Write the Vision
Temporal calamities, in the Old Testament, very frequently prefigured spiritual judgments; and the way to escape them, is set forth the way of salvation. This was the case in the days of Habakkuk, when the Chaldeans as the executors of God's threatenings, were about to be brought into the land. The prophet cried unto the Lord, and waited before him — and at length the ultimate deliverance of Israel was showed him, and a very important command was given him. "And the Lord answered me, and said: Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run, who reads it." Habakkuk 2:2. Looking at these words in the light of the gospel, let us notice,
THE DANGER SUPPOSED. The danger is the wrath of God, revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men. This wrath is just — but it is exceedingly dreadful. This wrath is calm — but it is eternal. It is the flowing forth of God's just and infinite hatred against sin, and the righteous punishment of the same. The cause of God's wrath is sin — and only sin. Sin as it is rebellion against God, and forgetfulness of God.
Wrath's revelation is in the law, which pronounces a curse upon every transgressor.
This wrath is certain, for there is an accuser who watches, registers, and remembers our sins. There is a day of judgment appointed, and the Judge is just and impartial. God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has appointed.
THE DIRECTION GIVEN. "Write the vision." A vision is a revelation from God, which revelation is to be recorded on a writing tablet, that all may read.
Write — a way of escape is revealed. Jesus is the way, and by faith in him, sinners may be saved from the wrath to come. The way of escape is to be recorded.
Write it — that it may be preserved. Let it not be entrusted to a treacherous memory — but let it be faithfully registered. The record is to be plain. So plain, that children as well as grown people, that the most illiterate may understand it. We cannot make the way of salvation too plain, or set it forth in too simple terms. The plain record is to be exhibited. It is for public use. Every one should see it. Every one should be able to read it. Every one should be affected by it.
THE DESIGN IN VIEW. "That he may run, who reads it." The way of salvation is open to every reader, and to every hearer of the gospel. Anyone may enter the strait gate. All are directed to the narrow way. Every reader should run. Only by running, can we be safe. As therefore all are in danger, everyone should flee from the wrath to come. No one who runs, should rest until he arrives in safety. As there is safety only in Christ — no one should rest, until he rests in Christ: until he is saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.
Yet, some read — but do not run, their reading has no good effect upon them. Some run — but do not read, and are therefore in danger of running wrong! They generally run to the church, to the priest, or to duties — instead of running to Christ. Some neither read nor run — but entirely neglect so great salvation, these are of all men most inexcusable.
Friends, by nature, we are all in danger, in great danger of the wrath of God, for we are sinners, and sin calls down God's wrath on the sinner's head! God has graciously provided and revealed a way of escape. He provided it at an infinite expense, and he has revealed it in his word in the plainest terms. It is now the business of every minister, of every Sunday School teacher, and of every Christian man and woman — to make the way plain to others. They should write of it, or speak of it — until all about them clearly understand it.
Every one that sees God's way, should use it. God says, "Walk therein, and you shall find rest unto your souls." It is a public way — a way for all. It is a free way — without toll bar, or pay gate, so that the poorest can have no excuse.
No sinner should rest short of Christ, for there is safety no where else. There is no salvation in sacraments, church services, or any creature performances; no priest, prelate, or pope — can save a soul. Jesus can save — and Jesus alone. "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." If sinners perish, who have God's word in their hands, or who sit under the preaching of the gospel — they are suicides! They destroy themselves! They will not come unto Christ, that they might have life. O sinner, look at the end of your course, the endless wrath of God, see the way of escape, opened through the Savior's life and death; RUN, RUN, RUN in that way — until you realize that you are saved forever.
Let us all then, read the threatenings of God's word — and run from danger, for to this end the threatenings are given.
Let us read the invitations — and run to the refuge, for to this end are the invitations sent.
Let us read the precepts — and run to duty, for to this end are the precepts published.
We read to little purpose, if reading does not lead us to Christ; and certainly we do not come to Christ, if we are not saved from sin, and consecrated to the service of God. God cuts off all excuse from the sinner, for he prepares the way, sends the gospel, commands it to be written, requires the writing to be plain, directs it to be placed in conspicuous places, and then bids every one run that reads it. And, so plainly is the way of salvation set forth in the word of God, that children can understand it, and the way-faring men, though fools, do not err therein.
Holy Spirit, stir, up all the Lord's people, to make the vision plain to their fellow men; and give grace to sinners all around us, that reading, they may run for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them!