Woe to Those Who Build on Bloodshed (Hab. 2:12-14)


“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime! 13 Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Hab. 2:12-14, NIV)

We are at the third “woe” in this series. This warning is still focused on the Babylonians and their war mentality. Verse 12 is clearly warning against those who build cities that are built upon innocent bloodshed. Spilling innocent blood is something that is warned against in the Mosaic Law and something that deserves punishment. Verse 13 gives the threat or punishment for those who ignore this warning. Those that do this all of their work will be done in vain. Like “fuel for the fire”, it will be consumed and there will be nothing left to show for it when history looks back on it. We see that if a person is not pursuing God with its plans and his purposes it is worthless. This is something we read about in the New Testament. The only good we can do is if it is glorifying God. Anything else is worthless. In verse 14 we get God’s purpose is for the world. He wants His glory to be known all around the world. Just as water covers the sea so should his glory be in the world.
I believe the main point we can learn from this “woe” to be focused on God in everything we do. We should want His glory to be the thing that is seen in our lives. We want to do things that will point others to him. If we do things for our own purposes or for just the sake of doing them it is pointless. In verse 14 it says that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.” The word “knowledge” in Hebrew means more than just the understanding of who God is. It is a personal and intimate relationship with God. This is something that we as Christians want for this earth as well. We want everyone to be in a relationship with God. That should be the purpose of our life and should be the focus of why we do the things we do.
What purpose are you focused on as you live your life? When you wake up in the morning what is your goal? Is it to survive and do the things that are expected of you? Are you going to work so you can make money for your family? Though that is noble and good is that what God wants with your life? He has called us to do more. We go to work to glorify God in what we do and hopefully share the gospel with those around us. We want to draw others into a relationship with God, the creator of the universe. The one who promises us eternal life. If we are living our lives focused on anything else, it is a waste of time. We must be focused on God’s eternal purpose for our life and the lives of others. Everyone has an eternity whether they know it or not. How can you focus on God’s plan in your life today?