Text: Nahum 1:15-2:12
To trust God in all times and places
To be bold in prayer for our enemies To be merciful
THIS SHORT ORACLE, written in Hebrew in styles of poetry familiar to that time in Israel’s life, is a challenge to us on two levels.
The first is that Nahum is clear about who is in control of history. The Lord, the Mighty God—he is in control. Nahum sees the Assyrians, but we could replace Assyrians with any people, nation, or force and say the same: they are not in control, God is, and there will be a reckoning, a reversal, a setting things to rights. When we are tempted to despair in the face of history or culture or work or personal relationships, we must not forget that God has both us and all of creation in his capable hands.
The second is that Nahum leavens his praise for the Lord with praise for Judah. Nahum clearly sees the sins of his enemies; his sight is cloudy when he looks at his own people’s situation. Assyria was unleashed because God—remember him? The one in control? —had deemed the sins polluting the land of Israel to finally require a reckoning.
God has set things to rights by sending the Son, on whom all the wrath that Nahum saw has been poured out. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). The great danger for any of us is to think that the judgment of God is in our hands, that we see clearly who the enemy is and where the reckoning will fall, and never think that we are the ones needing to be set right.
Even as we pray and work for justice, we should also pray and work for mercy—for those we deem our enemies and for ourselves.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks