Day 271: Nahum 1-3; Prophecy against Nineveh

It seemingly is a contradiction when God raises up a power in the world to use as a tool of His judgment only to bring forth a prophecy like this one about their coming demise.  If this is true, the whole book and prophecy of Nahum is a contradiction in terms, seeing God raise a nation only to smash it to pieces.  This isn’t, however, the first time that we’ve heard a prophecy or a reasoning for impending doom of Nineveh or the nation of Assyria which it was the capitol of.  And God has a perfectly good reason as well, one that has been cited for His own people’s impending judgment as well.  The simple fact is that God will not stand for any nation, no matter their purpose, who takes pride in their own physical strength, does evil before the Lord, and oppresses others.

Ultimately, God is working His will in all things.  History not some string of random events but rather the continuing revelation of God as He works His will and reveals Himself to His people.  Often times His workings are mysterious to us and we don’t understand why we go through what we go through.  When we look back on this though and remember the whole narrative of all that happened with the people of Israel, we can see how God is working to judge the Hebrews, but also make it known that He is God and He is almighty and in control.  No nation rises or falls without the will of God.  No military or political power can overpower the most high.  Whether He raises up a nation to be a tool of His work or He brings them low for their disobedience, God is the one that makes it happen; the one who ordains it all.

I do wonder about our own nation sometimes when I read things like this.  I don’t believe that Nahum was secretly referring to Washington or anything like that, but I do think that the words we read here do speak to our situation as a nation.  Personally, I don’t believe that the U.S. is a “Christian nation” in the way that Iran is an “Islamic” nation.  But it is abundantly clear that we have been blessed as a nation being arguably the strongest nation in the world just about every aspect that might involve a sort of “power” or “might” category.  Yet so often we act as though this was completely the result of our own works and our own ingenuity.  There is no nation or authority under heaven that is not raised up, or lowered by God.  This means that, no matter what we have accomplished as a nation, it is God who has blessed us and raised us up.  Are we going to glorify Him for that?  Or are we going to rest on our own works and “strength?”  It seems to me, as we continue in the prophets that we could learn something from these nations… that we need to truly acknowledge the true authority in this world… and it certainly isn’t us.



Day 191: Proverbs 29-31; Wisdom and Authority

Today I had planned on highlighting the wise sayings of other people, particularly that of Agur and King Lemuel, the two other major contributors to the book of Proverbs.  I made this decision, admittedly, before I read through today’s reading and now I am hear to tell you that we are going to change plans a little bit.  After reading through these chapters though, I noticed a specific theme that really came through as we end our journey through the book of Proverbs, the theme of having wisdom in places of authority (which also includes wisdom in dealing with those in authority over us.)

Now… this could easily turn into a governmental rant with political convictions spouting off political jargon and dogma towards one side or another, something I intend not to allow happen in my writing here.  These verses in Proverbs are not about whether we should be a democrat or a republican.  They also weren’t written for us to use as little darts to throw at a particular political philosophy, agenda, or bill as a way of proving oneself to be in the right while they are in the wrong.  While it is true that many of these and other proverbs speak of the foolish things that wicked and foolish rulers do, I would contend that one of the main thrusts of the Proverbs is to make sure that you are wise in your dealings with them.

In fact, if you really look at these proverbs, it isn’t at all about proving someone else is in the wrong, but more about making sure that you yourself are acting and being wise in the things that you do.  Solomon says again and again that foolish people will be caught in their own folly.  I think we can see this clearly as a great many governmental scandals continue to come into the light.  Whether or not these are pinned on President Obama is besides the point, it is abundantly clear that those in charge of these different sections were quite foolish in their actions and now have to operate within the brokenness of their credibility.

One particular verse that caught my attention, while we are on this subject, was Proverbs 29:4.  After the last presidential election there were a whole lot of accusations that the democratic party gave out gifts to people to get them to vote democrat.  Republicans, some of them at least, even went so far as to say that this was the reason that President Obama won again.  Whether or not this is true is not the point I am trying to make here at all.  But this verse does speak to that: “By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.”  In this same light I think of so many of the things that have happened during past presidencies: Obama Care, more entitlements, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, etc. etc.  The list could go on and on… but perhaps we should be asking whether our government, whether local, state, or national is governing with justice in mind…  some would say “yes, it is unjust for people to suffer without some of these things.”  Others would say, “No, people need to work hard for what they have.”  Both sides, I think, would have Biblical support for their argument.

The question then is, are we being wise in what we do?  Are we being wise in how we govern?  Are we being wise in how we are governed?  Even this falls under Solomon’s Thesis statement: “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  Are we honoring God in what we do?  What we say?  How we lead?  How we follow?

The end of the book of Proverbs is very telling.  All throughout the book Solomon has been making the comparison between Lady Wisdom and lady folly.  He ends the book by telling the end of the story, the Son he spoke to chose wisdom and the result are as follows.  While  this too can be the ideal of a wife to live up to, it is just as much the description of one lives their life in the ways of wisdom, in the way of fearing and honor the Lord.  May it be so for us in all that we do.