Celebrating Mother’s Day always transports me back to the home that I grew up in. It always seems that this day forces me to reflect upon the actions, words and memories of my mom. My mom raised me to love the Lord and His church. However, it would not be a typical southern childhood without a good smattering of sayings to live by. My mom’s favorites were: “Enough is enough, and too much is nasty” or “An excuse is a skin of truth, stuffed with a lie” or my personal favorite “Can’t never could and won’t never will.”
Mom’s are known for their sage words that inevitably turn out to be true. Interestingly enough, this is one area where mom’s and prophets have something in common. The prophets were constantly having to remind the people of the difference between truth and lies or spiritual harm and spiritual safety. In Habakkuk chapter two, the prophet levels five woes against the people, which are still applicable to us today. Before we list them, lets discuss what a “woe” even is. The Bible often uses these “woe statements” like a modern “if then” statement. Basically, if you do “x” then that will go very badly for you and will result in your crying out “woe,” which is never good.
Woe #1 - Actions have consequences or as my mom said, “You reap what you sow.” The implication was specifically that God notices those who act harshly with their fellow man.
Woe #2 - Life is not to be wasted or as my mom said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshops.” The prophet explains that an individual who simply lives for their selfish ambition, will ultimately end in ruin.
Woe #3 - Sin does not pay well or as my mom said, “Your chickens will come home to roost.” As you live life, there are consequences (some immediate, some long term) that will accompany all of our decisions. God informs us through the prophets that sinful actions always leave devastation.
Woe #4 - God will respond to our folly or as my mom said, “It all comes out the wash.” The Babylonians (who Habakkuk was writing about), had a nasty habit of putting their neighbors in precarious situations, so that they could take advantage of them. This type of life will always bring woe.
Woe #5 - Nothing is to take the place of God or as my mom said, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.” The tendency inside all of us is to push God aside and replace Him with either ourself or another “god” that is more appealing at the moment. Habakkuk reminds us that this is a guaranteed way to destroy our life.
Even though Habakkuk was writing in a time period very different than ours, to a people that shares very little in common with us, his words are still full of wisdom for our lives today. He, like our mom, was concerned with the quality of our life and pushes us toward following Christ more completely. Moms and prophets - who knew they had so much in common.