He always has been and always will be. Second, man does not think like God (Isaiah 55:8, 9). Third, God’s word is true; He chastised His people with the nation of Babylon. He destroyed Babylon in His own time with the Medes and the Persians.