WOE TO HIM!

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 2:6-20

“Shall not all these take their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddle for him, and say, ‘Woe to him…” (Habakkuk 2:6)

This is a heavy and troublesome section of Habakkuk’s prophecy. God pronounces His judgments against the Babylonians. These judgments consist of five “woe oracles.” Woe oracles are generally composed of two parts: a declaration of the wrong and a pronouncement of impending judgment. These woe articles describe the reasons the Babylonians deserve their coming punishment.

“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own — for how long? — and loads himself with pledges” (v. 6b). The Chaldeans were condemned for their excessive greed. They had insatiable ambitions and hoarded things that were not theirs. They abused others by taking their possessions against their will and making them debtors

“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm” (v. 9). The Babylonians were condemned for relying on treasures and wealth for protection. Like the eagle that builds its nest in inaccessible places, the Chaldeans attempted to build a city that was considered invincible. The stones that were used to build the city of Babylon were plundered from other nations or purchased with plundered goods. Thus, they served as a witness against the Babylonians.

“Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity” (v. 12). The Babylonians were condemned for their violence and injustice. The Lord of hosts controls man’s destiny and will punish injustice.

“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink — you pour out your wrath and make them drunk in order to gaze at their nakedness” (v. 15). The Chaldeans were condemned for abusing their neighbors. They took advantage of weak people. However, they themselves will experience the same shame and embarrassment they inflicted upon others.

“Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake, to a silent stone, Arise!” (v. 19). The Chaldeans were condemned for their idolatry. “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a mental image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols” (v. 18).

The bottom line is — God will judge the wickedness, violence, injustice idolatry and abuses that people inflict upon others. God will not leave the guilty unpunished! There is a Day of Judgment coming and no one can escape it. Therefore, we must be ready for it.

O Righteous Judge, it is comforting to know that You see the violence and injustice that is all around us. I know that a day is coming in which You will judge all mankind. How thankful I am for Jesus who took the punishment I rightly deserve and freed me from the guilt of my sins. Because of Him, I have nothing to fear in the judgment to come.

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