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September 19 – Terrible wrath and greater mercy

Yet she became an exile; she went into captivity; her infants were dashed to pieces at the head of every street; for her honored men lots were cast, and all her great men were bound in chains. – Nahum 3:10

Scripture reading: Ezekiel 33:1-20

The hammer blows continue to fall on Nineveh as the prophet of the LORD declares the terrors that will come to her. But isn’t this Sunday, the day people are supposed to celebrate the LORD and focus on His love? Why read such despicable things?

Remember the warning of God is meant to be merciful. Those who hear His words of coming judgment can repent. Also, the warning is clear—as Thebes, also known as No-Amon, famous for being unconquerable, fell to the Assyrians, so too the Assyrians and their capital, Nineveh, will fall.

But the description of infants dashed to pieces, surely that is not righteous?! It is what the Assyrian army inflicted on those they conquered. It was all part of the campaign of “shock and awe.” So terrible was the assault of the Assyrian army against its enemies that those defeated would shudder to remember it and refuse to rise up in rebellion. Now, with the same cruelties they inflicted against their enemies, these things will happen to the Assyrians.

Why declare these things on a Sunday? Because the LORD our God has rescued us from His wrath through Jesus Christ. Though our sins should have risen as stench to His nostrils, we are, in fact, named the fragrance of Christ—His righteousness is ours. We live in a land that murders babies in the womb. Seniors and those who are ill can be crudely dispatched, and it is named “euthanasia”. As those who are redeemed, we urgently call others from the judgment that is approaching.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the LORD for the greatness of His salvation and urgently pray for our land. May the Word bring great repentance and waves of people seeking His mercy.

Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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