Habakkuk 2

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Editor's Note

We’re also going to take a brief pause from our summer books (1 & 2 Chronicles) to read from some of the minor prophets that are either directly mentioned in 1 & 2 Chronicles or that lived and prophesied within the time frames of those books. 

These short prophetical books help us understand what God’s people would have been hearing (and feeling) as they lived through some tumultuous times and help add color to the historical books we’re reading over the next couple of months! 

Read Habakkuk 2

I will stand at my watch
    and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
    and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
    and make it plain on tablets
    so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it will certainly come
    and will not delay.

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples.

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

12 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
    and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
    that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
    that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors,
    pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,
    so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
    Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed!
The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,
    and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
    and your destruction of animals will terrify you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
    Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
    he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
    Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
    It is covered with gold and silver;
    there is no breath in it.”

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

Go Deeper

There is no future for the wicked. 

As we survey the world today, this promise can be hard to believe. Everywhere we look, the world celebrates the proud. The greedy accumulate wealth and luxuries. The violent wreak havoc on cities without consequence. The drunkards appear to experience more fun and pleasure than we do. The idolatrous seem to have all the answers. 

Scripture is clear that those who defy God will be judged, and whenever that day comes, they will be brought low before Him. Everyone who appears to gain from their wickedness will receive their due, in this life or the next.  

Habakkuk 2 is one of the many passages where God explicitly makes this  promise. It opens with Habakkuk receiving a word from the Lord about the coming Babylonian conquest of Judah. He is instructed to send the warning to all the earth and trust that no matter how long it takes, the promise “speaks of the end and will not prove false” (v. 3).   

The chapter categorizes five types of people (and nations) who will ultimately face God’s judgment: the proud, the greedy, the violent, the drunken, and the idolatrous. Line by line, God lays out the fate of those who defy Him and His ways. Amazingly, these same words apply to our modern world just as they applied to ancient Israel.

Sins such as drunkenness, extortion, greed, and violence easily translate to the modern world. We can comprehend how wealthy people exploit the poor and how arrogant people acquire power. The description of idolatry isn’t far from our modern understanding either. Maybe we don’t ask carved images to come alive, but we do have technology devices covered in gold and silver. They have no breath, and yet we ask them to “wake up” and give us guidance. While we may be tempted to accuse other nations or other people of sin, let’s not rush past where God’s warnings apply directly to us.    


  1. Verses 4-8 are about Babylon’s pride, while verses 9-19 are about Israel’s sin. Why does God allow Babylon to conquer Israel? 
  2. Of the five types of wickedness represented in Habakkuk 2 (pride, greed, violence, drunkenness, idolatry), which applies most to you? What can you apply from this passage? 
  3. How does this chapter end, and why is it significant?

By the Way

Habakkuk 2:4 reads, “The just shall live by his faith” (KJV). Paul references this same phrase in his letter to Romans when he talks about how both Jews and Gentiles can find salvation through Christ. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, KJV).

Paul encourages the people that while God’s wrath will come upon those who are wicked and godless, His grace allows anyone who has faith in Jesus to experience His righteousness and to live. All sinners who put their faith in Jesus are justified by God! God is calling us to put our faith in Him because He is gracious to sinners and longs for us to be free from sin that deceives and destroys.  

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3 thoughts on “Habakkuk 2”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    It’s easy to become discouraged as we live in this broken world and see evil celebrated around us. It’s particularly hard to witness the attack on those most vulnerable, innocent children. I’ve never witnessed anything like it in my lifetime. V3 offers hope as God will surely have the final say: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it, it will certainly come and will not delay.” Waiting stretches us. As we fix our eyes on Jesus he sanctifies and grows our faith; what he promised will surely prevail in his time. The lyrics of You’ve Already Won
    are perfect place to land as we wait:
    There’s peace that outlasts darkness
    Hope that’s in the blood
    There’s future grace that’s mine today
    That Jesus Christ has won
    So I can face tomorrow
    For tomorrow’s in Your hands
    All I need, you will provide
    Just like you always have

    And I’m fighting a battle
    You’ve already won
    No matter what comes my way
    I will overcome
    Don’t know what you’re doing
    But I know what you’ve done
    And I’m fighting a battle
    You’ve already won

  2. The final verse had great impact on me this morning in light of the book The Awe of God we have been collectively reading.

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

    Think of the awe that will be in store for all the earth when we are face to face with our holy God. We will be struck silent by his awe. That will certainly cause fear and trembling.

    Because of that awe, I pray that my priority of the day is to please God and I pray that for you as well. Amen!

  3. Verse 1 starts out with standing in the watch tower, waiting. That for me is not a fun word. BUT GOD has purpose for those waits. BE STILL, He says, let me help you understand your purpose better. LOVE, put on those love goggles, see people not as you see them but as I, God, see them. Speak is the now the plan. This life is but a vapor, there is sooooooo much more to eternity than this. This life is a learning and growing for the next. God will have His way, I want to be able to wait, listen, do, and share what God is. He has already won, we just have to know and do our part to finish the battle out.

    God I give you praise, honor, glory, outpouring of my love, reverence, awe, gratitude, faithfulness and joy in all that I can see You doing in my life. God thank You sounds like not enough but I am so incredibly grateful and blessed. God give me the wisdom of when and who I need to speak to for Your glory. Guide me on how to love and see people through Your eyes. God I just want to praise You for this day!!! in Jesus name amen

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