Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness! You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also—drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you, and utter shame will be on your glory. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)
Causing Another To Be Drunk
The burden which Habakkuk the prophet declared in his book is a message of the cruelty of nations oppressing other nations and individual applications to the same principles. This man of God is perplexed over the vile sins of his own people and is told by God that a foreign nation will bring divine justice upon them to execute the righteousness of the Lord upon an unrighteous people. The prophet is also assured that while a heathen nation is used to punish the nation of God this same nation will feel the wrath of God in their own destruction. His conclusion fills the New Testament covenant in the expression the righteous is to live by his faith in God and trust His plan of divine retribution. Habakkuk is a questioning prophet who wants to know why the Lord permits injustice and why to use the wicked to punish the righteous. The Lord does not leave him without understanding the way of God is the path of truth and Habakkuk humbly accepts the will of the Lord as right praising God for his divine righteousness. Part of his dissertation of judgment against the wicked the prophet talks of how one nation will bring another nation low by having them drunk on the pleasures of sin. Causing the people of God to follow the drunken stupor of idolatry, the Chaldeans influenced righteous souls to follow an unrighteous path. Like in the story of Noah when he became drunk and was uncovered to his shame, the nation of God drank of the vile intoxicating drink of the nations around them and was exposed in their own shame. There would be the punishment of the Lord upon His own people and the nation that caused the apple of His eye to stray from His love.
There is included in the charge against foreign nations causing the people of God to become drunk with the wine of their unrighteousness, a message for the individual and how he can also bring shame to another by causing them to put their hand to the bottle. Drunkenness has always been a sin before the Lord as a man takes something created by God to possess a spirit that is ungodly and defiles the body. Not only is the man who is drunk accountable to the divine judgment but also the hand of the one who gives his neighbor drink, putting the bottle to him and making him drunk to look upon his nakedness. God does not withhold His wrath upon those who put a stumbling block in the path of others to cause them to be drunk. This is a clear warning to those under the covenant of Christ to see the futility of social drinking and the casual approach many take to the matter of alcohol. Many use the story of Jesus turning water into wine in John’s gospel as a proof text that drinking is acceptable. They are misled by their own prejudice to teach something that is impossible for Jesus to have done. The amount of wine created by Jesus at His first miracle was around 130+ gallons of the best wine as noted by the master. If Jesus created 130+ gallons of intoxicating drink and caused anyone at the wedding feast to become drunk, Jesus would have sinned against His Father. Habakkuk establishes the penalty of a man who causes another to be drunk and Jesus never would have created one ounce of intoxicating drink to cause another man to stumble. The principles used by the prophet Habakkuk prove the impossibility of Jesus creating intoxicating drink thereby making useless the arguments children of God try to dissuade their conscience to drink responsibly.
Another lesson found in the text of Habakkuk is the power of influence on others. The apostle Paul will spend a great deal of time exhorting the early Christians to be careful of their influence on others, especially the weak brethren. There have always been matters that can offend the weak conscience and the influence of others to mislead others can bring about sinful attitudes. One of the great principles of Christian duty is to be mindful of the lives of others and to humbly seek the welfare of others. No man has a right to think more highly of himself than others. The actions of one can influence another to stumble. To offend a brother with disregard for their conscience is doing the same thing against Christ Himself. In the book of Habakkuk the prophet shows the penalty against not only the people of God for allowing the Chaldeans to influence them but also the charge against the Chaldeans for their actions. Such is the case of the individual who causes others to stumble. Those who sin will be judged according to their actions but those who cause others to sin will be held to a higher standard of accountability. Jesus is a perfect example of one who always taught the will of the Lord by His actions towards others. He paid the temple tax so as not to offend. The Lord gave His life for all men to save them and left an example of serving others. No man can live his own life without thinking of his influence upon others. If there is any charge to be made in the manner of life that influences others, let it be the goodness of God that leads men to repentance.