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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Habakkuk 2

 

 

Introduction

Write The Vision Plainly

- Habakkuk Two -

The book of Habakkuk records several brief conversations between the prophet and God concerning the spiritual state of God"s people. Habakkuk learned that he must wait in faith for God"s judgment against the Chaldeans. Let us learn never to be impatient with God. He will deal with all things in His own time. Those that serve God faithfully will never be disappointed by the final outcome. The just shall by faith, holding on to the promises of the Creator, even though the performance of those promises may be deferred. Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted three times in the New Testament. It is in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38. Those that live by faith persevere to the end because of this strong relationship with the Creator. Habakkuk recognized the doom of those that rebel against God. Israel was led captive because of her personal sins. Now the Chaldeans would face their own punishment. They were filled with pride and drunkenness. They were a violent and dishonest nation. Their ill gotten wealth and their violence caused their spiritual journey to be slowed and the people to be dirty inside.

The Chaldean people had concern for getting wealth, saving it and spending it for selfish purposes. They gave no thought to others or to their accountability to God concerning their wealth. God"s law says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7) They failed to remember that what is gotten by violence from others is often taken away by violence by others. Covetousness and greed brings God"s curse upon us. What is gotten by fraud and injustice will bring poverty and ruin to us. When we wrong others we do much more harm to ourselves. At the close of Habakkuk two God again pronounced a severe woe against both drunkenness and against the folly of worshipping idols. Habakkuk wrote, "The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." (Habakkuk 2:20) Literally the message was, "Hush and listen to God."


Verses 1-11

Woe to those that are greedy and covetous -- Habakkuk 2:1-11 : After Habakkuk spoke his second message he said he would stand guard on the watchtower and wait for the Lord"s answer. He would stand boldly before God, hear God"s response to his complaint then he would answer again. Habakkuk was asking God "Where are you?" God answered by saying "I am here raising up a wicked nation to punish Judah." Habakkuk responded by asking, "How can you do that?" God told Habakkuk that He would use the wicked nation to punish His people but He would judge the Chaldeans also. God"s justice will come upon those wicked people as well. God is always fair in His dealings. It is not man"s place to question the Sovereign God of the universe!

God wanted what He had to say plainly understood. He told Habakkuk to "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." In other words He said; write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. The vision is this little book that we know as Habakkuk. The prophet"s concerned was that God delayed His judgment. God assured Habakkuk that in the end He would set the matter straight. Five times in Habakkuk two, God pronounced a "woe" upon those guilty of transgression. The first two woes had to do with greed and covetousness. "Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!" (Habakkuk 2:6) "Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house." (Habakkuk 2:9) Those that had made their families rich at the expense of others were doomed. "Woe" is a word of coming calamity. It seemed that these wicked people were winning, but they still had to face their judgment and the consequences of their own sins. If we ask, "Does your God punish evildoers?" Then the answer is a strong "Yes." God pronounced these woes upon the Chaldeans, because of their pride and their self-seeking ambitions.


Verses 12-14

Woe to those that are use violence -- Habakkuk 2:12-14 : The Chaldeans were doomed because they built their nation on violence and blood shed. They would conquer a nation, kill its people and take any possession they desired. They used violence to accomplish their own means. They terrorized other cities and nations with their brutality. A statement from Solomon in Proverbs 4:17 well describes the Chaldeans. "For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence." They would have done well to remember that "The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." (Psalms 11:5) To the Chaldeans God said, "You are doomed! You built a city on crime and violence." The All-powerful God sends up in flames what nations and people work so hard to gain, especially those things that were gained through wicked means. Those that are covetousness or the ones that are eager for worldly pursuits labor in the very fire. The labor for such things is all in vain when the Lord sends punishment upon them for a lack of godliness.

Habakkuk wrote, "Just as water fills the sea, the land will be filled with people who know and honor the LORD." The earth would see the destruction that God brought upon the powerful Chaldean nation. God would be honored as being impartial in His judgment and irresistible in His power. Job said that God would show His furious anger against all that are proud and evil. They would all be thrown down and crushed. (Job 40:11-12) One purpose of the gospel and the preaching of it is, "to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6) God created the world for His glory and in every situation God"s glory will be seen. It may not happen on man"s timetable, but rest assured that it will happen. Righteousness in all things is what accomplishes that which God had in mind when He created the world. 8


Verses 15-17

Woe to those that seek pleasure at the expense of others - Habakkuk 2:15-17 : God told the Chaldeans, "You are doomed! You get your friends drunk, just to see them naked. Now you will be disgraced instead of praised. The LORD will make you drunk, and when others see you naked, you will lose their respect. You destroyed trees and animals on Mount Lebanon; you were ruthless to towns and people everywhere. Now you will be terrorized." (Habakkuk 2:15-17) At a party these people would get their neighbor drunk so they could exploit and use them as objects of pleasure. Observe the vivid picture of the sins of (1) Drunkenness, (2) Sexual perversion, and (3) Immodesty.

Drunkenness was one of the major things that led to the fall of Babylon. In Daniel five we see one such drunken party. "Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man"s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king"s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." (Daniel 5:1-5) The message written on the wall for Belshazzar had three parts, (1) God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it, (2) Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting, and (3) Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:25-28) Drunkenness opens the doors for many other evils.


Verses 18-20

Woe to those that worship idols -- Habakkuk 2:18-20 : The Chaldeans were a pagan nation. They were deeply involved in idol worship. God again warned about the foolishness of idolatry. He said an idol is merely a false god. He asked the people why they would trust in speechless image that had been made from wood or metal by human hands. What could they learn from such idols? The idols were covered with silver or gold but they can not even breathe. God said, "Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach!" Pity anyone that says to an idol "Get up and do something!" There is but one true and living God. Idols are dead thing but Jehovah is the one true and living God. Jeremiah pictured the folly of idolatry by describing the actions of the people. First, they cut the tree out of the forest. They hew the idol with their hands. They deck it with silver and with gold. They fasten it with a nail so that it will not fall over. Their god can not speak. If it needs to be moved someone has to move it. Jeremiah"s conclusion was, "Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good." (Jeremiah 10:1-5)

The reality that all must grasp is, "The LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him." (Habakkuk 2:20) God"s message to Habakkuk and to us is basically, "Hush, and listen to God." "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth." (Psalms 96:11-13) God will exonerate Himself someday and people will know that He is God!

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Habakkuk 2:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/habakkuk-2.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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