THE CUP IN THE LORD’S RIGHT HAND

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 2:15-17

“You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory.” (Habakkuk 2:16)

We are looking at some of the nuggets of truth tucked away in the “Woe Oracles” of Habakkuk. The “Woe Oracles” are essentially statements of judgment. Today we look at one of the great images of God’s judgment found throughout Scripture — “The cup in the Lord’s right hand.”

Here in Habakkuk the cup is a symbol of divine retribution upon the Babylonians. God says that they would have their full share of shame instead of glory. The Babylonians had created the most powerful empire of its time. They had built a city that was considered invincible — the city of Babylon. Yet, the day was coming when their glory would turn into shame.

On a larger level, Babylon ultimately represents the world’s system that is opposed to God and to His people. You see the imagery worked out in the book of Revelation, which depicts the final judgment upon Babylon — “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit” (Revelation 18:1).

The imagery of the cup is found again in Revelation 14:10 — “He also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength with the cup of His anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” The cup symbolizes God’s wrath poured out upon guilty sinners.

Now let’s go to the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to Jesus’ arrest. Do you remember His prayer? “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus knew He had to partake of the cup of God’s wrath so that His people would never have to do so. What was said of Babylon in Habakkuk was experienced by Jesus on the cross — “The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory.”

Do you see it? Jesus partook of the cup for us; He experienced the shame that is rightly ours. This is the glorious message of the gospel — we have been set free from all our guilt and shame, and we will never have to partake of the cup in the Lord’s right hand.

Lord Jesus, thank You for drinking from the cup of God’s wrath for me. Thank You for taking my sins and failures upon Yourself and for paying the price I rightly owe a holy God. I cannot even begin to grasp the horror that You experienced so that I will never have to experience it myself. Your love and grace go beyond all measure.

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