Woe to the bloody city,
all full of lies and plunder—
no end to the prey!
The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot!
flashing sword and glittering spear,
hosts of slain,
heaps of corpses,
dead bodies without end—
they stumble over the bodies!
There is no easing your hurt;
your wound is grievous.
All who hear the news about you
clap their hands over you.
For upon whom has not come
your unceasing evil? Nahum 3:1-3, 19 ESV
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:4-5, 10-12 ESV
The Assyrian empire began as a small trading community in the city of Asshur, but over time it grew to be an empire that ruled much of the known world, and one reason the Assyrians were able to do that was because of their skillful and completely ruthless warfare. The Assyrians used professionally trained soldiers ready to fight at all times, smart fighting strategies, iron weapons, and war inventions such as siege engines and quickly-built bridges and tunnels. One of the big reasons they were so successful, though, was because they were cruel, hard fighters. Assyrian kings, after they conquered an area, often wrote: “I destroyed, devastated, and burned with fire.” The armies of Assyria caused misery and suffering wherever they went.
God allowed the Assyrians to rule the world for a time, but like all world powers, their empire came to an end. God spoke words of judgment through the prophet Nahum, telling the capital city of Nineveh that its rule was soon to be over. God was going to judge and punish the Assyrians for their violence and cruelty and for the hurt and destruction they had been causing for so long. People who had been conquered and devastated by the Assyrians would clap their hands with joy when they saw God’s judgment fall.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand why God allows things to happen the way they do, and why he lets evil people who hurt so many others have power. But God always brings evil and cruelty to an end, in time. The greatest evil powers of all were the powers of death and the devil. These powers caused terrible suffering to all people in the world, but God sent his Son Jesus to defeat all the evil that was hurting us. Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead to defeat death and the devil, and because of Jesus we are free from the power of sin. We can leave the evil in this world in God’s hands and let him deal with it in his own best time and way. Someday we will be completely free, and live with joy and peace in God’s heavenly kingdom forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for destroying the worst of sin and evil through our Savior, Jesus. In His Name, Amen.