Habakkuk 2:4-20

REVIEW: Habakkuk has complained to God twice about evil people. He climbs the tower and waits for God's answer.

Habakkuk 2:4 (NLT), “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. 5 Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples. 6 But soon their captives will taunt them. They will mock them…”

Habakkuk’s Five Woes (a taunting song):

Woe to the greedy (v. 6-8) Woe to the unjust (v. 9-11) Woe to the violent (v. 12-14) Woe to the seducers (v. 15-17) Woe to the idolaters (v. 18-20)

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV), “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

God's answer to Habakkuk is that evil will not win!

  1. Woe to the greedy (v. 6-8)

Habakkuk 2:6b (NLT), “What sorrow awaits you thieves! Now you will get what you deserve! You’ve become rich by extortion, but how much longer can this go on? 7 Suddenly, your debtors will take action. They will turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, now all the survivors will plunder you. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence.”

1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT), “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”

Ephesians 4:28, “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.”

  1. Woe to the unjust (v. 9-11)

Habakkuk 2:9 (NLT), “What sorrow awaits you who build big houses with money gained dishonestly! You believe your wealth will buy security, putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger. 10 But by the murders you committed, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11 The very stones in the walls cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint.”

  1. Woe to the violent (v. 12-14)

Habakkuk 2:12 (NLT), “What sorrow awaits you who build cities with money gained through murder and corruption! 13 Has not the Lord of Heaven’s Armies promised that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes? They work so hard, but all in vain!”

  1. Woe to the seducers (v. 15-17)

Habakkuk 2:15 (NLT), “What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk! You force your cup on them so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness. 6 But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced. Come, drink and be exposed! Drink from the cup of the Lord’s judgment, and all your glory will be turned to shame. 17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon. Now you will be cut down. You destroyed the wild animals, so now their terror will be yours. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence.”

  1. Woe to the idolaters (v. 18-20)

Habakkuk 2:18 (NLT), “What good is an idol carved by man, or a cast image that deceives you? How foolish to trust in your own creation— a god that can’t even talk! 19 What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols, ‘Wake up and save us!’ To speechless stone images you say, ‘Rise up and teach us!’ Can an idol tell you what to do? They may be overlaid with gold and silver, but they are lifeless inside. 20 But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”


Habakkuk's five woes are summarized in Isaiah's woe.

Isaiah 5:20 (NASB), “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

Why all the woes?

  1. To warn the proud of God's coming judgement.
  2. To encourage the faithful that God wins in the end

Habakkuk 2:14 (NLT), “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.”

What ever happened to Babylon? Were these woes fulfilled? Yes!

The King saw the writing on the wall! The Persian army defeated Babylon in one night!

Daniel 5:6 (NASB), “Then the king’s face became pale and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints loosened and his knees began knocking together.”