Following a lament in chapter one, The LORD responds to Habakkuk as he asks the age old question: “How can God be good when He allows so much evil?”
In chapter two, the LORD brings five woes to evil rulers. He is watching and He is bringing justice to these atrocities:
- Becoming wealthy off charging poor people interest on loans (2:6-8)
- Building a personal empire at the expense of others (2:9-11)
- Building with violence, AKA slave labor (2:12)
- Drunken exploitation (2:15-16)
- Idolatry (2:18-19)
Habakkuk sees and remembers the justice of the LORD and how He has brought deliverance before. He will do it again. He is comforted to know the LORD sees and wicked men will not get away with murder forever.
When we see evil winning, that discouragement can lead us to joining in on evil. What does it mean for “the righteous to live by faith?” (2:4) It is an ongoing trust in the LORD, and a choice to make decisions based on a fear of Him over a fear of man. It is humility toward Him instead of pride.
In contrast, by faith, we put the interest of others above our own. What a powerful weapon against the 5 sins facing woes! Choosing love over selfishness is an act of faith, along with praising the LORD, even when everything looks terrible. This is how Habakkuk finishes chapter three:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The LORD GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.” (3:17-19)
No matter the atrocities we see in the world today, we can live by faith, building up others and loving selflessly. These actions have eternal endurance and honor our LORD. How can you put the interests of others above your own today?