Habakkuk 2-3

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15 August, 2021Jethro BuxtonHabakkuk

Join us as Jethro shares with us a message from the second and third chapters of the book of Habakkuk.

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.

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 labour 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 neighbours,

    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 round 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.


A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet.

Lord, I have heard of your fame;

    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.

Repeat them in our day,

    in our time make them known;

    in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman,

    the Holy One from Mount Paran.

His glory covered the heavens

    and his praise filled the earth.

His splendour was like the sunrise;

    rays flashed from his hand,

    where his power was hidden.

Plague went before him;

    pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth;

    he looked, and made the nations tremble.

The ancient mountains crumbled

    and the age-old hills collapsed –

    but he marches on for ever.

I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,

    the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?

    Was your wrath against the streams?

Did you rage against the sea

    when you rode your horses

    and your chariots to victory?

You uncovered your bow,

    you called for many arrows.

You split the earth with rivers;

10     the mountains saw you and writhed.

Torrents of water swept by;

    the deep roared

    and lifted its waves on high.

11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens

    at the glint of your flying arrows,

    at the lightning of your flashing spear.

12 In wrath you strode through the earth

    and in anger you threshed the nations.

13 You came out to deliver your people,

    to save your anointed one.

You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,

    you stripped him from head to foot.

14 With his own spear you pierced his head

    when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,

gloating as though about to devour

    the wretched who were in hiding.

15 You trampled the sea with your horses,

    churning the great waters.

16 I heard and my heart pounded,

    my lips quivered at the sound;

decay crept into my bones,

    and my legs trembled.

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity

    to come on the nation invading us.

17 Though the fig-tree does not bud

    and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

    and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the sheepfold

    and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

    I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

    he enables me to tread on the heights.

This week's Questions for Reflection are:

  1. How has Habakkuk challenged and informed your understanding of God's justice?
  2. How well do you go maintaining your faith when God doesn't answer the way you want? What could you do differently? What does Habakkuk do?
  3. How has God spoken to you through Habakkuk?