In preaching through Habakkuk at Cross of Christ Fellowship, our church in Naperville, I was delighted to see a truth in one of the passages, which I had not thought of for a while. The truth is this: sin is self-destructive and no one can thwart God who is invincible.
We see this in Habakkuk 2:6-20. In this section, the prophet is a given a vision which includes 5 woes on the nation of Babylon. Babylon was a powerful nation, and God was about to use it as an instrument of judgment on Israel and other nation. But Babylon was not righteous, it was evil, and God was also going to judge the evils of Babylon. This occurred in 539 B.C. when Babylon ceased to be a nation.
The way God brought about the judgment on Babylon was to allow it experience the same evils it was committing against others. In other words, God allowed Babylon to experience the self-destructive consequences of its own sin and evil. Babylon used oppressive financial pressures and debts on others, but would end up as “spoil” for those it oppressed (2:6-8); Babylon sought to build an empire for itself from the goods it plundered from others, but the very building supplies it stole would come back to work against it (2:9-11); Babylon constructed cities through bloodshed but would those same cities would experience bloodshed (2:12-13); Babylon made others drunk in order to gaze on their nakedness, but it would one day have to drink the cup and experience shame (2:15-17); Babylon built idols to worship but the very idols they built could not speak or see or help (2:18-19). Basically, all the ways Babylon acted evil would come back to judge them.
Here we see a picture of the self-destructive nature of sin. Sin always works against the one who sins in some kind of self-defeating or self-destructive way. We often see this in in this life, but we certainly see how this can play out in the afterlife. Sin destroys us in this life and leads to an eternal destruction in hell.
We of course see some aspects of the self-destructive nature of sin today. The more we lie to others, the closer we are to not even knowing the truth ourselves. The things we steal end up stealing any true joy or satisfaction from our hearts. The adultery we commit—whether physical or in the heart—works against our own ability to sexually enjoy our spouse. Every sinful act we commit is not only a breaking of God’s law, but also a self-destructive action that works against our own good, whether in the present or in the future. (When we get to the New Testament we see the Apostle bring out this principle of the self-destructive nature of sin in 1 Cor 6:18 “sexual sin…sins against one’s own body;” and Gal 6:8 “person who sows to the flesh reaps corruption”).
Consider how ruinous sin is to our future. When we refuse to hear the gospel and repent, we end up not believing the gospel or repenting, the fruit of which is continued alienation and estrangement from God. Sometimes I see signs on people’s home that prohibit solicitors and a list of other people they don’t want to visit them, and on this list I see “We don’t need to hear about Jesus.” Now I can understand that the sign is partly in gest—and a way to avoid hearing from the frequent visits of Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons—but the sign in some way is an interesting example of the point being made here: When a person says they don’t want to hear about Jesus, not hearing about Jesus actually works against them, because Jesus is the only one who can save them from the power and penalty of sin. All sins we commit work against our future happiness and they will counted against us on the great Day of Judgment, when God judges the sins of the world. Thus, sin is ruinous to our future.
This is a remarkable truth about sin. Another remarkable truth is just how invincible God is in relation to sin and evil. NOTHING in the end can destroy or thwart or stop Him, no matter how evil an act may be. Every evil act against is used by God for His own good purposes (Gen 50:20). We mean something for evil, but God uses it for good. God is not the author of sin, but we sin and God overrules our evil actions for His glorious good plan (Acts 2:23 is a good example of this). And all sins against God end up working against the sinner.
This shows God’s invincible nature and awesome power.
Thus, we see the folly and stupidity of all sinful acts. They are self destructive and ultimately foolish. Remembering this can help us as Christians when we are faced with sinful temptation. We can preach to ourselves this fact: the sin I am tempted with, is ultimately self-destructive and foolish. We can adore God who used Babylon as his hammer to bring justice on Israel (Habakkuk) but also judged Babylon for its evil acts (Habakkuk 2:6-20). The right response in light of all this really is silence and awe before our awesome God (Habakkuk 2:20).