And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.— Habakkuk 2:2
The Message Must Be Proclaimed
The purpose for the message to be written plainly upon tables was so “that he may run that readeth it.” The way people sent and received messages back in the days of Habakkuk was by means of a runner. The post office was not an available convenience in Biblical times. In 2 Samuel 18 we are given an account of the defeat and death of David’s rebellious son, Absalom. Joab, captain of David’s army desired to send word to David of the death of Absalom. Knowing the sorrow that would befall David of the news, Joab chose to withhold the news of victory for another time so that David would have some time to grieve for his son. Joab sends a runner to carry the message of Absalom’s death. There was, however, another runner who desired to carry the news of victory to David. It is unclear if this was for personal gain or to genuinely cheer up David. This second runner overtook the first and was the first to give David his message. When the other run caught up and delivered the news of Absalom’s death, David mourned greatly for his son, and the victory the Lord gave to Israel was almost meaningless in the eyes of David. I wonder what the outcome would have been if the overzealous second runner had not overtaken the first runner?
Runners made a HUGE difference. They would carry a message from city to city and stand boldly in the middle of the city to proclaim tidings of good news or severe warnings of judgment. Both the Hebrew and Greek words translated “preach” in the Bible carry with them the idea of “crying aloud, shouting, or proclaiming.” The preachers of today are designated runners.
Some commentators interpret the words, “that he may run that readeth it,” to signify the need for the reader to run from the judgment to come. But the message of this vision is one of BOTH judgment AND good news. This runner will boldly cry aloud and proclaim the Lord’s message. Notice that the verse does not say, “that the RUNNER may run that readeth it.” The verse is more general. “That HE may run that readeth it.” Though there were designated runners in Habakkuk’s time, ANYBODY who read THIS message had the responsibility to run and proclaim it to others. There are people designated by the Lord to preach, but that does not mean everyone else should remain silent! There’s a world full of people on a one-way trip to hell. Preachers are not the only ones who are to declare the coming judgment and the good news of the Gospel. The Lord desired so much to see the people of Judah repent and turn to the Lord. He wanted to see soul-winners abound in Judah. He wanted the message to be written SO plainly so that not only the reader would be pressed with the severity of the message, but the reader would have a desire to warn others as well. Friends, we are living in the last days. We MUST be busy telling others about Jesus. This message is also intended for us to learn more about the spiritual perspective. We MUST be busy encouraging each other grow into spiritual maturity.