Devastation, desolation, and destruction! These three words in Nahum 2:10 carry the same destined meaning of doom for the wicked city of Nineveh. The city and its king unabashedly celebrated violence and the spillage of blood. The more, the merrier. In her book Jonah And The Worm, Jill Briscoe pictured Assyrian chariots fitted with razor-sharp instruments “running the machine into defenceless crowds of people” and “slicing into the crowd, splattering bloody bits of people onto the ground!”
Nahum chapter two’s initial and concluding verses frame the chapter with God “against you”.
A shatterer has come up against you… (v1)
See, I am against you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke (v13)
I have communicated numerous Sunday messages on God with you and God for you. I don’t recall ever preparing a homily about God against you. But this is evidently Nahum 2’s message – God against you. God against the wickedness of Nineveh. God destroys the Assyrian Empire to make way for the impending restoration of his people despite their ravage and ruin (v2).
God is slow to anger but never indifferent towards depravity. Neutrality towards wickedness is evil. When King David heard of the rape of his daughter Tamar by her half-brother Amnon, he was angry but did nothing (2 Samuel 13:21). David’s neutrality spiralled into revengeful murders, audacious rebellions and fugitive chaos in his household and administration.
To begin with, what’s your view or perspective of oppression and inhumanity? I append a message received yesterday from a Ukrainian friend who served as a musician at Evangel when he and his family resided in Singapore. His message has a thumbprint of a New Testament letter filled with the centrality of Christ, the goodness of God, the need to discern deception and the fight against the invasion. May you be released from neutrality towards and recover conviction against evil and experience renewal in pursuing God’s original intention of wholeness for humankind.
(names and cities have been left out)
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are so grateful for all your support and prayers. Every day I am witnessing so many miracles. God is so great and good. He protects the weak and gives them His perfect shelter. We have been working hard to evacuate people from the east to the west, evacuating not only our church members but everybody who needs help. People of Ukraine are broken and seeking spiritual relief. Through the challenges, some people, even with atheistic views are open to listen to Gospel, and billboards by the roads proclaim the truth and quote verses from the Holy Bible.
My wife and children have been settling down in —–. One family has been taking care of them. My daughter already joined the swimming club, my son joined a local primary school in —–, and my wife started to work in the office.
—– has already become the main place for (my church) in Ukraine, and I also will be moving to this city during this weekend and resume my service in the worship band. I left all my musical instruments and other accessories in Kyiv. I wish to go there and take my gig back, but Kyiv Oblast still remains so dangerous to drive as Russian soldiers keep killing civilians on the roads.
Few words about the people of Russia. About 20 million Ukrainians have relatives in Russia. My wife’s cousin from Moscow just doesn’t want to hear the truth and facts. We used to have regular calls with Moscovian relatives in the past, but now she is so angry with them and doesn’t want to speak to them anymore. My extended family and my father has many cousins in Russia, but none of them is willing to hear the truth. Moreover, some of them are trying to justify this war and their president Putin. It is so painful to realise that this war will break so many ties with relatives who stay in Russia and keep justifying the act of terrorism. I fear that they are all moving into a darkness which is going to be worse than during USSR period of time. And this is very scary as we don’t know how this dark force will turn back for the entire Europe.
Our only hope is Jesus, and my prayer for people who have yet to meet Jesus and probably have some slim chance to hear the Gospel before death. I am praying for peace, our people and their resilience, willingness to fight for life and finding salvation and perfect peace in Jesus Christ. I remember all the beautiful days we spent in Singapore, remember my spiritual family that we have found in Evangel Family, remember my beloved worship team. Send my greeting to them and please stay strong as you always were.