Martin Collins, reviewing the episode of Habakkuk's frustration that God would use an evil people to punish Israel, points us to the prophet's resolve to cease being a fretful worrier and to become a responsible watcher, determined to understand the purpose of God's dealing with His people. Only a faithful believer will ever stand acquitted before God's fearful judgment. While the taunt-song, dealing with the five woes, certainly applies to Babylon, it applies doubly to God's people Israel, who should have known better, but chose to become ignorant. The first two woes in Habakkuk 2:6-8 concerns the woe against greed, avarice, covetousness (a virulent form of idolatry), and selfish ambition, leading to the crime of usury, charging excessive interest on loans, making the debtor a virtual slave, totally against God's instructions in Deuteronomy 24:10-13. The earth metaphorically cries out against the oppressor who garners wealth by stealing from others and amassing fortunes by exploiting the poor. The third woe focuses on a nation's tyrannical oppression of captive peoples, building a city with bloodshed and establishing a town by violence, denuding forests, wantonly slaughtering animals in order to subjugate other defenseless peoples. The fourth woe results from a people corrupting others with drunkenness and lust, having both literal and metaphorical implications; today the intoxicating Babylonian system embraced by Jacob's descendants has caused our nation to resemble, both figuratively and literally, a drunk vomiting over itself, exposing its sins and folly to the entire world, after adamantly refusing to be governed by God's laws. The fifth woe leveled against the Chaldeans, and by extension to the modern descendants of Jacob, results from idolatry, the sin of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator, applying to literal idols of stone and wood as well as to pagan new age religious practices and including anything we might exalt over God Almighty, including our physical possessions, talents, abilities,
Throughout man's long history, cruelty—both to other people and to animals—has been a frequent stain on human character; it is an unfortunate part of human nature. The Bible consistently denounces cruelty in all its forms.
Is God an environmentalist? Should Christians care about the ecological health of the earth and its inhabitants, human or otherwise? Richard Ritenbaugh explains the Bible's position on the environmental issue.
John Ritenbaugh reminds us that mankind, created after the Godkind, has been given dominion or responsibility for the care of animal life, preserving and embellishing their environment, as God would take care of them. Our well-being is inextricably connected to our care of animals (Proverbs 12:20). By having Adam name the animals, God evidently wanted him to become acquainted with their characteristics, enabling him to learn commonsense wisdom from observing their behavior and traits, either for the purpose of emulating particular behaviors, such as diligence and self-discipline from the ant (Proverbs 6:6), affection and motherliness from a deer (Proverbs 5:19), or avoiding negative behaviors such as gossip or slander by observing the behavior of an adder or asp (Psalm 140), aimless willfulness or stubbornness, as in a wild ass (Jeremiah 2:24) or a goat (Matthew 25:32).
Through Acts 1-15, God (primarily through the work of Peter, Paul and James) has removed His work out of the Judaistic mold, creating the Israel of God (the church) designed to spread to the Gentiles. Though certain ceremonial and civil aspects of the law were (for a time) suspended, the Law of God was never suspended, especially as it relates to defilement of conscience or disregarding of scruples that could cause permanent spiritual damage or unwittingly place one in communion with demons. We must always conduct ourselves with the long —term spiritual interests of others paramount on our minds, being sensitive to conscience and scruples of others as we exercise our 'rights.'
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