God and "Them" and "Us"
Lord, You are my hope and my salvation. I have no reason to fear because You are my God.
Read Nahum 2:1-13
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
The Quaker saying, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” seems quite appropriate here.
In my lifetime the world has seen several regimes and tyrants so cruel and corrupt that, when they eventually fell, the whole world rejoiced. Nahum 3:19 tells us that this is what will happen with Nineveh. Chapter 3 adds to the information already given and well supported by external evidence about how awful the Assyrian regime was. The poetic description of their fall and the sense of reveling in their destruction found in ch. 2 must be seen in that context. Yes, it does sound very different from the “turn the other cheek” teaching of Jesus (Matt. 5:39; Luke 6:29). As Christians, our first response should always be to return kindness for cruelty, and vengeance should always be left to God (Rom. 12:19; Nah. 1:2). That does not mean that fighting against oppression and injustice is the wrong thing to do, particularly when the oppression involves terrible ill-treatment of those unable to protect themselves.
Having said that, it is important to recognize that Nahum never actually calls on Israel to fight Nineveh. He simply assures them that God will eventually do so on their behalf. Nineveh’s destruction will be a judgment on their sin, but also provides evidence of God’s concern for Israel. The destruction that Nineveh caused within Israel will be reversed and their previous “splendor” restored (2). Nahum, like all the prophets, would have been very aware that such restoration would be dependent on Israel herself remaining true to God (1:12 shows his understanding that their own destruction had been caused by God as a result of their own sin); yet, that is not the point he wants to make here. The primary purpose of this prophecy about the destruction of an evil regime is to bring renewed strength and comfort to those who have suffered from that regime.
What candles of hope can you light in your world? What can you do to oppose cruelty and injustice?
Lord, help me trust Your ability to deal with cruel oppression, to know when I should leave it to You, and when and how to join You in the fight.
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