Things will not always be this way

Habakkuk is struggling to understand what is going on in his world. He feels that he’s crying out to God for help and not getting any answers. Not any answers that he can make sense of, anyway. God has revealed to him that He is going to raise up the Babylonians, the most powerful, evil enemy of God’s people, to bring about His purposes. Habakkuk cannot get his head around that at all.

And so he waits. Waits for God to answer his complaint.

When God does give Habakkuk a revelation, He asks that he writes it down, so that however long it takes to come about, there it will be in writing for all to see that God foretold it at this time.

Because things will not always be this way.

That’s the message here.

Things will not always be this way.

Wait and see.

Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.  Habakkuk 2:3

Take a good look at the enemy. See how puffed up with his own self-importance he is. See his desires are not good and right. He’s the worse for wear with too much wine. He’s arrogant. He doesn’t know what rest is. He’s so greedy that he is never satisfied. Nothing and no one is enough for him. He wants it all.

But wait for it. It will not always be this way.

One day, this enemy will be ridiculed and scorned. God has five warnings for people like these that Habakkuk chants in a way that will never be forgotten by the people.

  • Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion!  (2:6)
  • Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain. (2:9)
  • Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice! (2:12)
  • Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbours, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies! (2:15)
  • Woe to him who says to wood, “Come to life!” or to lifeless stone, “Wake up!”  (2:19)

Warnings for people like these. Not just the Babylonians at that time in that place, but people like these at any time in any place.

Things will not always be this way.

One day, those who have been exploited will be raised up and turn against their cruel bosses.

Because you have plundered many nations,
the peoples who are left will plunder you.  (2:8)

Where these evildoers have plotted the ruin of others for their own gain, the very stones and woodwork of the homes they have built will cry out at this injustice. All that they have done and worked for and built up is futile. For nothing.

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (2:14)

This is the ultimate reality.

This is what will remain when all else has been destroyed.

There’s a certainty in this declaration. No question about it. No doubt. This is how it will be.

This is all there ever was and ever will be.

The knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

This is what it has always been all about.

And so those who have got others drunk so that they can exploit and abuse them, the time will come where their glory will turn to shame. They will be exposed for who they are and what they have done.

And as for other gods, how can something created by human hands be worth worshipping? These idols cannot speak for what is lifeless cannot come to life.

The one true God is not like that. Consider Him for a moment.

The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.  (2:20)

This is the ultimate reality.

When we actually focus on God – who He is and what He has done – we cannot fail to fall silent in awe and wonder.

This truth is what puts all the evil in the world into perspective.

We will never be able to understand God’s ways and God’s timings, but God will overcome. That is who He is. There’s no question about that.

If we could just learn to put aside wrestling with the hows and whens and whys and whats of it all and rest in the confidence that God knows what He’s doing, we can enter into a special kind of invincible peace as we learn what it is to live and love in the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

This is what faith is.

This is what it is to live faithfully.

See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright –
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness. (2:4)

We’ll take a good look at this verse tomorrow.

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