Making and worshipping an idol is foolishness and a lie, because a manmade image can never truthfully represent the Eternal God. For a son of God, worshipping idols is irrational (Acts 17:29); to look to something physical as important or more important than God defies all wisdom. The way the world looks to physical objects is superstition (e.g., good luck charms, religious crosses, shrines).
Martin G. Collins
The Second Commandment
Fifth Woe: Idolatry, particularly the second commandment, as God speaks mainly about graven images. Obviously, the first commandment also applies.
One can almost picture God pronouncing this woe with a shake of the head. How can any people be so stupid as to worship a gold- or silver-covered block of wood or stone? The idol is not even alive, much less can it give blessings or help in time of need! Yet, God is alive and active in the affairs of men. He is sovereign, sitting on His throne in heaven, and all everyone on earth should stand before Him in awed reverence. As Jesus says, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
This section is part of God's answer to the prophet's second question, and it is primarily directed at the particular circumstances of Habakkuk's day regarding the Chaldeans. Obviously, we can derive symbolic spiritual meaning regarding ourselves and modern-day Babylonians. The passage, verses 5 through 20, is a series of five woes that God pronounces on the Chaldeans for their particular sins. The five woes are five particular infractions of the commandments that God promises to punish them for, and in the end, this consoles Habakkuk. Knowing that the Chaldeans would not get away with their depradations of Judah, he is reassured that this was indeed the God he knew and understood. The Chaldeans would get what was coming to them.
These five woes succinctly describe modern society, which in the church we call Babylon. God chooses to describe these particular sins of Babylon, and their primary theme is gain, filthy lucre. It is no coincidence that our modern society is founded on the same shaky foundation. Everybody wants to get his "due" however he can. He will get it by oppressing others, by plotting and coveting, by promoting violence, by promoting debauchery and getting other people in trouble and shaming them, and so forth. Their idol, of course, is gain.
This passage, then, has present-day implications. Just like Habakkuk, we can be comforted that, though the wicked seem to have the upper hand now, God is not blind to what they are doing. He has seen their wickedness, and they will have to give a full account for their evil deeds.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh