Habakkuk 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.
17 For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
This is the fourth “woe” given in this chapter. God again addressed the matter of alcoholic drink here. Babylon was a pagan nation. God blessed them with four God-fearing men, but as we notice from the book of Daniel, God’s people do not force others to convert and believe the truth. False religion tries to force itself upon others. The truth stands true and is demonstrably better than the lies. Sadly we see in Babylon and elsewhere, that most people choose lies over truth. The truth has never been popular. Even Adam, who lived in a much different world than we do, chose to believe a lie over the truth.
In our text, God warned that any one who gives his neighbour alcoholic drink is under His judgment. This would include bars and restaurants and grocery stores and homeowners, etc. Any person who makes or pedals alcohol is under the wrath of God. There are people who claim to love Jesus, yet they serve alcohol. God says if you offer alcohol to your neighbour and thus make him drunk you are in trouble with Him.
God reminds us in the book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
If you want trouble, get into the liquor. If you want God’s blessing, stay away from the poison. You notice back in our text that drunkenness leads to immorality. There has been much immorality that was encouraged through the use of alcohol.
The first account of this is found in Genesis 9. Noah knew better but he chose to make alcoholic wine. He drank it and was drunk. He undressed and laid down in his tent. His son Ham, saw it and mocked his father. He told his brothers, Shem and Japheth what he had seen and done. They knew their father had done wrong, but they still showed respect for him and walked backward into his tent and covered up the nakedness of their father. Noah was no doubt embarrassed when he woke up from his drunkenness and also when he found out what his son had done. The account is there for all to read and heed.
We know that Belshazzar liked to drink. He had a drunken party in Daniel 5. He brazenly brought some of the Temple vessels that his father had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem into his drunken party. As he was making a bigger fool of himself, God interrupted him. God wrote a judgment on the wall of the palace, with His finger. Belshazzar did not know what it said and he became quite disturbed by what he saw. The queen mother told him who would know how to read that writing. Daniel was brought in and he told the king what the writing said. The king, being the fool that he was, honoured Daniel, but did not repent and trust in the true God. He died that very night.
We notice that as this king chose to throw his drunken party, Daniel and his three friends were not there. They knew better. You cannot be a witness by attending a drunken party. You can have something to say by not being there and being available to address the ungodliness at the appropriate time.
In our text, in verse 16, God stated that the king of Babylon and his people were filled with shame for glory. Drunkards think they are having such a good time. They invite others to join them in their foolishness. They do not realize they are a shame to others. I heard of a person boasting of how his girls were willing to go and get him and his friend each a beer. His friend commented on how wiling to serve his friend’s girls were. That father is a shame and is teaching his girls shameful behaviour. God has taken note of it. Unless salvation comes to that house, that deed and all others are written in a book and it will all be revealed at the great white throne judgment.
Verse 16 of our text uses further descriptive language to show what alcohol does to the person involved in it. Verse 17 adds to the judgment that God will bring upon Babylon. Babylon would invade Lebanon yet and spoil them. However, eventually the viciousness of Babylon would come back to bite them. As we have mentioned the Medes and the Persians would invade and conquer that nation and plunder the city of Babylon and kill the king. The empire would fall and be swallowed up by the next ungodly empire.
In verse 18 the question of idolatry is raised. Idolatry and drunkenness fit together. Man has to make the idol. If man has to make the idol, what profit can there be in it? The Catholics have many images of “Mary” and even some of “Jesus”. They have other idols as well. Their Mary and their Jesus are not the ones of the Bible. They are just figments of their imaginations. They bring sacrifices to those idols and they bow before them, but they find no help in them. They feel good about themselves because they have seared their consciences and they assume they are blessed. Most of them are not interested in hearing the truth. They want to make excuses for what they do and they often take offence to the truth.
God says these images are teachers of lies. The maker of the work puts his trust in this lie. God goes so far as to call it a dumb idol. The idol cannot speak. It can never utter a sound. It is man’s imagination that credits the idol with anything. The person who trusts in idols proves the vanity of his heart.
The true God is here. He has given us His Word. He has spoken and He is still speaking through His Word. He is acting as well in every generation. He is speaking now through the wild fires and the violent storms being experienced. He is also speaking through true churches. He is reminding all people that He is in charge. No man will ever appease God with any kind of sacrifice. As the Psalmist was directed to write:
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
God commanded Habakkuk to write this book to remind him and all those who would read this book of the need to know the true God. Rather than think we can judge God, we need to submit to Him and understand that He is much wiser than we ever will be. His ways are just and right. Trust Him and be blessed.