Habakkuk 2

1 What's God going to say to my questions? I'm braced for the worst. I'll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I'll wait to see what God says, how he'll answer my complaint.
2 And then God answered: "Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
3 This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming. It aches for the coming - it can hardly wait! And it doesn't lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time.
4 "Look at that man, bloated by self-importance - full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive.
5 "Note well: Money deceives. The arrogant rich don't last. They are more hungry for wealth than the grave is for cadavers. Like death, they always want more, but the 'more' they get is dead bodies. They are cemeteries filled with dead nations, graveyards filled with corpses.
6 Don't give people like this a second thought. Soon the whole world will be taunting them: "'Who do you think you are - getting rich by stealing and extortion? How long do you think you can get away with this?'
7 Indeed, how long before your victims wake up, stand up and make you the victim?
8 You've plundered nation after nation. Now you'll get a taste of your own medicine. All the survivors are out to plunder you, a payback for all your murders and massacres.
9 "Who do you think you are - recklessly grabbing and looting, Living it up, acting like king of the mountain, acting above it all, above trials and troubles?
10 You've engineered the ruin of your own house. In ruining others you've ruined yourself. You've undermined your foundations, rotted out your own soul.
11 The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you. The woodwork will step forward with evidence.
12 "Who do you think you are - building a town by murder, a city with crime?
13 Don't you know that God-of-the-Angel-Armies makes sure nothing comes of that but ashes, Makes sure the harder you work at that kind of thing, the less you are?
14 Meanwhile the earth fills up with awareness of God's glory as the waters cover the sea.
15 "Who do you think you are - inviting your neighbors to your drunken parties, Giving them too much to drink, roping them into your sexual orgies?
16 You thought you were having the time of your life. Wrong! It's a time of disgrace. All the time you were drinking, you were drinking from the cup of God's wrath.
17 You'll wake up holding your throbbing head, hung over - hung over from Lebanon violence, Hung over from animal massacres, hung over from murder and mayhem, From multiple violations of place and people.
18 "What's the use of a carved god so skillfully carved by its sculptor? What good is a fancy cast god when all it tells is lies? What sense does it make to be a pious god-maker who makes gods that can't even talk?
19 Who do you think you are - saying to a stick of wood, 'Wake up,' Or to a dumb stone, 'Get up'? Can they teach you anything about anything? There's nothing to them but surface. There's nothing on the inside.
20 "But oh! God is in his holy Temple! Quiet everyone - a holy silence. Listen!"

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Habakkuk must wait in faith. (1-4) Judgments upon the Chaldeans. (5-14) Also upon drunkenness and idolatry. (15-20)

Verses 1-4 When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God's word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God's all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.

Verses 5-14 The prophet reads the doom of all proud and oppressive powers that bear hard upon God's people. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are the entangling snares of men; and we find him that led Israel captive, himself led captive by each of these. No more of what we have is to be reckoned ours, than what we come honestly by. Riches are but clay, thick clay; what are gold and silver but white and yellow earth? Those who travel through thick clay, are hindered and dirtied in their journey; so are those who go through the world in the midst of abundance of wealth. And what fools are those that burden themselves with continual care about it; with a great deal of guilt in getting, saving, and spending it, and with a heavy account which they must give another day! They overload themselves with this thick clay, and so sink themselves down into destruction and perdition. See what will be the end hereof; what is gotten by violence from others, others shall take away by violence. Covetousness brings disquiet and uneasiness into a family; he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; what is worse, it brings the curse of God upon all the affairs of it. There is a lawful gain, which, by the blessing of God, may be a comfort to a house; but what is got by fraud and injustice, will bring poverty and ruin upon a family. Yet that is not the worst; Thou hast sinned against thine own soul, hast endangered it. Those who wrong their neighbours, do much greater wrong to their own souls. If the sinner thinks he has managed his frauds and violence with art and contrivance, the riches and possessions he heaped together will witness against him. There are not greater drudges in the world than those who are slaves to mere wordly pursuits. And what comes of it? They find themselves disappointed of it, and disappointed in it; they will own it is worse than vanity, it is vexation of spirit. By staining and sinking earthly glory, God manifests and magnifies his own glory, and fills the earth with the knowledge of it, as plentifully as waters cover the sea, which are deep, and spread far and wide.

Verses 15-20 A severe woe is pronounced against drunkenness; it is very fearful against all who are guilty of drunkenness at any time, and in any place, from the stately palace to the paltry ale-house. To give one drink who is in want, who is thirsty and poor, or a weary traveller, or ready to perish, is charity; but to give a neighbour drink, that he may expose himself, may disclose secret concerns, or be drawn into a bad bargain, or for any such purpose, this is wickedness. To be guilty of this sin, to take pleasure in it, is to do what we can towards the murder both of soul and body. There is woe to him, and punishment answering to the sin. The folly of worshipping idols is exposed. The Lord is in his holy temple in heaven, where we have access to him in the way he has appointed. May we welcome his salvation, and worship him in his earthly temples, through Christ Jesus, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HABAKKUK 2

This chapter contains an answer from the Lord to the expostulations, pleadings, and reasonings of the prophet, in the name of the people. The preparation of the prophet to receive this answer is described, Hab 2:1 then follows the answer itself, in which he is bid to write and make plain the vision he had, that it might be easily read, Hab 2:2 and a promise is made, that vision should still be continued to the appointed time, at which time the Messiah would come; and this the righteous man, in opposition to the vain and proud man, is encouraged to live in the faith of, Hab 2:3,4 and then the destruction of the enemies of the people of God is threatened for their pride, ambition, covetousness, oppression, and murder, Hab 2:5-12 which would be unavoidable, Hab 2:13 and issue in the spread of the knowledge of the glory of God in the world, Hab 2:14 and also the ruin of other enemies is threatened, for drawing men into apostasy, and for their violence and idolatry, Hab 2:15-19 upon which would follow an universal silence in the earth, Hab 2:20.

Habakkuk 2 Commentaries

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.