Five Woes

Five WoesText: Habakkuk 2:6-19

God told Habakkuk that He would use the Babylonians to punish His people. However, God also said that He would hold the Babylonians accountable for their sins. In our text, He pronounced five woes upon them. We live in a different time and do not have the same position, yet we can still learn from these verses.

“Woe to him who increases what is not his…” (v. 6-8)

  • They took what did not belong to them – “looted many nations” (v. 8); it would be done to them
  • Application: We are not to covet what other people have (Colossians 3:5) – what they possess are those things that God has blessed them with (Ecclesiastes 5:19; 6:1-2); instead, we are to learn contentment (Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:11-12)

“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house…” (v. 9-11)

  • The tried to secure themselves through any means necessary – this would come back to harm them
  • Application: We are to provide for our own through honest/honorable means (Acts 20:33-34; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:21) – we are to work to provide for our own (2 Thessalonians 3:7-10; 1 Timothy 5:8); not to cheat others (Amos 8:4-6) or pursue “get rich quick” schemes (Proverbs 28:22)

“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed…” (v. 12-14)

  • They built their empire through violence/war – would all be “for nothing” or “vanity” (KJV)
  • Application: We are not to do wrong to others (Romans 13:10) – don’t do wrong, even if civil law allows it (Romans 13:8-9); practice the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12)

“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink…” (v. 15-17)

  • They made them drunk to look at their nakedness – they would be exposed and disgraced
  • Application: We are not to manipulate others for our own pleasure (Genesis 19:30-36) – alcohol can cause people to do things (or have things done to them) that would not otherwise happen (Proverbs 23:35); yet this is not just about alcohol, we are not to use any means to manipulate others for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:6)

“Woe to him who” worships an idol (v. 18-19)

  • They made idols, then worshiped them – trusted in their own handiwork
  • Application: We are not to serve any “god” but the Lord (Matthew 6:24) – it is absurd to serve any “god” who cannot save us (Isaiah 44:9-17); idols are “gods” that WE make, yet we are to serve the Lord because He made us (Colossians 1:10, 15-17)


  • We may not build an empire like the Babylonians did
  • But we can be guilty of the same TYPES of sins
  • Let us be sure to avoid these sins so these “woes” do not come upon us

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