“So what’s he really like?” That question has been asked a multitude of times in formal and informal contexts. Some leaders have a carefully crafted “image” – you know the kind ‘tweaked’ by a public relations firm, e.g. You should be seen as ______________; You should wear _____________; Don’t say _____________ when you refer to that situation. Those who work “up close” with leaders see them “warts and all.”
In the LORD’s answer to Habakkuk’s second complaint, HE profiles the leader of the Babylonians, the one whose actions have generated so much angst in the heart of the prophet.
So what is this “world power” leader REALLY like? What does the LORD know of His character? After all, “nothing is hidden in His sight.”
From Habakkuk 2:4-12, let’s track the LORD’s assessment. Can you imagine what headlines the “newspapers” of the ancient world would use to describe him?
……his desires are NOT upright
……he is betrayed by wine
……he is greedy in his capture of nations and peoples (illustration – grave and death that keep gathering people. As someone once again “The statistics of death are staggering. One out of one people dies.”)
……he is taunted by the ridicule and scorn of the world – They pronounce a series of “WOES” on his career of theft, extortion, plunder and destruction. They anticipate his future doom.
Woe to him who…. (v.6)
Woe to him who…. (v.9)
Woe to him who…. (v.12)
He has had an eventful “career.” He has built his realm/kingdom by “ripping off” people. With his team of “cronies” he has plotted many ruinous schemes. Even his own house will testify to his evil plans. “The walls have ears.” (The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.”)
He has killed his “enemies” and built up his town by crime!
If we saw the above profile on LinkedIn or read of such a “leader” from the pages of today’s newspaper, what would we do? Would we, like Habakkuk, complain to God? Would we feel that our world was out of control? Would our weak-kneed faith “buckle” under the strain of the hour? History has been filled with such tyrants! It has had its Hitlers, Mussolinis, Ida Amins, to name a few from the 20th century. But where are they now?
It may take many days, weeks, even years before the LORD gives “you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage,….” (Isaiah 14:3) Then “you will take up this taught against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers, which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression.” Isaiah 14 is truly “the rest of the story.” The “STRONG” on earth will become the “WEAK” in eternity. The “MEEK” inherit the earth, according to the Beatitudes spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ.
What do we learn from all this? Don’t interpret the Bible by the newspaper. Interpret the newspaper by the Bible. Gain God’s perspective by maintaining your spiritual strength through prayer and the careful interpretation and application of God’s word.