Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Habakkuk meets The Castle

We're halfway through a integrated series of sermons and Bible studies on Habakkuk at the moment, and this week was Hab. 2. And in the last few minutes of preparing, I put my finger on what was bothering me about the chapter.

It had a few refrains and themes whirling around in it, but I wasn't having much luck in figuring out why these were the things highlighted about the Babylonians...and then the penny dropped. 2:4-20 is about the vibe, specifically, the Genesis 4-11 vibe.

We found stacks of references to Cain, Ham, and Babel - and the latter makes plenty of sense when the focus of Habakkuk is the Babylonians. There's too many to list, but for me the highlight comes toward the end of the chapter. Verse 17 again repeats the accusation of 'shedding man's blood', referencing Gen 9:6's prohibition on murder, and then verses 18-19 move on to idolatry and the making of images...just as Gen 9:6 bases the ban on murder on the fact that man is made in God's image.

It certainly makes you reassess what v. 14 means, with the earth being filled with God's glory like the waters cover the sea - a reference to the glory seen in the flood of judgment, or to the glory seen in rescue when the waters were pushed back?

And for Habakkuk, it's a good answer: sin has always been like this, says God, and that's why I tolerate the treacherous. I'm busy saving them!

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