In Habakkuk 1, Habakkuk wonders why God lets the wicked prosper. His answer? They don’t.
Sure, they seem to succeed for a while. But all they gain will never be enough:
“He is as greedy as the grave
And like death is never satisfied”
Those who want money can never earn enough: those who crave power always crave more. Even as Christians we experience this when we fall into sin: our sins will bloat up if we let them as we look for some easy pleasure, but always find less than last time.
But even their material success will not last. Those who destroy may be destroyed in their turn. “Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you.” Habakkuk 2:8. This is pretty clearly foreshadows what happens in Daniel: the Medes and Persions take over the oppressive Babylonian empire. Even if the destroyers are not destroyed by earthly foes, it won’t matter, because:
“Has not the Lord Almighty determined
that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
That the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?”
The goods we build up on earth, the empires or riches we build, the unedifying stories we write have no eternal value. Earthly living is pointless, because Earth is only here for an eye blink. The gods of this world are lifeless and meaningless: they cannot save. They cannot even breath. “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?” Habakkuk 2:18.
All the money, all the power, all the fame, will come to nothing in the end, and could be taken even before then. And God doesn’t even deal much with eternal punishment here. The emphasis is on the temporal, and makes it clear that the prosperity of the wicked is a mere illusion. They may have riches and power, but they have none of that which truly matters, and even their meager estate will be taken away. “The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.” Habakkuk 2:16