Sermon Discussion Questions
1. Why is it foolish to worship an idol? What are some modern idols that we worship today?
2. In what way is an idol a teacher of lies (vs. 18)? How does an idol deceive the person who worships it?
3. In what way does God want the proud to be silent before Him (vs. 20)? How does God want people of faith to be silent before Him? Who do you want to see become a worshiper of Jesus?
Scripture: Habakkuk 2:18-20
I. The proud worship idols they have made.
A. The discussion about the folly of the worship of idols is begun in verse 18: “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies?” God would give this same teaching about the futility of idols on the last night of Babylon’s existence when the prophet Daniel spoke to King Belshazzar of Babylon in Daniel 5:23: “but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven… And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.” Judgment then fell on the proud Babylonians because they worshiped false gods and they held the one true God in contempt.
B. The Babylonians’ idols were teachers of lies (vs. 18). Some human being had made the idol the Babylonians were worshiping. And yet they had turned around and put their trust in this work of their hands. They had given to this lifeless idol the power of a god. What a lie! What a delusion! In a nice turn of phrase at the end of verse 18 God calls the Babylonian gods speechless idols. These idols could be said to be dumb dummies. They are dumb in that they cannot speak. And they are dummies in that they know nothing. They are not alive so how can they know anything! God then mocks the Babylonians for their worship of a lie. They could have worshiped the one true Almighty God. But instead they worshiped a dumb dummy.
C. Idols are created things (vs. 18). God is the creator of all things. Idols don’t speak (vs. 18). God speaks to us. Idols don’t move (vs. 19). God is always on the move. Idols are bright and shiny things like gold and silver that are very attractive to us (vs. 19). But God is truly glorious. So, why would anyone worship an idol? We are in control of our own idols. If we make an idol, we can and do control it. But no one is in control of God. God is wild.
II. People of faith worship the Lord of all the earth.
A. The answer to the idolatry of Babylon and to the modern idolatries in America is found in vs. 20: “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Some might wonder what the connection is between God’s being in his holy temple (vs. 20) and telling the Babylonians to be quiet. Isaiah 2:3-4: “And many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation.”
B. God gives Habakkuk a similar message to the one that Job received. Job was also someone who wrestled with God. After Job wrestled with God, listen to what Job did in response in Job 40:3-5: “Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.’” We are to be in silent awe of God.
Will I be worshiping Jesus in heaven with my neighbor someday?
The prophecy of Habakkuk
Commentaries on Habakkuk by O. Palmer Robertson and Walter Chantry