Friday, February 13, 2015

Nahum 1:6-11

v. 6-11 "Who can withstand his indignation?
Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
the rocks are shattered before him.

The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh;
he will pursue his foes into darkness.

Whatever they plot against the Lord 
he will bring to an end;
trouble will not come a second time.
They will be entangled among thorns
and drunk from their wine;
they will be consumed like dry stubble.
From you, O Nineveh, has one come forth
who plots evil against the Lord 
and counsels wickedness."

I hope all my sweet friends, that would be you, are having a wonderful day today.  Where I am it is raining and very cold.  Not a fun day to be out so I am glad that I am inside where it is warm and I can be away from the elements.  God is the covering over our head, like my house that keeps me warm in the winter.  God is protective by nature, yet you can clearly see that He will act against evil like the authoritative power that He is.

The word indignation means: strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting; a righteous anger.  This wonderful book is a warning and a blessing to all of us.  We should make good decisions and try to stay away from harmful choices.  The verse that says "trouble will not come a second time" is one of those that just jumps out at me.  There is a finality here that doesn't seem to be in the book of Jonah.  They have had long enough to turn from their evil ways and now it is time to make things right.  The book of Jonah is so focused on Jonah's story that there isn't much said about Nineveh, here the prophet does not hold back.

Warning: If you are enjoying your cup of coffee and looking forward to a peaceful post, this is not that day.

Does it seem like God is being mean here?  Let me tell why I think He was justified in His anger, which He always is.  Looking into the history of the kings of Nineveh is overwhelming.  King Ashurbanipal was from a long line of rulers that were extremely brutal.

Some of the things that the kings of Nineveh did are:
  • beheaded enemies
  • disemboweled, probably while alive
  • skinned people alive
  • hung naked enemies or their heads on poles
  • took captives by chains on their feet and/or noses 
  • cut out tongues
  • made their captives grind the bones of their ancestors
What does this list all have in common?  Nineveh ran on fear and complete submission to the king.  Skinning people alive is just one of those things that are really hard to comprehend.  The last thing about grinding bones was a mentally and emotionally abusive torture tactic.  Many people from that time period held the belief that their ancestors bones were sacred.  Grinding the bones would have been unthinkable.  It erases their family line, takes away their ancestral voice.  Just like the Jews in WWII where given numbers or the slaves in America were not named on the census inventory for a plantation owner.  Truly a cruel act to erase people's identity.

I'm not trying to ruin your day, but I am not one to ignore history.  This research is not what I would call fun.  Although, it is necessary to see why God had a justified right to His anger towards Nineveh.  There is a famous quote about if we ignore our history we are doomed to repeat it.  When we go along as if nothing is happening or has ever happened bad then we deceive ourselves.  I do not want a re-branding of our history to only show the good things we have done.  We NEED to look at the history of all people to learn lessons from wicked leaders and to see hope in the people that decided to take a stand for what is right.

Just reading about the way these kings conducted their kingdom is appalling.  The British Museum has many of the reliefs that had been found in Nineveh.  The pictures were meant to boast about their rulers and probably scare people visiting the kingdom.  One would think that Nahum heard about the drawings of death that were on the palace walls.  Unfortunately, this moment in history is not unusual or more violent than many others.  It's sad to think evil with power has gone on for most of human history and in some parts of the world is going on right now.  

The one who has come forth to plot evil against the Lord seems to be talking about just one person.  During Nahum's life Ashurbanipal was king.  I think that in a long line of evil rulers, this "one" refers to the legacy of many cruel leaders.

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