Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Sorrow Awaits Those Who Build Big Houses?

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today

What Sorrow Awaits You Who Build Big Houses

Habakkuk 2:9-14


What sorrow awaits you who build big houses
with money gained dishonestly!

But Before You Dismiss Yourself,

Whose Definition of Dishonest

Are You Following,

God's or Man's?

Other's have labeled the riches used to build these big houses as:
  • coveting (KJV)
  • unjust gain (NET/NIV)
  • being rich at the expense of others (CEV)
  • cheating people (ERV)
  • ill gotten gain (KNOX)
As always with God it comes back to a matter of the heart, not the mental pictures of our self justifying minds.
Often we need to have our mental definitions, mental pictures of words, shattered so that we can get back to the more challenging concepts contained in the word. Translated scriptures require this diligence to keep us from dismissing God's recorded truth.

I find two other translations helpful when looking for the truth within this verse that speaks to today, that speaks as a warning those of us at the end of the age i.e., under grace.

You’re doomed!
You made your family rich
at the expense of others.(CEV)

Who do you think you are—
recklessly grabbing and looting,
Living it up, acting like king of the mountain, acting above it all, above trials and troubles? You’ve engineered the ruin of your own house. In ruining others you’ve ruined yourself. You’ve undermined your foundations, rotted out your own soul. The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you. The woodwork will step forward with evidence.(MSG)


The recent recession and its lingering effects reminded us very clearly how unattached accumulation of wealth has become from both justice and morality. It reminded us that even the so called righteous or biblically supported aspects of capitalism become lost in the individual and corporate moves to reaps its gains. 

This is the trap Jesus calls the deceitfulness of wealth in the parable of the sower and it chokes off and kills the word and the fruit of the word in a life that has received it. How sad. And yet the warning has been there all along throughout the Old Testament as well.

The New Testament says the rich have received their reward in this life and because of it will be poor in the next. What a specific warning that is concerning our lifestyles and the use we make of our resources. God doesn't say it is a sin to use wealth on ourselves - if they are not part of a system of ill gotten gain - but it comes with a price. A high price that stands throughout eternity by a loss of heavenly rewards.   

What Sorrow Awaits Those Who Build Big Houses?


Look at the rest of the warning found in Habakkuk 2:9-14.

  • You believe wealth will buy security putting your families beyond real danger, but by unjust means you have used to build security you have shamed your name and you have forfeited your own and your families' eternal lives.
  • The very stones in your foundations will cry out against you and the beams in the ceilings will echo the complaint before God.

What Sorrow Awaits You Who Build Cities With Money Gained From Murder And Corruption?

  • The wealth of the rich nations will turn to ashes taking yours with them                                                
  • Your hard work will have all been in vane                                                                                           

What Wealth Brings These Losses?

  • Wealth based on dishonest arguments
  • Wealth gained through double standards (like higher interest rates on investments of the already wealth versus those available to the less wealthy and the poor)
  • Wealth gained by standards which penalize the poor (you need think no farther than how credit cards are awarded and penalized for a clear example)
  • Wealth accumulated due to greed, or oppression, or ruthless exercise of control and power
  • Wealth that comes at the price of the death of innocent people (think outsourcing, think jobs moved overseas to take advantage of the needs of the poor in order to enrich the wealthy companies and their stock holders and to take advantage of lax safety and sanitation rules--or their enforcement--creating mirror results to the abusive days of early industrialization in our own country)
  • Wealth from dishonest trade whether sanctioned by law or not
  • Wealth gained by any form of cheating
  • Wealth motivated by greed and/or covetousness

Let the wealthy not forget in the day of their loss -
As the waters fill the seas, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.

Photo Credits: 
New Residential House Fronts Some rights reserved by Photo Dean @ 
New House Fronts Some rights reserved by Photo Dean @
Supermoon 2012 Some rights reserved by Photo Dean @ (modified)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Privacy Policy