Won’t all of these take up a taunt against him,
with mockery and riddles about him?
They will say:
Woe to him who amasses what is not his—
how much longer?—
and loads himself with goods taken in pledge.
Won’t your creditors suddenly arise,
and those who disturb you wake up?
Then you will become spoil for them.
Since you have plundered many nations,
all the peoples who remain will plunder you—
because of human bloodshed
and violence against lands, cities,
and all who live in them.
Woe to him who dishonestly makes
wealth for his house
to place his nest on high,
to escape the grasp of disaster!
You have planned shame for your house
by wiping out many peoples
and sinning against your own self.
For the stones will cry out from the wall,
and the rafters will answer them
from the woodwork.
Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
and founds a town with injustice!
Is it not from the Lord of Armies
that the peoples labor only to fuel the fire
and countries exhaust themselves for nothing?
For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory,
as the water covers the sea.
Woe to him who gives his neighbors drink,
pouring out your wrath
and even making them drunk,
in order to look at their nakedness!
You will be filled with disgrace instead of glory.
and expose your uncircumcision!
The cup in the Lord’s right hand
will come around to you,
and utter disgrace will cover your glory.
For your violence against Lebanon
will overwhelm you;
the destruction of animals will terrify you
because of your human bloodshed and violence
against lands, cities, and all who live in them.
In his song “It’s Not Working,” Propaganda laments all that has not been accomplished yet by the Civil Rights Movement. The tone matches the tone of Habakkuk in many ways, reciting the many examples throughout history where African-Americans have still been taken advantage of by their white oppressors. He begins to wonder what the point of all their efforts is if progress is so slow. Still, God reminds him that He is still in control and a wider view of history shows the outcome for those who oppress others:
You ain’t try listening, history a proven track record
No evil has ever gone unpunished
And kingdoms come and go and thrones get thrown to oblivion
Eventually, God will balance the scales.
This is the same response God gives Habakkuk to all his complaints about the Babylonians. He sees the evil that Babylon is doing and Babylon will not go unpunished. History shows us that this prophecy came to fulfillment. Nebuchadnezzar would eventually experience seven years of insanity (Daniel 4) from which he would emerge a much humbler man. His son would eventually be violently overthrown because of his great contempt for the sacred articles taken from the Temple in Judah. Things would not end well for Babylon, as they had not for many other empires before them.
This is the perspective we need to have on history, especially when we see great evil abounding. God will balance the scales over time. Rulers who advance their own gain by brutality and exploitation will eventually see their kingdoms crumble from underneath them. This doesn’t mean that we should not work for justice where we can but, in the end, we need to trust that God will balance it out.
- In what ways do you need to trust God to balance the scales in your life?