If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 5:1–6:11, 1 John 4, Nahum 3, Luke 19. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Nahum 3.
As we read yesterday in Nahum 2 and again today in chapter 3, God’s judgment on Ninevah was mostly due to their extreme violence. Remember that God’s law--imprinted in our consciences and written in his word--is the standard by which we are judged. It is impossible to keep the law of God because of our sin natures but that does not exempt us from accountability to the Lord and judgment by the Lord for breaking his laws. What our inability to keep his laws requires is his grace. Christ secured that grace by taking our penalty on the cross and he forgives us by grace when we trust in Christ’s crossword for us.
So the kings and people of Nineveh were responsible before God and guilty before him for all the nations they attacked without cause and the soldiers and civilians who were killed by their military aggression. Verse 1 here in Nahum 3 describes this city as “the city of blood.” Verses 2-3a vividly depict their powerful armies and verse 3b detailed the results of their attacks: “Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses...” Verses 5-19 warn this wicked city and her king (v. 18) of God’s impending humiliation (vv. 4-7) and defeat of Nineveh. The prosperity that the Assyrians enjoyed at that moment would be stripped from them like locusts decimating a farm (vv. 16-17).
Warfare and tyranny run through the history of humanity. As “civilization” has advanced, technology has improved our lives and, simultaneously, made the killing and destruction of war more efficient and massive. I was thinking about this after hearing the news of Fidel Castro’s death. Castro killed thousands of people directly by execution and indirectly as his own people tried to flee his repressive, violent regime. He will have much to answer for on the day of judgment and I expect the Lord will hold the world leaders and opinion-makers accountable who are now praising him after his death.
We should consider, too, how our country wages war. Although we do not take over countries and enslave them the way that the Assyrians did, it is my opinion that the American presidents are far too quick to send troops into other nations. Our leaders use military might to advance their political agendas. In the process, they have sacrificed too many American soldiers, too many soldiers from foreign lands who were forced into service by their government or merely wanted to defend their land against our invading armies, and too many civilians. Passages like this one in Nahum call world leaders to be careful about waging war and to repent for too many wars that were and are unjust. As American citizens, we should do what we can to hold our leaders accountable for how recklessly and needlessly they wage war and provide weapons to foreign governments. God is watching; if he held Nineveh accountable for her unjust wars, what will he do to us?
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.