Habakkuk: “The righteous will live by faith”

Habakkuk: “The righteous will live by faith”

The sermon is based on Habakkuk 1-2 (CEB)

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

The prophet complains

Lord, how long will I call for help and you not listen?
        I cry out to you, “Violence!”
            but you don’t deliver us.
Why do you show me injustice and look at anguish
        so that devastation and violence are before me?
There is strife, and conflict abounds.
        The Instruction is ineffective.
            Justice does not endure
            because the wicked surround the righteous.
        Justice becomes warped.

The Lord responds

Look among the nations and watch!
        Be astonished and stare
            because something is happening in your days
                that you wouldn’t believe even if told.
I am about to rouse the Chaldeans,
        that bitter and impetuous nation,
            which travels throughout the earth to possess dwelling places it does not own.
The Chaldean is dreadful and fearful.
        He makes his own justice and dignity.[a]
His horses are faster than leopards;
        they are quicker than wolves of the evening.
    His horsemen charge forward;
        his horsemen come from far away.
            They fly in to devour, swiftly, like an eagle.[b]
They come for violence,
        the horde with all their faces set toward the desert.[c]
He takes captives like sand.
10     He makes fun of kings;
rulers are ridiculous to him.
        He laughs at every fortress,
            then he piles up dirt and takes it.
11 He passes through like the wind and invades;
        but he will be held guilty,
            the one whose strength is his god.

The prophet questions the Lord

12 Lord, aren’t you ancient, my God, my holy one?
Don’t let us die.[d]
Lord, you put the Chaldean here for judgment.
        Rock, you established him as a rebuke.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
        you are unable to look at disaster.
Why would you look at the treacherous
        or keep silent when the wicked swallows one who is more righteous?
14 You made humans like the fish of the sea,
        like creeping things with no one to rule over them.
15 The Chaldean brings all of them up with a fishhook.
        He drags them away with a net;
        he collects them in his fishing net,
            then he rejoices and celebrates.
16 Therefore, he sacrifices to his net;
        he burns incense to his fishing nets,
            because due to them his portion grows fat
                and his food becomes luxurious.
17 Should he continue to empty his net
        and continue to slay nations without sparing them?

I will take my post;
        I will position myself on the fortress.
        I will keep watch to see what the Lord says to me
        and how he[e] will respond to my complaint.

The Lord responds

Then the Lord answered me and said,

Write a vision, and make it plain upon a tablet
    so that a runner can read it.[f]
 There is still a vision for the appointed time;
            it testifies to the end;
                it does not deceive.[g]
    If it delays, wait for it;
        for it is surely coming; it will not be late.
Some people’s desires are truly audacious;[h]
            they don’t do the right thing.
        But the righteous person will live honestly.
Moreover, wine betrays an arrogant man.
        He doesn’t rest.
        He opens his jaws[i] like the grave;[j]
            like death, he is never satisfied.
He gathers all nations to himself
        and collects all peoples for himself.
Won’t everyone tell parables about him
        or mocking poems concerning him?

They will say:

Doom to the one who multiplies what doesn’t belong to him
    and who increases his own burden.
    How long?
Won’t they suddenly rise up to bite you?
        Those who frighten you will awaken;
            you will become plunder for them.
Since you yourself have plundered many nations,
        all the rest of the peoples will plunder you
            because of the human bloodshed
            and the violence done to the earth,
            to every village, and to all its inhabitants.

Doom to the one making evil gain for his own house,
        for putting his own nest up high,
        for delivering himself from the grasp of calamity.
10 You plan shame for your own house,
        cutting off many peoples
        and sinning against your own life.
11 A stone will cry out from a village wall,
        and a tree branch will respond.
12 Pity the one building a city with bloodshed
        and founding a village with injustice.
13 Look, isn’t this from the Lord of heavenly forces?
Peoples grow weary from making just enough fire;
        nations become tired for nothing.[k]
14 But the land will be full of the knowledge of the Lord’s glory,
        just as water covers the sea.

15 Doom to the one who makes his companions drunk,
        pouring out your wrath in order to see them naked.[l]
16 You have drunk your fill of dishonor rather than glory.
        So drink and stagger.[m]
The cup of the Lord’s strong hand will come around to you;
        disgrace will engulf you.
17 Because of the violence done to Lebanon, he will overwhelm you;
        the destruction of animals will terrify you,
        as will human bloodshed and violence throughout the land, the villages,
            and all their inhabitants.[n]

18 Of what value is an idol, when its potter carves it,
        or a cast image that has been shaped?
It is a teacher of lies,
        for the potter trusts the pottery, though it is incapable of speaking.
19 Doom to the one saying to the tree, “Wake up!”
        or “Get up” to the silent stone.
Does it teach?
Look, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
        but there is no breath within it.
20 But the Lord is in his holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before him.

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