Transforming Oppressive Structures
Carmel MTC, Boston MA
The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust him. But he will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night… Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck and tear off the chains of Assyrian oppression.” (Nahum 1:7-8; 13)
Is our society at a critical juncture today? If you turn on the news, you are inundated with violence, calamities, strife and hunger. We see more and more images of suicide bombers, school shootings, and violence between religious groups. We hear of our struggling economy, high unemployment rates, and increasing poverty levels. Even if you take a look at the U.S. presidential elections, we are left with mud-slinging, insults, a sense of entitlement and arrogance. Worse of all, we are becoming increasingly desensitized to all this in our society. Is this an indication of a doomed nation?
In the Bible, Nineveh was also at a critical juncture. Nineveh was the capital of the mighty Assyrian empire known to be center of commerce and trade. The Assyrians were proud in their self-sufficiency and military might that they ruthlessly plundered, oppressed and slaughtered their enemies. They had destroyed Israel and taken many inhabitants of the land captive. One hundred and fifty years earlier, Jonah had warned Nineveh against God’s wrath and they had repented. God, in his mercy, had relented. However, the effect of Jonah’s preaching was temporary and the repentance was short lived and superficial. Assyrians went back to their sinful ways. God took notice and through the prophet Nahum, declared the utter destruction and desolation of Nineveh.This prophecy was a comfort to the Judean people as they were the victims of the Assyrian barbarity, cruelty, and domination. The prophesy of the destruction indicated that God was still in control and He is sovereign to all nations. Although God used the Assyrians to discipline Israel when Israel first turned away from Him, the Assyrians now also spurned God’s mercy and authority. The prophesy of Nineveh’s destruction provided comfort to the Judean people that God knew they were contrite, once again faithful and trusted Him once more. It demonstrated that God’s mercy is contingent upon man’s obedience, and God’s judgment can be averted by repentance. God always provides redemption and He will always be merciful if His people will listen and heed Him.
PRAYERLord ,we acknowledge our sinful nature and we come in to Your presence to ask for mercy and guidance. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5