07 Woes Proclaimed against Puffed-up and Proud People

Habakkuk 2 v 5-20

Verse 4 is the bridge to the rest of the chapter, namely that man is puffed up.

Chapter 2 is a hard chapter, in which He’s talking about the king of the Chaldeans, who drank wine all the time, and were proud people.

There are only two kinds of people – prideful and faithful. Proud people get intoxicated. God tells us in the New Testament not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We as Baptists believe in the Holy Spirit as much as any Charismatic or Pentecostal.
As Reformed Baptists we too need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Let Him permeate every fiber of your being, mind, motives, emotions, relationships, heart, every thought, or you will not make it.  You will not be able to stand at the Secure Post, won’t be in a Safe Place, won’t have a Spiritual Posture, won’t understand the Sovereign Perspective of the Lord’s Word, won’t understand the Soul’s Problem and the Salvation Principle that the just shall live by faith, unless you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Chapter 2 tells us what happens if you’re not filled with the Holy Spirit and rather become intoxicated with wine, so that you can puff up your little soul a little more. You become like the Chaldeans and what do we do? We become arrogant, and there’s nothing more ugly than arrogance.  We become greedy with greed a wide as hell. It’s like death that never has enough. It’s perpetual discontent – never satisfied, always wanting more, more, more!

Verse 5 says that the arrogant gathers for him all nations – walking all over other people and collecting as his own all peoples! This is what makes Marxism such an ugly, deplorable ideology. If you want to believe that nonsense, go find a little corner and knock yourself out, but stop wanting to push it unto everyone! You are proud like the Chaldeans, you’re intoxicated.

If you hang unto an ideology that contradicts God, you’re a proud person with a puffed up soul, you become like these people and you have a problem when you do, because the Lord pronounces five woes on the Chaldeans. He’s answering Habakkuk in this vision, telling him that He’s not going to let this go, but will deal with those whose souls are puffed up in themselves, been betrayed by wine, intoxicated with themselves, greedy, authoritarian and totalitarian.

From Habakkuk 2 verse 6 onwards, the Lord pronounces the five woes against the Chaldeans.

Listen, all with a puffed up soul – it is a terrible thing to have a puffed up soul!  Read what the Lord says in Habakkuk chapter 2. It’s a terrible indictment, a serious thing! We must love people enough to tell them. We must pluck them like brands from the fire and tell them to leave the pride and intoxication – to come and live by faith and be just, fight and subdue themselves.

We must not think that the woes only apply to the Chaldeans – it could easily also be applied to Judah at that time as well, and more than that – they apply to any world power or ruling class that has dominance and seeks to use that control to exploit, to intimidate and to steal from those that they rule over.  God will deal with people walking around with the puffed-up spirit inside of them and bring them to their knees.

God’s woes involve the following:

  1. Theft and Extortion (vv 6b-8)
    Babylon destroyed lands, cities, nations and people for the resources that they could gain. What Babylon, the world power of that time did, so have all world powers done throughout the ages, and it’s still goes on in our day and age.  Time moves on, but the unconverted human heart remains the same, everywhere on the planet. But as we read in the passage (verse 8) “Because you’ve plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you…”, in other words, the age old truth applies to any powers that operate this way: ‘you will reap what you sow’!  There’s only one exception to this rule, found in one place only. It’s the forgiveness that God provides in the Lord Jesus Christ, when He turns your heart and makes you live by faith and not by pride and intoxication, and fills you with His Spirit.
  2. Greed and Unjust Gain (vv 9-11)
    This is a woe against those who seek to feather their own nest by exploiting others, thinking that they would be so high that they would be beyond the reach of problems or ruin. The imagery is very vivid – that of an eagle that has built its nest so high that there’s no change of any predators getting to it. The Scripture tells us that those who were exploited will eventually rise against those feathering their own nest at the expense of others. This is what we see in our day as protests against corrupt regimes continue in many places.  Greed and unjust gain will not go unjudged. The same woe is announced in James 5:1-6. Revelation 6:15-16 tell us the same. It is God speaking!
  3. Violence (vv 12-14)
    It involves those who establish their kingdoms through violence, bloodshed and crime. That was the method of destruction that built Babylon – they became rich by warfare. If you stand back and look at the history of mankind you come to the conclusion that he must be insane the way that he has lived on this earth.  He actually is insane – insane with a sinful nature, so that He can’t even direct his path. From God’s view the nations exhausts themselves for nothing. The people’s labour will just go up in flame and come to naught.
    In contrast to that, there’s a far greater day mentioned here – a day when exploitation, violence and injustice are no more, when the whole earth is filled with the knowledge and glory of God.
  4. Drunkenness, Lust and Corrupting other People (vv 15-17)
    Specific sins mentioned are getting others drunk for the purpose of lust and sexual sins. Verse 17 gives another result from drunkenness: violence. Drunkenness always leads to other immorality, and society is filled with its corrupted fruit. In many ways drunkenness, lust, sexual sin and violence sum up where our society is at this time, prevalent on the television and on advertising boards – all round about us.
    For these sins God was going to judge Babylon. They were known for their drunken orgies and violence and were perverting other nations to be just like them. It was right in the midst of one these parties that God brought down the Babylonian empire (Daniel 5).
    Today these acts of immorality have spread all across the world. The internet is on the main a pornography cesspool. That’s how our society has sunk into the mire. When God comes to judge in the last days that judgement will be world-wide (Rev. 18:2-5).
  5. Idolatry (vv 18-20)
    In many ways idolatry is worse than the other sins mentioned in the series of woes, because it’s an abandoning of God to a false religion, trying to replace the irreplaceable with something that can never satisfy you. In the west at least, we may not have wooden idols carved by man, but we still have idols that we worship in the place of God – pleasure, wealth and materialism are common idols in the west. In fact, anything that dominates your life and takes the place of God is an idol, which is of no value at all. But it’s far easier to see the stupidity in having a wooden idol than it is a modern example. The result however is the same. False religion ends in deception and worthlessness.
    God is saying stop the idolatry, the running all over the place looking for the next thing to find pleasure, wealth or spiritual fulfillment – stop all the hustle and bustle in modern day life that separates you from God.
    Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

The woes contained in this chapter spelled difficult times for Habakkuk’s generation – even more so for the days leading up to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s going to get worse, beloved. You need to be strong and filled with the Holy Spirit, singing and making melody from your heart in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs.

Habakkuk thought that God was inactive and blind to the sins being committed in his day.  A lot of people also think that today.  We are so wrong when we think that, because we can see as the Lord lays out these five woes He outlines specific reasons for the coming judgement of both Judah and Babylon. As we see, His reasons apply just as well for the world today as they did 2500 years ago.

What do we do as the days ahead grow darker? The just shall live by faith – wait on the Lord, Stand at your Post, being at a Safe Place with a Spiritual Posture, waiting on the Lord to hear the Sovereign Perspective, to hear the vision and understand it, to understand that there are two kinds of people on this planet – those who live in pride, and those who live by faith.
If you live by pride you’re puffed-up, intoxicated, commit the same sins and become like these Babylonians and face the same woes that God pronounced upon them.   But if you live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you listen to Luke 21:28: “…when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
1 Thes. 1:10:  “…wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come.”