2:4 The Lord now discloses the essential distinction He makes between the wicked, the Babylonians, and the righteous, the remnant of Judah. The wicked take paths that lead to death and defeat; the righteous by faith take a path that leads to life and victory. In brief, this distinction and the promise it contains for the righteous constitute the word of comfort to Habakkuk. It also marks the turning point in his personal struggle over the Lord’s use of the wicked Babylonians as a rod of judgment against His people.
by his faith. Or, “by his faithfulness.” In context here, the Hebrew word denotes steadfast reliance on the Lord, a trust that perseveres. In the midst of a land filled with wickedness (1:2–4) and subject to the wrath of God, the Lord promises that a righteous remnant in Judah will trust in the God who remembers mercy in His wrath (3:2). The Hebrew recalls the words of Gen. 15:6 and applies them to Habakkuk’s situation. By faith Abraham waited patiently for the fulfillment of God’s promises (Heb. 6:15), and now Habakkuk and the remnant must wait patiently too (v. 3; 3:16). Here Paul found scriptural proof for the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11), and Habakkuk’s word of comfort has been a key text for Protestant Reformation faith since the sixteenth century.