Habakkuk 2:14
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
Sermons
God's Glory Universally KnownHabakkuk 2:14
The Knowledge of GodCharles Garrett.Habakkuk 2:14
The Triumph of the GospelJ. Summerfield, A. M.Habakkuk 2:14
National Wrongs Ending in National Woes. No. 3D. Thomas Habakkuk 2:12-14
The Two Kingdoms: a ContrastS.D. Hillman Habakkuk 2:12-14


Reference is made in these verses to two kingdoms - the kingdom of Babylon and the kingdom of God; and this association serves to indicate several points of contrast.

I. THE GLORY OF THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD IS MATERIAL; THE GLORY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS SPIRITUAL. The glory of Chaldea centred in its magnificent city of Babylon, so grand in its situation, its edifices, it defences, and in the stores of treasure it contained, its greatness consisting thus in its material resources; but the glory of the kingdom of God is spiritual. It is "the glory of the Lord" that constitutes its excellence - all moral beauty and spiritual grace abounding therein.

II. THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD HAVE OFTEN BEEN FOUNDED AND ESTABLISHED BY MEANS OF WRONG DOING; THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS FOUNDED AND ESTABLISHED IN PURE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE HOLINESS. The Chaldeans, by their superior might and powers, conquered other tribes, and with the spoils of war and the forced labour of the conquered they reared their cities. They "built a town with blood, and established a city by iniquity" (ver. 12); but "a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of God's kingdom."

III. HUMAN TOIL IS INVOLVED IN THE INTERESTS OF BOTH; yet notice, by way of contrast;

1. Toil in the interests of earthly kingdoms is often compulsory and is rendered reluctantly - aliens who had fallen as captives into the power of the Chaldeans were made to labour and serve; but toil in the interests of God's kingdom is ever voluntary and is rendered lovingly and without constraint.

2. Toil in the interests of earthly kingdoms is often toil for that which shall be destroyed, and which shall come to nought. "The people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity" (ver. 13), i.e. they should labour in erecting edifices which should be consumed by fire, and thus their toil prove in vain; but toil in the interests of God's kingdom shall prove abiding and eternal in its results.

3. The workers of iniquity, no matter how earnest their toil, should be covered eventually with dishonour and shame - "Woe to him!" etc. (ver. 12) - but all true toilers for God and righteousness shall be divinely approved and honoured.

IV. THE PROSPERITY OF MATERIAL KINGDOMS IS UNCERTAIN; WHEREAS THE TRIUMPH OF GOD'S SPIRITUAL KINGDOM IS ASSURED. "The knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth."

V. EARTHLY KINGDOMS ARE LIMITED IN EXTENT; BUT THE SPIRITUAL KINGDOM OF OUR GOD SHALL ATTAIN UNTO UNIVERSAL DOMINION. "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. - S.D.H.







For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
There shall be such a revelation of God's character and attributes as shall win the faith and love and adoration of the human family. Now, where is that revelation made? In nature you get only glimpses of God; it tells us something of His wisdom and His power, but it tells us nothing about His mercy and His forgiving love. Every word that nature utters to a sinner is a word of terror. God has so loved us that He has sent His "only-begotten Son," through whom we may learn to know the Father. This knowledge of God in Christ meets every want. It is of this knowledge the text speaks — an experimental knowledge of Christ which brings us to God, and fits us for heaven. This knowledge gives us lie. It has a quickening power. The man that knows and receives Christ lives — lives a spiritual life that shall last for ever. This knowledge also produces love. And it produces holiness in the heart and life. It prepares us for heaven, which is the home of love. This knowledge is to be universal! Reason teaches us to expect it.

2. The Bible proclaims it.

3. There are signs of the near approach of this glorious day. The first sign is the decay of idolatry; the second is the decline of popery. A third is the increase of knowledge. A fourth is the uprising of humanity. A fifth is the condition of Christianity.

(Charles Garrett.)

The prophet teaches here, that so remarkable would be God's judgment on the Babylonians that His name would thereby be celebrated through the whole world. There is in the verse an implied contrast; for God appeared not in His own glory when the Jews were led away into exile; the temple being demolished and the whole city destroyed; and also when the whole eastern region was exposed to rapine and plunder. When, therefore, the Babylonians were, after the Assyrians, swallowing up all their neighbours, the glory of God did not then shine, nor was it conspicuous in the world. The Jews themselves had become mute; for their miseries had, as it were, stupefied them; their mouths were at least closed, so that they could not from the heart bless God, while He was so severely afflicting them. And then, in that manifold confusion of all things the profane thought that all things here take place fortuitously, and that there is no Divine providence. God, then, was at that time hid; hence the prophet says, "Filled shall be the earth with the knowledge of God."; that is, God will again become known when, by stretching forth His hand, He will execute vengeance on the Babylonians; then will the Jews, as well other nations, acknowledge that the world is governed by God's providence, as it had been once created by Him. We now understand his meaning, and why he says that the earth would be filled with the knowledge of God's glory; for the glory of God previously disappeared from the world, with regard to the perceptions of men; but it shone forth again when God Himself had erected His tribunal by overthrowing Babylon, and thereby proved that there is no power among men which He cannot control. We have the same sentence in Isaiah 11:9. The prophet then speaks, indeed, of the Kingdom of Christ; for when Christ was openly made known to the world, the knowledge of God's glory at the same time filled the earth; for God then appeared in His own living image. But yet our prophet uses a proper language when he says that the earth shall then be filled with the knowledge of God's glory, when He should execute vengeance on the Babylonians. Hence incorrectly have some applied this to the preaching of the Gospel, as though Habakkuk made a transition from the ruin of Babylon to the general judgment. This is (surely) a strained exposition. It is, indeed, a well known mode of speaking, and often occurs in the Psalms, that the power, grace, and truth of God are made known through the world, when He delivers His people and restrains the ungodly. The same mode the prophet now adopts; and he compares his fulness of knowledge to the waters of the sea, because the sea is so deep that there is no measuring of the waters. So Habakkuk intimates that the glory of God would be so much known that it would not only fill the world, but in a manner overflow it; as the waters of the sea by their vast quantity cover the deep, so the glory of God would fill heaven and earth, so as to have no limits. If, at the same time, there be a wish to extend this sentence to the coming of Christ, I do not object; for we know that the grace of redemption flowed in a perpetual stream until Christ appeared in the world. But the prophet, I have no doubt, sets forth here the greatness of God's power in the destruction of Babylon.

( John Calvin.)

If we seek at all times to trace the providences of God we shall often find that He makes His throne darkness to us; and from the thick darkness we hear a voice saying, "What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." But in tracing the operations of the word of His grace, and the state of His Church, we find this clearly made known. The eternal fiat has gone forth, "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

I. THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF THIS PROPHECY. The "glory of the Lord" has various meanings. A grand display of it was made when Moses and Aaron and the seventy elders were called up into the mount. Any particular visible display of God's presence was His glory. But the term has also reference to the Gospel. There was a glory attending the law, but this was much more glorious. It is more glorious than the law in its Author, His Person, and His work. The Gospel is peculiarly glorious above the law —

1. In its extent. If we look at former times we might perhaps think that God had selected a few — one family — as His peculiar treasure; but now we find this was only that the coming of the Messiah might be more clearly marked.

2. It re presents the Divine attributes more gloriously than the law. Majesty, justice, hatred of sin were shown. Here is the richest display both of grace and justice. Here God's glory is concentrated as in a focus.

3. It is more glorious as life and immortality are more clearly revealed "The knowledge," etc; This word has also various meanings. Sometimes it means "discrimination;" at others, "publication"; and when applied by a believer, it is full assurance. The knowledge in the text implies —

(1)Clearness;

(2)impression.All the theoretical displays of the Gospel are of no avail without the impression of its truth. The design of the Gospel is to change him who heartily believes it into its own nature. It is the glory of God, and it changes the soul from glory to glory, and makes it partaker of the Divine nature.

3. Performance. Believe and obey the Gospel. The sinner believes; the believer works.

4. This leads us to the universal tendency of this knowledge. Like leaven, it will work its way.

II. WHAT IS SAID CONCERNING THIS GLORY. The margin of some Bibles reads, "the channels of the sea."

1. Clearness. These channels are very deep; so is Divine science — not superficial.

2. Experience. The waters do touch every surface of land; they wash every shore. The glory of God shall be felt by every people.

3. Universal. The channels are effectually covered; so shall the world be filled.

III. REMARKS IN SUPPORT OF THE PROPHET'S DECLARATION.

1. God's covenant with Abraham. "All the families of the earth were to be blessed in him."

2. It was renewed to Isaac, Jacob, etc.; but especially to Jesus Christ.

3. It was the burden of all the prophecies.

4. See the commission of the apostles.

5. We may refer the accomplishment of this to the promised agency of the Holy Ghost.

6. We argue it from the effects which have been produced. Application —

(1)You are interested in this individually.

(2)See what God expects from us.

(J. Summerfield, A. M.)

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