Let’s finish off chapter 1: Habakkuk 1:12-17
12: Note: In this verse there is a change. Babylon’s false gods (idols) are contrasted with the One True G-d – the G-d of Israel.
- From everlasting: There was never a time when G-d did not exist. He is forever – forever in the past, forever in the future. His Presence and nature are eternal. He existed long before the ancient times.
- My Holy One: This is a pledge of allegiance. Holiness is always connected to the purposes of G-d. The writer is affirming that because he sees G-d as holy, he will submit to the purposes of G-d. This is what G-d wants from His people.
- We shall not die: When we affirm G-d as Holy and as True, and when we desire and embrace His purpose for our lives, we are given life (eternal life).
- Appointed them for judgment: The message from the prophet is this: Although Jerusalem and the temple are going to be destroyed it is not going to be the end of the people of Israel. The people would go into exile, and they would suffer, but after seventy years G-d was going to restore them back to the land of Israel and was going to reaffirm His covenant purposes with them.
- Rock (צ֖וּר): Most of the time when this word is parallel to G-d, we are talking about the Rock of our salvation – Messiah Yeshua.
- Correction: Rebuke. They (the people of Israel) have been seen to be out of order and, through discipline, are going to be put back into the correct position.
v13: Pure: The fear of the L-rd, which is synonymous with His will, produces purity in our lives.
- Pure…from seeing evil: G-d is pure and does not like His eyes to gaze upon evil. He likes to see pure, holy, and righteous things.
- Look on (the workings of) wickedness: Foolish toil, the work of evil. Activity that is against the will of G-d.
- Why do You look on those who deal treacherously: The writer wants to know why G-d has cast His eyes upon the Babylonians in order to use them as instruments for His purposes (Jer 25:9, Jer 27:6, Jer 43:10). G-d did watch over the Babylonians to carry out His purposes, but they did not carry them out in obedience and in faithfulness to G-d. Nebuchadnezzar was not G-d’s servant intentionally. Nebuchadnezzar did what he wanted to do, but G-d used what Nebuchadnezzar did to fulfil His own purposes.
- Hold Your tongue…(Keep silent): G-d didnot do anything when the wicked destroyed those who would have seemed more righteous than themselves. Although G-d did not cause it to happen, He allowed it in order to show His displeasure toward Judah, as they were not behaving according to the Word, call or purposes of G-d. G-d disciplined them.
- Devours…Swallows up: Destroy.
v14: Make men like fish of the sea: He is primarily speaking of Judah. Judah were going to be like fish captured in a net. Fish do not think about or recognise the threat or danger of the fishnet and so they swim right into it and are trapped.
- Have no ruler: This put them in a very dangerous position – they were going to be captured.
v15: All of him (them): The people of G-d. This is written in the singular, although many Bibles translate it in the plural (i.e. them).
- Hook: This hook is something barbaric and brutal (Jer 16:16, Ez 38:4).
- Catch them in their net: Judah, the people of G-d, were going to be captured by the Babylonians – like fish caught by hooks and by nets.
- They rejoice…(He): Although this is written in the singular, we can understand it to mean ‘they’ (speaking of the Babylonians).
- Rejoice…are glad: The gladness and rejoicing of the Babylonians was going to be temporary. In the end G-d quickly put down the Babylonian empire through the Medes and Persians (Dan 5:30-31).
v16: Therefore (because of this joy and gladness) … he sacrifices to his net: Those who do not operate in the fear of the L-rd do not exemplify wisdom and they follow after sin.
They are not concerned about truth and nor are they concerned with righteousness (living according to G-d’s definition of righteousness). When we follow the way of sin, we may experience momentary joy or gladness. This gratification of the flesh, however, does not usually last for very long.
- Sacrifices…burn incense: He (Babylon) is worshiping, giving praise, and burning incense to his false, pagan idols.
- Their share is sumptuous…His portion is fat: They live in abundant richness; they have plenty. However, they are going to find out that this is going to be temporary.
v17: Shall he…?: Based upon the grammar of this verse we can gather that the answer to this question is: No, they will not.
- Empty out his nets, and continuously kill: Babylon will not always have this spoil (great “catch”), this seemingly great reward. A change is going to come to them. This abundance is going to be stopped by the Medes and the Persians – even before the people of Israel are restored to their land. Those who function in defiance to the will of G-d are not going to endure abundance for a long period of time.