“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness! You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the LORD’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory! The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.” (Habakkuk 2:15-17)
The LORD revealed to Habakkuk a series of woes which the prophet was not only to receive but also prophesy to the people. The “five woes” is structured in five stanzas with three verses contained in each stanza. Today’s text contains the fourth stanza, which was God’s fourth announcement of woe upon the Babylonians. Each woe contained a particular sin for which God judged the Chaldeans as guilty. The first sin was extortion. The second sin was exploitation. The third sin condemned Babylon for being bloodthirsty killers and despots. The fourth sin was debauchery.
Debauchery is a word which is not used very often in today’s culture. It is defined as wickedness, depravity, decadence and wanton immorality. While the word debauchery may not be common in today’s world, the meaning of the word and corresponding behavior certainty is. In many ways, the world today is filled with debauchery.
So also was the world in the 7th century B.C. Babylon, and Judea, was filled with immorality and depravity. This was Habakkuk’s initial complaint to God about Judah. It was also what riled the prophet when God informed him that He would use Babylon in order to punish Judah’s depravity because Babylon was more depraved that Judah.
Babylon’s depravity involved poisoning and forcibly intoxicating other nations in order for them to become easy prey. How ironic that this is exactly what led to Babylon’s fall in Daniel 5. God said that, ““Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness! You will have your fill of shame instead of glory” (Habakkuk 2:15).
The image of the cup, a common image in the drinking of wine and intoxicants, also represents the wrath and judgment of God (Luke 22:39-46). God would pour out His wrath upon the Babylonians in judgment for them pouring out their wrath upon other nations. The shame and violence done to others would be done to them.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Carrying out the metaphor of drunkenness, here is a reference to the humiliation of “shameful spewing.” The very thing in which they gloried would become the object of their shame. While the Lord’s glory would be “as the waters cover the sea” (v. 14), Babylon’s glory would be covered with shame.”
So too will this happen to all who refuse to repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. All sinners will receive the shameful punishment of their own sin, instead of trusting in Jesus Christ who bore our shame upon His body on the cross (Hebrews 12:1-2) and receiving His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:1-9).
If you have not responded to the message of the gospel, I encourage you to do so today. Repent of your sin and receive Jesus Christ’s righteousness, in exchange of your sinfulness, on the basis to grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Christ alone.
May the LORD’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!