At times when you, or others around you, are facing life’s challenges, receiving a word from God can bring great comfort.
Here are some thoughts from the story and example of the Prophet Habakkuk, to help you receive your own word from God for yourself and others in times of need.
How to Receive a Word from God
1. Position Yourself to Hear from God
‘I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts’ (Hab 2:1a)
Habakkuk used the imagery of going to a fortress, a place positioned above and apart from the everyday activities of the city, to wait on God in a secure place. This also represented his position as prophet, hearing from God for the nation of Judah.
In times of trial or distress, God Himself is your refuge and your fortress; a safe strong place. (Psalm 91:2)
When you desire to hear from God, then like Habakkuk, be intentional about being positioned in such a way that you can hear His voice.
- The first place to go is to Scripture—as you read and meditate on God’s Word, allow the Holy Spirit to minister a fresh word to your personally
- You may have a regular place where you pray and meet with God
- Be open to the Holy Spirit’s call to take special times apart when you need to hear a word from God
2. Take your Problems and Questions (and those of others) to God
‘I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.’ (Hab 2:1b)
Communication in a relationship is two-way, involving both talking and listening. The book of Habakkuk records the prophet’s discussions with God.
Habakkuk’s conversation with God was raw, honest and authentic. He did not hold back when he had questions and complaints. Sometimes we feel that we can only go to God once we are already uplifted in our faith, forgetting that He longs to do that for us!
God is your help, your strength and your comforter—and He can only be those things to you as you take your pain to Him.
It was only as Habakkuk asked the difficult questions that he could foresee Judah crying out during the future trials, that He was able to hear of God’s plans for the coming redemption.
The name ‘Habakkuk’ means ‘embrace’, or ‘to hold close’ (Strongs 2265), and because the prophet allowed God to fully minister to him, he was in turn able to supply the comfort and encouragement of God to a nation.
‘But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.’ (1 Cor 14:3)
3. Go on a Journey with God
‘How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?’ (Hab 1:2)
Your communications with God and your conversations with Him, will be a journey. Hearing from God is not like taking aim and hitting a target or bullseye. The heart of God responds to those who seek Him—and that takes time.
Don’t be content with a small snippet, or piece of revelation, when God desires to speak more to you.
Learn from Habakkuk, who went on a journey, complaining, crying out, conversing, waiting and listening until he reached a place of faith and heard all that God had to say to him.
Habakkuk’s journey throughout this small book is one where he progresses from a viewpoint of desperation, to one of trust and victory. The last chapter of Habakkuk is directed as a Psalm set to music. It inspires those listening to hope in God despite the circumstances.
‘The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.’ (Hab 3:19)
4. Pay Attention to the Unique Way God Speaks to you
‘I will look to see what he will say to me.’ (Hab 2:1)
Habakkuk used visionary language to describe how he listened to God. For those of us who are seers and visionaries, listening to God also means watching.
God is Spirit, and has many ways to communicate. Take into account your gift and the unique way you connect with God.
Be open to receiving impressions from the Holy Spirit and dig deeply into God’s Word.
5. Record what God is saying
‘Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.”’ (Hab 2:2)
As with Habakkuk, there are times when a message from God is prophetic and concerns His intention and His future outcome. As you record a communication from God—whether it is a prophetic insight, a dream, Scripture or Word, it gives clarity in the journey, both for yourself and others you may minister to.
Having a written or audio record of your word from God gives you something tangible to celebrate.
Glory is given to God when it comes to pass.
Recording what God is saying allows you to pray about it, weigh it up and if it goes beyond general encouragement, to submit the word to oversight for confirmation (1 Cor 14:29, 1 Thess 5:19-21). Accountability gives us security in our journey of learning to hear God’s voice.
Finally, as Habakkuk reminds us, the ultimate test of a word from God is whether or not that word comes true.
‘For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.’ (Hab 2:3)
In preparing for this study, I read Habakkuk in different translations and also listened to Habakkuk several times using an audio Bible App. I mention this because I encourage you to do the same as you study God’s Word. Take time to connect fully with what He is saying and also to be further enriched by discovering what is happening in the background culturally and historically.
My favourite websites, used in this Bible study, are www.biblegateway.com and www.blueletterbible.org
I found this commentary on Habakkuk chapter one insightful: __https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Hab/Hab_1.cfm