“As the Waters Cover the Sea” (Hab. 2:6-14)

What have we learned last time?

May krisis tayo ngayon. Dumadaing tayo sa Diyos. Tumatawag tayo sa kanya. Sumasagot ang Diyos. Nagsasalita siya. May ginagawa siya. Tulad sa pinag-aaralan natin sa Habakkuk. Pwede namang di sumagot si Lord. Di naman siya obligado na magpaliwanag sa gagawin niya at kung tama ba yung gagawin niya. Pero twice niya sinagot yung complaints ni Habakkuk. “God is gracious to reveal his plan to Habakkuk. As it did generations ago, God’s Word calms our restless hearts and provides comfort today” (Knowing the Bible). I pray that we are all receiving much needed rest and comfort from God’s Word these days.

Dito sa Habakkuk 2, three parts yung pag-aaral natin ng sagot ni Lord. Nauna na natin yung vv. 1-5. And we spend considerable amount of time sa v. 4, “The righteous shall live by his faith.” “Ang matuwid ay mabubuhay sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pananampalataya” (MBB). Tiningnan natin yung mga citations nito sa New Testament na nag-eemphasize na maliligtas tayo by grace through faith, and not by works (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11). Para walang magmalaki sa Diyos (Eph 2:8-9), tanggal ang yabang tulad ng sa Babylon sa context ng Habakkuk. Pero binigyang-diin ko rin na hindi lang tayo naligtas by faith, nagpapatuloy din tayo sa buhay Cristiano, especially in times of suffering, in living by faith (Heb. 10:38-39). “The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes, and that the NT authors promote, is continuing trust in God and clinging to God’s promises, even in the darkest days” (ESV Study Bible). Yes, even in darkest days.

Kaso sa panahon ngayon, madalas naman pinag-uusapan ang “faith.” Tiwala lang, kapit lang, habang may buhay may pag-asa. Kaso usually in general terms. “People speak often of faith in general as referring to believing in something we cannot perceive with the senses. But faith in general is meaningless. Faith is only saving faith if it has the proper object. That is, it truly matters only if it is faith in Christ. Saving faith is an abiding trust in God that he will accomplish all that he has promised to do” (Knowing the Bible).

Nagtitiwala tayo na tutuparin ng Diyos ang ipinangako niyang gagawin niya. Primarily yung pangako niya to accomplish salvation for us in Christ. Kasama din dun yung pangako niya na he will bring to judgment all evil and all sufferings na nararanasan natin ngayon sa mundo. Sa panahong itinakda niya, hindi sa panahong madalian mas preferred natin. At ito ang makikita natin sa vv. 6-20, na hahatiin natin sa dalawang bahaging pag-aaral. 

Preview of Habakkuk 2:6-20

Ang tawag sa passage na ‘to in literary form ay oracles of judgment. Unlike yung prayers of lament ni Habakkuk sa Hab 1:2-4; 1:12-17 na prayers ng isang believer na nag-eexpress ng pain na nararamdaman niya sa sufferings niya o nakikita niyang sufferings sa paligid niya. Ito namang prophetic words of judgment ay nag-eexpress ng pain at suffering na sasapitin ng mga unbelievers, in this book primarily referring to Babylon.
Tinatawag din itong “five woes” dahil limang sections ito na nagsisimula sa “Woe” (Hab 2:6, 9, 12, 15, 19) o sa Hebrew hoh’ee (ah, alas, ha), “expressing usually dissatisfaction and pain.”  Madalas ginagamit sa mga funeral laments at may connotations ng death (NET study notes). Kaya translated ito ng NET na “as good as dead.” Parang expression natin sa Tagalog, “Hala, patay ka!” Sa MBB, “mapapahamak kayo.” Sa ASD, “Nakakaawa kayo.” Kailangang marinig ito ng mga unrepentant dahil sa katigasan ng puso nila, kumportable sila sa kasalanan nila as if judgment against them is not coming.

Maraming tulad nito si prophet Isaiah (Isa 3:9, 11; 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22) as words of judgment to the nations. Pati nga sarili niya sinabihan niyang “Woe is me” recognizing na lahat naman talaga tayo deserving of God’s judgment, and apart from his saving mercy wala tayong ligtas diyan. Maging ang Panginoong Jesus, he used these kind of hard words sa mga Pharisees na religious hypocrites (Matt 11:21; 18:7; 23:13, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29).

Before we continue sa passage, it is worth noting na merong iba-ibang aspects ang sufferings. We live in a fallen world kaya may sufferings. But suffering has different intent/design/purposes for different people. For God’s people, hindi ito parusa, it is not punitive, but refining, faith-strengthening, maturing. For unbelievers, it is a call to repentance, it is also a preview of the coming judgment, na higit na malalang trahedya kesa sa pandemic na ‘to. For us believers, the best is yet to come “after we have suffered for a little while.” For unbelievers, the worst is yet to come. 

With that in mind, the way you listen to these prophetic woes depend on the status of your relationship with Christ. Are you in Christ? Inako na niya lahat ng kaparusahang nararapat para sa ating mga makasalanan. He suffered all these “woes” in our behalf. That’s the good news. Pero may bad news, if you are outside of Christ. Sa lahat ng prideful unbelievers na tulad ng arrogant Babylon, you will suffer God’s punishment. Some in this life, but certainly in the coming judgment when Christ returns. These “woes” are a merciful word from God calling you to repentance. May we Christians be moved with Christ-like compassion to those who are yet outside of Christ. 

Itong five prophetic “woes” ay introduced by this line in v. 6, “Darating ang araw na hahamakin ng mga nasakop ang mga sumakop sa kanila…” (MBB). Ang Diyos ang nagsasabi kay Habakkuk na darating ang araw na ganito ang sasabihin ng Judah at ng mga bansang nasakop ng Babylon. In the same way, meron din itong implications sa iba pang tulad nila na proud, arrogant, unrepentant. Tig-three verses bawat isang “woe” at merong ganitong basic pattern na makikita in each verse:

  • Kasalanan ng Babylon
  • Kahihinatnan ng Babylon (dahil sa kasalanan nila)
  • Katibayan o basehan ng pagpaparusa sa kanila. 

Yung first three “woes” muna ang titingnan natin ngayon (vv. 6-14).

First Woe (Hab 2:6-8) – Greed

Ano ang kasalanan nila? Meron na tayong unang sulyap ng kasalanan nila sa v. 5. Arogante, sakim, greedy. Di nakukuntento, never has enough. Kailangan niyang sakupin as many nations as he can. Gustong mapasakanya ang lahat ng mga bansa. Dito sa v. 6, “Kinuha ninyo ang hindi sa inyo…” Yung sinabi dito na “how long?” o “hanggang kailan?” ay echo ng lament ni Habakkuk sa 1:2. Matatagalan pa bago tuluyang maparusahan ang kasalanan ng Babylon. Sa pagpapayaman nila, sapilitan, may pagnanakaw, merong extortion. Lahat ito expression ng greed at covetousness na paglabag sa utos ng Diyos na “you shall not steal” and “you shall not covet.” Dahil dito…

Ano ang kapahamakang kahihinatnan nila? Sa v. 7, “Biglang darating…” Surprising, unexpected, unprepared sila sa darating. Na ano? A great reversal of fortunes. Sila naman ang mangungutang at pipiliting magbayad. Sila naman ang maghihirap. Sila naman ang tatakutin at aalipinin ng iba. Sila naman ang nanakawan. 

Ano ang katibayan ng parusang ito? Sa v. 8Ito ang retributive justice ni God. Kung ano ang ginawa mo, yun din ang gagawin sa ‘yo. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (Exod 21:23-24). Hindi palalampasin ng Diyos ang violence nila. God cares about human life. Babanggitin din ito sa Hab. 2:17.  “Blood of man and violence to the earth…” 

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.  (Genesis 9:5-6 ESV)

There is a time of reckoning for the the injustice and violence that God’s people suffered. Hindi palalampasin ng Diyos ang kasakiman at karahasan sa mundo. For those who are in Christ na guilty sa ganitong kasalanan, Christ on the cross suffered the “woe” we deserved. For those outside of Christ, it will be dealt here in this earth in the future (like sa Babylon, but not all), but surely in eternity in hell.

Second Woe (Hab 2:9-11) –  Materialism

Ano ang kasalanan nila? Related itong materialism sa greed. Sa ilalim ng greed, at ang nagpapatakbo sa kasakiman, ay itong maling paniniwala na ang security natin ay nakalalay sa dami ng kayamanan natin at kung ano ang magagawa nito para sa atin. Sa v. 9, “Nagpapayaman” sila at the expense of others. Pinantayo ng bahay nila galing sa “evil gain” or unjust gain (NET), nakaw na salapi (MBB), perang nakuha sa masamang paraan (ASD). Inihalintulad sila sa isang agila na naglalagay ng pugad sa mataas na lugar para safe and secured sa anumang panganib. Selfishness ‘to, thinking only of one’s self without regard for the welfare of others, and worse, at the expense of others.

Ano ang kahihinatnan nilang kapahamakan? Sa v. 10 nakasulat ang consequences ng kasalanan nila, consequences na hindi direct result ng judgment ni God. But also an expression of his judgment. Ang nagkasala na mismo ang nagdadala ng kapahamakan sa sarili niya. In desiring security using unjust gain, “you have devised shame.” Hindi ang Diyos o ibang tao ang nagdala ng kahihiyan. Ikaw na mismo! May dugo ang mga kamay sa pagpatay sa iba. “You have forfeited your life.” Para kang nag “self-destruct” (NET). In trying to save your life, to secure your life, by greed and materialism you are committing suicide. Sin is suicidal.

Ano ang katibayan nito? Sa v. 11, may nakasulat na ebidensiya. Personification ang literary style na ginamit dito. Sumisigaw ang mga bato sa pader, aalingawngaw ang buong kabahayan. Meaning? Di maitatago ang yamang ninakaw. Tulad ngayon may mga hidden wealth at secret accounts ang mga politicians at mga negosyante para itago yung corruption and plunder nila. Pero eventually, may ebidensyang lilitaw. And we are hoping na mangyari ‘yan sooner. Pero meron talagang hidden pa rin sa atin ngayon. True justice cannot be achieved in our lifetime. But one day all secrets will be revealed, wala nang maitatago (Matt 10:26; Rom 2:15-16). Lulutang for all to see ang lahat ng ebidensiya kung bakit ang mga paparusahan ng Diyos ay deserving not just of temporal but also eternal punishment.

Third Woe (Hab 2:12-14) – Worldly Ambition

Ano ang kasalanan nila? Hindi lang ‘to small time greed and materialism. They were really ambitious. Sabi sa v. 12, “Nagtayo kayo ng lunsod…itinayo ninyo ang bayan…” Ano ang masama dun? Intent naman ni Lord yun for us to have dominion over all his creation (Gen 1:26-28). Hindi ang ginawa nila ang masama, kundi ang paraan kung paano nila ginawa ang ginawa nila: “…sa pamamagitan ng kasamaan…sa pamamagitan ng pagpatay.” Sarili nilang paraan, at the expense of others, without regard sa commands and ways of God. Di ba’t ganyan din ang nangyari sa tower of Babel sa Gen. 11? Matayog ang ambisyon nila. Gusto nilang maging “great” in their own ways. Ano ang kinahinatnan? Ikinalat sila ng Diyos. Nabalewala ang ambitious project nila. Ganun din dito sa Habakkuk.

Ano ang kahihinatnan? Ayon sa v. 13, may mapapala ba sila in the end? Wala, wala, wala! “…susunugin lang, kaya mawawalan ng kabuluhan ang inyong pinagpaguran” (ASD). This judgment or decree is from the Lord. “Si Yahweh na Makapangyarihan sa lahat ang gumawa nito” (MBB). All out ang Diyos to make sure na lahat ng attempts natin to be great apart from him ay mauuwi sa wala. Sinabi din ‘yan ng Panginoong Jesus (Mark 8:36). Sinabi din niya sa kanyang parable na foolishness ang mag-ambisyon ng kayamanan sa mundong ito (Luke 12:19-21), hindi sa dahil masama ang kayamanan. It is not about money. It is about what we pursue. We pursue not the things of this world. But we seek first the kingdom (Matt. 6:9-11, 33). Bakit galit ang Diyos sa mga taong ang ambisyon ay magtayo ng sarili nilang kaharian – na sila ang nasusunod, na sila ang natatanyag? Makikita ‘yan sa last verse.

Ano ang katibayan? Sa v. 14, malinaw na ang plano ng Diyos ay para matanyag ang kanyang pangalan. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Ito ang nangingibabaw na hangarin ng puso ng Diyos sa lahat ng kanyang ginagawa sa buong kasaysayan ng buong mundo – his passion for the glory of his name among all nations. 

Itong “glory” ng Panginoon ay ang kanyang “special presence with his people” (ESV Study Bible). Especially evident ito when his glory filled the tabernacle during the time of Moses (Exod 40:34-35), at yung temple during the time of Solomon (1 Kings 8:11). At itong vision sa Habakkuk 2:14 ay looking forward na buong mundo ay kumikilala na sa pangalan ng Panginoon, saturated with his glory, parang tubig sa dagat. Ganito din ang saloobin ng Num 14:21; Psa 72:19 at Isa. 6:3. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit nilikha at niligtas ng Diyos ang Israel, para maging instrumento sila ng Diyos to bring the knowledge of his glory to all nations (Gen. 12:2-3; Exod 19:5-6). But they failed miserably to fulfill their mission. Pero ang Diyos ay hindi nagbabago ang determination niya to make this a reality. Kaya huhusgahan niya ang Babylon.

Kaya ipinadala niya si Cristo, the image and the glory of God. At yung gospel – his life, his death and his resurrection – yung “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4, 6), yun ang pinakita sa atin ng Diyos. We believed that. Kaya nga we escaped the judgment of God and received salvation dahil kay Cristo. We received the light, we are now the light of Jesus shining before men (Matt 5:16) as we do good works and most especially as we proclaim the good news of Jesus (2 Cor 4:5). We are doing that, passionate about that, kasi yun din ang passion ni God, hoping that one day all the nations, all the people groups on earth will hear the gospel and bow their knees before Jesus.

Coronavirus and God’s Mission in History

Ito rin ang prayer natin na mangyari ngayon during this pandemic. Nangyari yung judgment sa Babylon 539 BC. Sure na nangyari. But a greater judgment day awaits. Sure din yung salvation we have in Christ. Itong time of suffering during this pandemic ay ginagamit ng Diyos to spread the gospel to all nations, to awaken sinners to the glory of God, and to call them to repentance and faith in Jesus. Let us join God in what he is doing among the nations. Wag nating sayangin itong mahabang quarantine time na meron tayo. Let us pray hard for the nations. Let us be creative in sharing the gospel, even at a distance. 

“The global scope and seriousness of the coronavirus is too great for God to waste. It will serve his invincible global purpose of world evangelization. Christ has not shed his blood in vain. And Revelation 5:9 says that by that blood he ransomed “people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” He will have the reward of his suffering. And even pandemics will serve to complete the Great Commission” (John Piper, The Coronavirus and Christ).

Titiyakin ng Diyos na lahat ng sufferings natin, including this pandemic, “will serve to complete the Great Commission.”

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