We pretty much live in a “ME” centered culture......I want what I want and if I don’t get what I want, I will behave like a spoiled little brat until I get what I want. Do you know a person like that? That individual that can tell a better story then you. A great example of this is a show Brian Regan did [here is the link] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiUsfEkVRDY. His story trumps your story! It's that individual who seeks the center of attention in a group and wants everyone to notice them wherever they are. We have people like this all over the place! I've worked with people like this and have seen it on many occasions in the past. It doesn't matter where you are whether it's in church or the grocery store.....”ME MONSTERS” are all around us. Perhaps there might be a “ME MONSTER” in here this morning? See the underlining reality to a "ME MONSTER" is that it comes down to one truth! They are self absorbed...which is a person full of PRIDE! The bible has a lot to say about “ME MONSTERS” a person who is selfish and most of all proud.....[PRIDEFUL]. THE BIBLE CALLS PRIDE........SIN! Yes, pride is a sin! “A haughty look, a proud heart,........... are sin.” Prov 21:4. The bible also says that God hates pride “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.” Prov 16:5. The bible says that pride defiles a man or woman “And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.” Matt 7:20. The bible says that pride is forbidden in the life of a believer “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Rom 12:3. The bible says that pride is a major hindrance to knowing God “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.” Ps 10:4
Pride is so bad it’s characterized of this fallen world. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16. It’s characterized with false teachers “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” 1 Tim 6:3-5. It’s characterized with the wicked [the unregenerate and unrepented heart] “therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment.” Ps 73:6. Charles Spurgeon had this to say about pride..... “When a man admires himself he never adores God.” J C Ryle had these humbling words to say about the issue of pride! “It is an dreadful fact, whether we like to allow it or not, that pride is one of the common sins which beset human nature. We are all born Pharisees. We all naturally think far better of ourselves than we ought. We all naturally imagine that we deserve something better than we have. It is an old sin. It began in the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve thought they had not got everything that their merits deserved. It is a subtle sin. It rules and reigns in many a heart without being detected, and can even wear the garb of humility. It is a most soul ruining sin. It prevents repentance, keeps men back from Christ – checks brotherly love, and nips in the bud spiritual desires. Let us watch against it, and be on our guard. Of all garments, none is so graceful, none wears so well, and none is so rare, as true humility.” This is something that we need to ask the Spirit today! Is there pride in me [in my life] that is hindering my walk or relationship with God? Why do I say this? Pride is a major issue...and we see the results first hand here in this letter by Habakkuk. God continues to tell Habakkuk......Write this down for future generations, so that they will understand my hatred and my judgement towards those who continue to have a proud heart to the end (v2). God has already characterized the fundamental difference between a proud heart and a faithful heart in (v4)The "proud" trusts in himself! The proud does the opposite and shakes his or her fist into the sky and says “it’s my life and I will do with it as I please” As the Atheist slogan goes "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." The opposite of this! The just [God’s imputed righteousness to the Christian] will live by faith.....even when they may not understand why God does what He does. In this portion of the letter we begin to see God’s displeasure for those who chose to live this way according to self! Many theologians call this “Habakkuk’s funeral song for Babylon.” So let me warn those in this sanctuary who that thinks pride isn't that big of an issue. I would say think again! As we look at the FIVE WOES to those who continue down this road of destruction.
1. THE WOE FOR INTIMIDATION (V6-V8) Intimidation is to frighten into submission, to bully is to intimidate through blustering, domineering, or threatening behaviour. The Babylonians were consumed by selfish ambitions and they stopped at nothing to acquire wealth and expand their kingdom through the means of intimidation. The other side of this coin is that ambition can be a good thing.... if it’s motivated by pleasing a holy God, for the glory of God. But! If it’s for selfish reasons as in the case of the Babylonians, then it’s wrong! This is a prime example of a “ME MONSTER” . They had hoards of stolen goods...plundered from helpless people for their own pleasures. It’s interesting to note that God warned them that those whom they stole from, would come collecting....We look at (v8) “the plunderer shall be plundered” as the same meaning that use today! "What goes around comes around” this is what is going to happen to Babylon for their selfish-pride. The Babylonians will become the victim one day of the bloodshed they have committed and so will the person who desires to live with a proud heart.
2. THE WOE FOR INTEMPERANCE (V9-V11) Intemperance is the indulgence of an appetite or a passion for something! It’s that “I must have it” attitude. Intemperance is like taking an intoxicating drink...it makes you want more. The scary thing is that God hates this form of behaviour..... The bible calls this covetousness and it’s so severe it’s the 10th commandment given to man. This is a problem that‘s been around for centuries! It started back in the garden when Eve’s eyes were opened to the fact that she wanted what God had. She coveted what God had and wasn't content with what she had. In Isaiah chapter 14:12-15 we see the beginning of a proud heart! “I will...” The Babylonians took [stole] land that wasn't theirs in order to build an Empire big enough to stop anyone who dared try to attack. Just like the Ninevites who built these big walls around their land. See, the Babylonians thought the more land they secured the safer they would be from their enemies and especially God. Instead of having houses and families that brought honour, they would be disgraced and shamed and lose everything. Instead of being content with what you had their end would lead to heartache and pain! (v10). Remember what Jesus said “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36. Let me ask you! Are you content or do you desire more than what you have? The answer to that question will determine if you’re a fool who built bigger barns.....like the man who was full of selfish pride. Or content like Paul when he said..... “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:12-13. This portion of Habakkuk’s letter might have been like a flap in the face or a rebuke to some of the Jews. Why? For what they were doing by exploiting the poor and using the money to build expensive homes when they had control. Example!
“I will destroy the winter house along with the summer house; The houses of ivory shall perish, And the great houses shall have an end," Says the LORD.” Amos 3:15. In Amos 6:11 it says “For behold, the LORD gives a command: He will break the great house into bits, And the little house into pieces.”
3. THE WOE TO INIQUITY (V12-V13) Iniquity is a grossly immoral act; a sin! The lack of integrity or morality. Babylon was built on bloodshed...the blood of innocent victims. We see the same thing happening around us today! I recently was watching a video on the NUBA people in South Sudan who have gone through such pain and anguish over the death of so many people young and old because they do not and will not submit to the religion of Islam. The Babylonians were proud of what they done and they didn't care about how they got it. The sad truth is that this had no lasting value. This was only fuel for God’s flaming wrath towards these people who loved their sin. A prideful person thinks that he or she is getting away it because nothing is happening. God isn't a forgetful God! He will bring all things to court of His glory and judgement. The Book of Job says "For His eyes are on the ways of man, And He sees all his steps. Job 34:21. Nothing is hidden from His sight in your life! He knows everything that you are doing in the light and in the darkness. Remember the passage in Hebrews “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” 4:13
4. THE WOE FOR INDIGNITY (V15-V17) Indignity is Humiliating, degrading, or abusive treatment. The LORD uses alcohol as a metaphor to the destruction of Babylon, because of their pride and arrogance and vulnerability and how they used it against the nation of Judah. The Babylonians forced others to become intoxicated and poisoned, making them behave shamefully and become easy prey. This is what drunkenness leads too.....a person or persons unaware of the present danger. The spiritual application is that alcohol has the power to lead a person to destruction and violence. We need to understand drunkenness and sensual behaviour usually go hand in hand. I'm not here to preach that alcohol is evil in and of itself! But, I would preach to you abstinence from such drink! Why? Look what it does to person, a marriage, a family! It destroys. Habakkuk says.....It brings about immorality (v15) “look on his nakedness”, It brings about shame and sickness (v16) “shame will be on your glory", It brings about destruction because of violence (v17) “the cup of the LORD’s right hand” [which implies God’s cup of wrath against the Babylonians]. Pride drives people to do foolish things. What's worse is that pride may drive people to drink from God’s cup! This is His wrath and judgement.....
5. THE WOE TO IDOLATRY (V18-V19) Idolatry is the worship of idol! The Babylonians were addicted to idolatry......Again they worshipped over 65,000 gods. Romans 1:25 says “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,.......” Paul also wrote to the Galatians “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, (v20) idolatry,...”Gal 5:19-20. See we have to be very careful! Your favourite sports team can be idolatry, your favourite car or hobbies can be idolatry, your farm or occupation can be idolatry, your possessions can be idolatry. See if you love your things or stuff or whatever it might be, more than Christ! It’s idolatry. Here is a good test I came across in my study for this message! Warren Weirsbe suggests the following test for idolatry!
1. Devotion test- For what are we living?
2. Dependence test- In what are we trusting?
3. Delight test- From what do we obtain pleasure?
4. Decision test- What guides our decision making?
5. Destiny test- To what are we looking forward?
Is it Christ? Or is it all about self? Are you the just or the proud? The Christian life has many obstacles and struggles and pride is one of those ones that kill the soul in Hell for all eternity.......If you're displaying any of these characteristics in your life, I plead with you this morning! REPENT or you will likewise perish as Jesus said in Luke’s gospel! You might be thinking that you can pull the wool over God’s eyes because you're getting away with something at the present time! Be warned! The LORD is no fool, He will not be mocked and He will deal with each and every one of us [you] in His timing. Habakkuk was beginning to understand that..... because God was revealing these things to him in real time! We have his written word and we are without excuse... because we get to have front row seats to God’s sovereign providence in the lives of His people. We get to see the plan He has for those who deny Him, His glory and the sovereign rule that He holds by His power and might! (v20) Remember the Psalm! “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Ps 45:10. God will destroy the pride of this world and punish it for all eternity in HELL. As J C Ryle puts it! “You cannot live forever. You must one day die. You cannot avoid the judgement after death. You must stand before the bar of Christ. The summons of the Archangel cannot be disobeyed. The last great assembly must be attended. The state of your own soul must one day undergo a thorough investigation. It will be found out one day what you are in God’s sight. Your spiritual condition will at length be brought to light before the whole world. Oh, find out what it is now! While you have time, while you have health, find out the state of your soul.” My question this morning is! What will He be doing with you on that day?