Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Habakkuk 2:15-17 Shame, shame, shame!!

I’ve never really enjoyed watching reality TV.  I guess that’s why I haven’t watched much first-run television in probably a decade because that’s all that’s on.  You can watch people’s hearts get broken on dating shows, you can see people compete in groups against each other to see who is going to be told “You no longer have a job here”, and you can watch people embarrass themselves in all manner of contests to try and avoid being shipped off of an island.  I guess we’re following the same pattern as the society of Babylon because, as we read in this text, they enjoyed watching people embarrass themselves as well.  I submit to you that if a society finds enjoyment in the humiliation of other people, that society is sick.  In the case of Babylon, it was just one more example of why God was going to judge them for their wickedness.

First of all, Habakkuk 2:15 gives us the fifth “Woe” in this song about the Babylonian empire.  They are told they will be punished because of how they manipulate people for their own enjoyment.  Specifically, we’re told the Babylonians “make [their] neighbor drink…in order to gaze at their nakedness”.  Now, obviously there is an aspect of lusting in what they’re doing, but the basic thrust here is the same as today in reality television.  They view people as objects to be used as fodder for entertainment.  They enjoy seeing them in positions that we all would find embarrassing—in this verse specifically we’re told it is so the Babylonians can “look on their nakedness”.  Now, if you or I were to be seen by most people without our clothes, we would be embarrassed.  However, for the Babylonians, and for many in our entertainment culture today, that’s not really important.  When we devalue men and women who are made in the image of God, we reveal something about how holy we think God is—so in the end these Babylonians, in their lust, were really giving further evidence of their profane, anti-God attitude.

Instead of being able to sit around and enjoy the shame of other people, God tells them that they themselves will be shamed.  In fact, Habakkuk 2:16 says they will be shamed in the same sorts of ways that they embarrassed other people (…show your uncircumcision..).  They made others drink wine so that they could watch them put on a show for their amusement.  God will, in His time, make the Babylonians drink from the cup of His wrath.  While judgment would not come where the prophet Habakkuk could see it, it would come and when it did those who had lived in comfort because they were in power as world conquerors would find that they were the ones suffering shame.

The Babylonians ascended to world dominance through violence—they conquered a whole lot of people, killed some, enslaved others, and lived high on the hog as a result.  However, as we read in Habakkuk 2:17, the chicken, metaphorically speaking, will come home to roost.  All of the violence they had spread and the blood that they had shed would be returned on them.  Now, we know from reading history, that it was the Persian army of King Darius that attacked Babylon, but in the end, it was by the word that God spoke in the prophesy that judgment came upon that nation.  No matter how long it takes, God will execute His wrath on sinners for their sinfulness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! You have a gift. Please keep sharing the word.