Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, And stablisheth a city by iniquity! Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity? For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.— Habakkuk 2:12–14
Violence was the motivation for Babylon invading Israel. “They shall come all for violence.” Well, if violence motivated Babylon, what motivated Babylon to become violent? I believe it is their rejection of the Lord. By rejecting the Lord, the hatred in the hearts of the Babylonians flourished and their desires waxed darker and darker.
“Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire”
The Babylonians had worked to build up an impressive empire. Babylonian inscriptions from this time period boast of all their achievements. But the whole time they were building, the fires of hell were inching closer and closer. With each brick they laid, with each tree they planted, and with each word of blasphemy they uttered against the God of Israel, they were working only to hasten their day of judgment. They thought they were building up a name for Babylon. But they were only building up their own condemnation.
Jeremiah records a similar prophecy against Babylon in Jeremiah 51:58:
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, And her high gates shall be burned with fire; And the people shall labour in vain, And the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.”
No matter how high their towers and how thick their walls, their works would be destroyed. They tried to save themselves, but it was too late.
“and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?”
The Babylonians were even as the people of today. They thought very highly of themselves. Life was good. They were smarter than their ancestors. They had conquered the nations of the earth, and they felt secure. They now had time to live life how they pleased. They worked jobs to make enough money to live their Babylonian dream. But all their work was vain—empty and worthless.
Millions in the world are living this Babylonian life. The nations are enacting these same 5 Babylonian sins. The poor lost souls of Babylon had rejected the Lord, and their hearts had become proud because of it. In rejecting the Lord, their lost heart was darkened. Listen to how Paul describes this downward spiral in Romans 1:18–21:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,“
Rejecting the Lord is woefully dangerous. In rejecting the Lord, that lost person is subject to the blinding of God. “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God . . . and their foolish heart was darkened.” I’ve heard accounts of people who grew up in Bible-preaching churches only to reject the Bible in favor of man’s wisdom. In their pride, they believe they have grown smarter and wiser than Bible-believers, but they don’t realize that they are laboring their way through the warning of Romans 1 all the way to hell.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
Notice the words, “haters of God.” In rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, a lost soul is in danger of becoming more and more blind. The Babylonians hated God. They wanted to wipe away any remembrance of the God of Israel. They blasphemed His name, desecrated His temple, and used His holy vessels for their lust and drunkenness. But notice the judgment that’s pronounced upon them:
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.