THE WOES OF WICKEDNESS
Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! . . . Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain, setting his nest on high to escape the clutches of ruin . . . Woe to him who build s city with bloodshed and establishes a town with injustice . . . Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbours, pouring it from the wineskin ‘til they are drunk, so he can gaze on their naked bodies . . . Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ (Hab. 2: 6b; 9; 12; 15; 19).
From the background and culture of his day, Habakkuk encapsulated the evils of his own nation and the nation that was about to capture and enslave them. Israel was no better than Babylon. Its people were just as corrupt and unjust as their heathen neighbours. Why? Because the people of Israel loved and worshipped the same idol gods of their neighbours.
Habakkuk pronounced woes on them all. Regardless of the covenant that God had with Israel, which they had long disregarded and forsaken, they were now under the same pronouncement of judgment as the godless nations around them. God is no respecter of persons. He will use the same measure for every person who disregards His holy standards and breaks His laws.
Habakkuk recognised that God had His answer to the problem of evil, but only for His own people but for all the nations of the earth. Although people refuse to acknowledge Him and choose to worship their own gods and set up their own standards, God does not absolve anyone from accountability to Him. His word is not only for believers but for everyone because all are answerable to Him as their Creator, and the Creator of the universe.
Two verses in this prophecy stand out as universal and timeless truths. They shine as beacon lights in the darkness of a rebellious, evil and corrupt society. It would be well for the world of people who ignore God, side-line Him and treat Him as irrelevant, to wake up to the truth that God will not be treated as an intrusion because:-
Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God (Rom. 14: 12).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5; 10).
What was God’s response to the arrogance of humans who think that whatever they have achieved, even if through wickedness, is impressive? Even the best that human beings have done will be judged worthless in God’s time.
Has not the Lord determined that the people’s labour is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2: 13-14).
People choose to reject God and worship whatever they have made for themselves, be it some image they have created and tried to bring to life as a substitute for Him, or their achievements or work of their hands. However noble or great they may think they are or what they have done, when they stand before God in the light of His indescribable glory, they will have nothing to say.
The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him (Hab. 2: 20).
This is God’s response to the blustering defense of every human being: “Just shut up and realise who God is!” Whatever excuses men may offer, whatever defenae they may have against the irrefutable truth of God’s presence and glory, everyone and everything will be silenced in His presence
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God (Rom. 3: 19).
No one must ever think that, because he or she does not acknowledge God, they will not need to have anything to do with Him. Like it or not, they will be judged. Like it or not, they will receive what they wanted. If they want nothing to do with Him, they will be shut out of His presence and everything that He is to endure for the rest of eternity the darkness they thought so enjoyed in this present life.
Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows (Gal. 6:7).
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.