(Part 16 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)
We have been talking about how Babylon lost it all by following man’s way rather than God’s way. Man’s way is to gain the whole world and lose your soul. God’s way is to lose your life for Christ in order that you may find it. Lose it all for him, and God will restore your soul.
You lose your life for Christ by serving God instead of serving yourself. Let’s look at five specific ways to follow God’s way instead of man’s way. These five ways correspond to the five woes from the taunt song we just looked at in Habakkuk 2:6-20 – theft, injustice, violence, exploitation, and idolatry.
- You serve God instead of self by giving rather than stealing: Ephesians 4:28: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
- You serve God instead of self by practicing integrity rather than injustice: Proverbs 10:9: “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”
- You serve God instead of self by acting with compassion rather than violence: Philippians 2:1-3: “If you have any . . . tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love . . . . Do nothing out of selfish ambition . . . but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
- You serve God instead of self by serving others rather than exploiting them: Matthew 20:25-28: Jesus . . . said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them . . . Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- You serve God instead of self by worshiping the living God rather than idols: 1 Thessalonians 1:9: “They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
Habakkuk wondered if God would judge the Babylonians for their sin. He wondered, “Is God fair?” Here in chapter 2 God shared with Habakkuk the certain judgment that would fall upon the Babylonians for their sin. Babylon would lose it all, because Babylon was seeking to build an empire for itself rather than seeking to serve God.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)
The people of the world clamor and strive for wealth, security, power, and pleasure. They trust in idols of their own making rather than in God. But “their labor is only fuel for the fire … they exhaust themselves for nothing … The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:13,20)
(Looking ahead: Next week we will look at Habakkuk’s third and final question, “Is God there?” found in chapter 3.)
Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.