Summary: Exposition of Habakkuk 2:6-20
Text: Habakkuk 2:6-20 Title: Taunts from the Captives Date/Place: LSCC, 8/27/06, PM
A. Opening illustration: We are the beavers, mighty mighty beavers…
B. Background to passage: This is the second answer of God to the prophet’s complaint about the lack of action on God’s part to punish all the iniquity in the land; and the further astonishment at His methodology. After promising that this vision would come to pass and admonishing them to faithfully wait upon, God warns the “puffed up” that they would not go unpunished. He says that the surviving captives of the nations that the Babylonians pillaged and captured would taunt them with prophetic utterances regarding their just and soon coming accountability and punishment from God. These come in the form of a “woe” or lament.
C. Main thought: Our text gives us five woes that the captives would speak to the Babylonians
A. Woe to you who steal (v. 6-8)
1. These woes are pretty straightforward on their respective topics. The first says that those who gain wealth in an unjust manner will have their reward. People who gain their wealth or empires by unjust means will be held accountable by God. This passage says that those that they have taken advantage of will rise up and rebel against them. It is similar to the “what goes around comes around” adage.
2. Pro 22:16, James 5:1-4, 1 Tim 6:10, Eph 4:28,
3. Illustration: In the movie A Bug’s Life, these grasshoppers make these ants gather all their food for them in exchange for protection. And they squash any rebellion quickly because the ants don’t know that they outnumber the grasshoppers 100 to 1, U.S. bank robberies, 1990: 5,942, in 1934 (John Dillinger’s era): 86; average take for 1990 bank robbery: $2,000 to $3,000
4. Most of you don’t break into people’s houses and take things. But let’s think of some places that stealing is commonly justified in our minds or practiced outright in our society. Gambling. Doing shoddy work. Not respecting the employer’s time constraints. Taking things from work. Using long-distance calls from work. Being deceitful in business transactions. Embezzlement. Overcharging (Luke 19:8). Corporate fraud. Copyright laws. Extortion. Blackmail. Adultery. Fornication. The biblical instruction to you if you have done these things is that you will pay for it, so repent, forsake, and restore.
B. Woe to you who covet (v. 9-11)
1. The second woe is directed against those who don’t actually do all these things, but who want to. This is about wanting things that are not yours to the point of wishing others did not have them. This is not a spur of the moment sinful thought, this is an active train of thought, or a consuming thought, or a pleasurable thought, or a constant desire. God says that when your mind is swayed by covetous desires, you will give bad counsel to others, and ruin your own household. You can see how this would work in a large pagan government even more.
2. Ex 20:17, Ps 10:3-4, Phil 4:11, 1 Tim 6:6, Heb 13:5,
3. Illustration: If I am an atheist in my heart, making myself sovereign in place of God, and therefore arranging thing in accordance with my appetites and needs and fantasies, I become a pirate in society. I relentlessly look for ways in which I can get what is there for my own uses with no regard for what anyone else gets. Then I noticed a hole in the circle of the poison. Some of the poison was moving the opposite way--away from the hill. Some smaller, non-stinging ants had found this "food" and were stealing it from their ant neighbors. Thinking they were getting the other ants’ treasure, they unwittingly poisoned themselves. When we see someone with more than we have, we must beware. The hunger to beg, borrow, or steal our way into what is theirs may poison us spiritually.
4. Again let’s think about times that we do this or society excuses it. Pornography. Gambling. Materialism in our society is rampant. We live at the hilt of our incomes. We are always discussing what we are going to do on our house next, or the kind of vehicle that we want next. This overflows into our time because we work too much, then forsake our families or our churches. Debt has an huge financial, emotional, and physical burden upon life. Biblically speaking, we must remember that all the earth, all our possessions are owned by God. And we must learn and practice contentment. And we must maintain self-discipline and self-control.
C. Woe to you who murder (v. 12-14)
1. The third woe is toward those who kill others in the building of their kingdoms. The Babylonians were fierce and wicked people. They were ruthless to nations that they conquered, and to the captives which they brought home. God says that He will allow the nations to store up wrath for themselves with each life lost. Within this woe is a powerful reminder that God is large and in charge. It looks forward to a day were the knowledge of the glory of God will cover the earth as the waters do the sea. And it will happen!