Habakkuk 2:15-20

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 15, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies! You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory. The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:15-20)

For the past two weeks, we’ve been taking a look at the first three of the five “woe”s in Habakkuk. These are judgments that God is pronouncing on the Babylonian people, who He is going to send to punish the people of Israel. These “woe”s are a lesson to the Babylonians, to Israel, and to us today.

The fourth woe is in verses 15-17. The crime listed here is drunkenness, and more specifically the evil intention of wanting to humiliate others through drunkenness. Their evil motivation will cause them to have the same fate - they, too, will get humiliated. Again it is brought up that they have caused violence and shed blood, so the same will happen to them when they get judged by God.

The key thing for us to take away from this woe is the idea of motivation. God knows our hearts, and He knows if our intentions are pure or not for any given action. Doing a nice outward action isn’t enough; our intentions need to be good as well. For example, let’s say I make my husband’s favorite dinner for him. That seems like a nice gesture, right? If I make that dinner because I want to show love for my husband and allow him to experience a nice meal, that is a good intention. But if I’m making the meal because I want to manipulate him to do something for me that he may not want to do, or if I’m grumbling about how he isn’t cooking dinner that night and I have to instead, then I would still be outwardly doing the nice action but my motivation is all wrong. We need to keep our intentions pure, and ask God for forgiveness when they are not.

The fifth and final woe for the Babylonians is in verses 18-20. The crime here is creating and worshiping idols. While people who don’t know the one true God may see worth in these idols, in reality they are completely worthless and only cause people to be drawn away from God. The contrast here is that God is a living God, and He is in His temple. He’s not just some lifeless statue, but He rules over all of the earth.

Idolatry is one of those things we as humans so easily fall into, because it’s typically not as obvious as bowing down to a statue. Anything we put as higher priority in our life over God is idolatry. Jason DeZurik has been writing a series on this for this blog; I encourage you to check it out, starting with his first post here.

So, from today’s passage you have two things to consider: what is your motivation for doing what you do, and what are you worshiping? Are your intentions pure, and are you putting the one true God first in your life above all else? We all fall short in these areas, but if you remember these warnings to the Babylonians, you can at least recognize when your motivation isn’t where it should be or where you’re putting something else in front of God, and try to do better in the future.

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