Habakkuk 2:9 Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!
10 Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul.
11 For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
This second woe is also against Babylon. God showed Habakkuk that He knew exactly what He was doing. Judah had been given the law. They had true prophets who proclaimed the Word of the LORD over and over again. There were a few true priests who also taught the law. Judah had ignored all of that and had chosen to invite false gods into their midst. Some kings had tried to clean house, but others had reversed the clean up and dabbled with the paganism of the nations around them.
God was not pleased with this corruption. He had been merciful over the years. Due to the rebellious nature of the king and the people, God promised to increase the level of judgment. The impact of having Jerusalem invaded and the Temple plundered along with people killed and others taken captive, would hit them quite hard. They needed to sit up and take notice of what was going on. We know from the Bible, that the Jews were slow learners. They still are today. They still don’t understand the need to repent and trust in the true God alone. Israel is still trying to make deals with the enemies of God. They are still trying to find human allies to help them. They have never needed human allies. All they have ever needed is to submit to God and follow Him. God does not need an army. He is an army all by Himself. He proved that many times in the Bible. He has never changed.
Gentiles are not better than the Jews. We too have rejected the true God, for the most part. God set aside the nation of Israel when they rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah. True born again Christians, who should make up the membership in a true local church, have been grafted into the root of Israel. God does not teach “replacement theology”. He is not finished with Israel. True Christians need to take note of God’s holiness and submit to Him. Many “churches” are in trouble with God. Many are just social clubs. Others have forsaken God and have taken a path of compromise. This is never a good choice.
In verse 9 God warned those who would covet the wealth of other nations to enrich their own house. Babylon was guilty of this. They had invaded other nations beside Judah. They had taken the spoil to enrich themselves. They had taken from others without any consideration for life and personal property. They just wanted it all for themselves.
In verse 10 we see that Babylon had been so selfish and greedy that they had counselled shame upon their own house. They assumed they had things they could brag about, but what they had was gained by unjust means. It was not that they had worked so hard and traded with other countries to gain their wealth. They had stolen that wealth from other nations. The ways of a thief will always come back on them. It may take some time. They may die with their secrets, but death is not the end of it all. Death ushers the person into eternity. For the ungodly, that eternity is in hell and then in the lake of fire.
God said they had sinned against their own soul. The Babylonians knew better than what they were doing. We see again that every person has a conscience. They know the basic difference between right and wrong. Children prove that very quickly. They lie and they will either turn red in the face when doing so or they will look away when confronted. They will fidget and try to cover up for their lie with another lie. They are sinning against their own soul.
This is what Babylon was guilty of. They had plundered other nations and taken the wealth from them. They had killed many people who were no worse than they were. They had taken captives and forced them into labour for them with little reward.
We know that Nebuchadnezzar would soon be looking at all that he had in Babylon and he would be thinking of how good he was. We also know that God would directly confront him and turn his nature into that of a wild beast. This would have been quite humiliating for the king. He would remain in that state for seven years. He could not hide this. For seven years he was not on his throne. He never appeared in public to give a speech. We do not know how many of the people of Babylon knew about his shocking change at the hands of God. At the end of that seven years he was finally humbled. He came to understand something very important about God. He was not the great man he assumed that he was. He was nothing. God could change his nature in a moment. No one would be praising him for anything during those seven years. Life would go on in Babylon without his input. The nation did not need him. He was their king, but they did not need him.
It is important for each person to know just how insignificant we really are. It is God that must be elevated. It is God that made us.
Psalm 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
In the above verse God was reminding Israel that the LORD is God. They needed to be reminded that He made them. This is important for all people to understand. Instead of getting a fat head and popping the buttons on our shirts, we need to understand that any worthy abilities we have are a gift from God. Yes, we need to study and learn things. However the ability to study and to learn things comes from God.
In verse 11 God reminded Habakkuk and those who would read these words that even the stones would cry out against Babylon. In Daniel 3 Nebuchadnezzar had a 90’ tall golden idol made. He demanded that all people bow before that idol when his musicians would sound with their instruments. The sound of the music was the command for the people to bow before this image.
In our text, the stones and the beams would cry out in condemnation of Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance. They would not be shouting good things. They would be condemning him for his selfishness and his cruelty.
Nebuchadnezzar wanted to be able to observe the many wonders of Babylon and feel good about himself. God said that would not be the case. His pride would be short lived. He and his nation would fall with a huge crash. We know that happened. God is able to bless a people. He is also able to debase a people.
God has given us His Word. We can learn of His greatness through His Word. We can know that anything good we can accomplish can only come after we are saved. Jesus reminded the disciples:
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
We need God to give us life first of all. Then we need to humbly submit to God and serve Him faithfully. His blessing is for those who know Him and serve Him faithfully.