Building for the future

Have you been in the building industry? Or have you become involved in helping the kids with a Lego construction kit at some timer?

Image by M W from Pixabay [spacer height="20px"]

A very popular gift for kids of all ages is a Lego construction kit. They vary from those for little children with large building blocks to the more intricate kits with smaller blocks and lego characters for much older kids.

I was recently given a miniature space rocket launch pad kit with intricate lego blocks. It proved very difficult for even me, as an adult, to construct.

In our verse for this session, Habakkuk speaks about building one’s house.

Habakkuk 2:9 NIV

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain, setting his nest on high to escape the clutches of ruin!”

Building for the Future

Our verse focuses on the preoccupation of building a security nest for the future. 

The New Living Translation puts our verse this way:

“What sorrow awaits you who build big houses with money gained dishonestly! You believe your wealth will buy security, putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger.”

Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God. (Hebrews 3:4 MSG) Share on X

Building the Family Nest

“Putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger” brings to mind a picture of an eagle building its nest high and secure on a rocky cliff face. It chooses a high place where its young are safe from trouble and harm.

Image by Mier Chen from Pixabay

Our text verse introduces us to the second focus of God’s condemnation of the Babylonians.

A few weeks ago, we saw the first condemnation to be that of extortion – taking what isn’t ours (Verse 6). Today we see how God denounces their covetousness.

God’s condemnation of Judah’s enemies is related to the way they gained their wealth.

“How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They build their kingdom with money they gained by cheating others.

They have tried to make the kingdom as secure as possible. After all, they did not want to be destroyed.” (Verse 9 NIrV) 

Covetousness is Not All bad

Covetousness is generally regarded as a bad habit. However, see the Apostle Paul’s command in 1 Corinthians 12:31.

“covet earnestly the best gifts.” (1Corinthians:12:31 KJV)

Paul gives us this exhortation after teaching on the nine manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person he gives the power to heal.

The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another, the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To one person he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another he gives the ability to explain what is said.

But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as he wishes, he gives a different gift to each person. (1 Corintians 12: 8-11 GNB)

Safe and Secure

In an effort to protect themselves from any retaliation from their enemies, the Babylonians tried to make their cities impregnable and inaccessible to the enemy (Isa. 14:13-14). They sought protection, not in their Creator, but in the creature. Not in moral means, but in material resources.

  • Think for a moment. Are you overprotective of what belongs to you?
  • Can you think of one thing someone else possesses that you wish you had?

Fruits of Covetousness.

Covetousness of material things introduces anxiety and a sense of unease into a family. If you pander to your greed, you will bring trouble to your family. It can also bring God’s plague upon all the family affairs.

  • What do you think this really means?
  • According to our verse, what is God’s judgment upon those who treat others unfairly to bolster their own security?

Our verse uses the word ‘woe’ Other versions state ‘doomed’. In other words, God states they are doomed to lose the very security they hoped to gain.

Like the Babylonians, nations have always acted, and indeed are still acting, foolishly. They trust their weaponry, armies, and their navies, instead of the righteousness and truth of God.

Our True Focus

  • What is the Lord’s judgement on those who benefit from fraud and injustice?

Gains achieved through fraud and injustice, bring nothing but poverty and ruin upon a family.

But there is also lawful gain. This brings the blessing of God and a sense of security to the family.

Over the years, the Lord has often used the following verse in my life. 

“…first be concerned about God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 ISV)

Foolish Building

Jesus used the following illustration to illustrate the need to count the cost before engaging in a major project.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it?  

Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”(Luke 14:28-30  CEV)

There have been a number of occasions that I have seen examples of this very thing that Jesus spoke about. I have seen buildings started but never completed. Sadly, in our country, and I imagine in plenty others, numerous projects remain incomplete because the allocated funds have been misappropriated.

May the following words of a great leader be an inspiration to you.

“It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” Nelson Mandela 

Building Materials

No matter who we may be, we are nonetheless building for the future. The question is what is our foundation and what building materials are we using?
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul points out that we are God’s building (verse 9). That Christ is our foundation (verse 11). And upon that foundation, we are either building with solid enduring materials (gold silver and precious stones) or with materials that have no intrinsic value whatsoever (wood, hay and straw)(verse 12).
As Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message,
“Take particular care in picking out your building materials.” (Verse 12)
The foundation to your faith is secure (Jesus Christ). But are you building upon that foundation a life that honours the Lord? Decide what material you can use today to build a life that brings glory to God, then go and put it into practice.

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.