Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Making The Message Clear

Habakkuk 2:1-20

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. ” (Habakkuk 2:1)

Habakkuk has made a commitment to stay on duty listening for what God will direct him to do and be ready to respond when sin is pointed out. 

“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. ” (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

Habakkuk’s job is to write the vision down clearly so that people can see what they need to do and respond.  It is not so urgent but what they will have time to act if they pay attention, but it will surely happen if they delay.   It will not be postponed because they didn’t pay attention. 

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.  Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people: Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! ” (Habakkuk 2:4-6)

The proud man is not a righteous man.  He thinks he is above punishment, sinning by drinking, by running around, by trying to get more stuff.  He reaches a point where nothing satisfies him, going to other countries and trying to establish connections with all of them.   The end result will be that they turn on him, accusing him of taking things he has no right and of rolling in thick mud. 

“Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?  Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein. ” (Habakkuk 2:7-8)

Judah had ruled many nations, and they time when they will turn on them like a pet lion or alligator, suddenly awakened.  When it happens Judah will just be a pair of house shoes for them. They will be treated the way they had treated others because of the people they had killed and the crime they  were ignoring.      

Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!  Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul. ” (Habakkuk 2:9-10)

There will be much sorrow and regret to the person who has cheated and taken advantage to try to set himself above others and avoid the problems they have.  In doing so, they have brought shame on their family by hurting other people and brought God’s  judgment on themselves.

“For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. ” (Habakkuk 2:11-14)

While they may think their sin will go unnoticed, the very rocks and tembers of their house will call out to God.  Those who have gotten ahead by destroying others will be punished.  God will bring them to point of being forced to work right in the fire, and exhaust themselves without accomplishment.  The earth will finally understand that everything is the result of God’s actions, not man’s accomplishments. 

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!  Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.  For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein. ” (Habakkuk 2:15-17)

Those who have encouraged others to sin will be especially punished.  The pleasure they got from seeing him in trouble will be an embarrassment to them.  Their own foolishness and wickedness will be exposed like a man caught naked in another man’s house.   His pride will become his shame, as if somebody poured excrement on it.  Lebanon had become a country of constant fighting that would spill over and engulf Judah, even affecting the animals because of the number of people killed and the savagery of trhe people in both city and country. 

“ What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?  Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. ” (Habakkuk 2:18-19)

The idols they had made of wood, stone, and precious metals would offer no protection from God’s judgment, or even from their human enemies.  None of them had even the power to breathe, much less act on their maker’s behalf.  No amount of prayers or sacrifices will bring them to life.

“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. ” (Habakkuk 2:20)

God is alive and well, and has power to respond.  The people of the earth need to shut up and listen to him.  If they ignore him, they have only themselves to blame for the consequences.

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