God is the God of All of the Nations
In his dialogue with God, the prophet begins with his problem. Ungodly Jews were being allowed to disobey the covenant and oppress others with no consequences. What was God going to do about this?
God raised his sights and told him that he was not only the God of the Jews but also the Lord of the nations and would judge ungodliness.
Habakkuk found fault with God’s solution. He sights were raised but not much higher. He now saw the problem as a Jew-Gentile issue and the Jews were more righteous. God would raise the prophet’s sights again. The issue was really about the just and the proud, those who lived before God rightly and those who were a law to themselves. The Babylonian’s real problem was not that they were Babylonians but their arrogance, their self- reliant pride.
The Just Shall Live By Faith
God told the prophet that his plan was a sure thing and that the just person would live through this time of judgment by faith. (Habakkuk 2:1-4)
The Proud Shall Be Judged
The rest of God’s answer focused on the other people, the proud. God wanted Habakkuk to have a clear picture of their identity and what would happen to them. (Habakkuk 2:1-20)
The first picture of the proud is that they are never content, never satisfied. They are as greedy as the grave. They never have enough. (Habakkuk 2:4-5)
The rest of chapter two is a series of woes interrupted by two pointed applications. Woe in an archaic, flimsy word. It would better be translated as “You are doomed.” It predicts the certainty of God’s judgment. It is used by some of the prophets and Jesus used it against the religious leaders who opposed him. (Isaiah 5:8-23; 10:1, 5; 28:1; 29:15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1; Amos 5:18; 6:1, 4 and others; Matthew 23: 13, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29)
You are doomed if
you build your empire by theft and think you are not accountable, and
you are violent. (Habakkuk 2:6-13)
The first application
In the end creation will be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory. (Habakkuk 2:14)
You are doomed is
you like to humiliate other people, and
you worship idols. (Habakkuk 2:15-19)
The second application
God is in heaven. Those on earth should be silent before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
The silence of idols and the power of the true God is a theme in the prophets. Elijah sarcastically taunted the prophets of Baal on his silence. (1 Kings 18:16-46; see also Isaiah 44)
Those who follow God must not be conformed to the world but be transformed. We must be different. When we see in ourselves the characteristics of the proud, it is time for a reality check and a change of heart. (Romans 12:1-2)
Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)
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