One of the most feared “super powers” in the Old Testament was the Assyrian empire embodied by the great city of Nineveh. For ruthlessness and cruelty in war and the treatment of captives they earned a well deserved and horrific reputation.
Yet in the providence of God, as seen in the second chapter of Nahum, they were soon to come to the end of their chain.
Many countries fell before them and Judah looked certain to be next, but God had other plans. They who had rejoiced in the plunder would themselves be plundered. The mighty Assyrian empire would be payed back in its own coin and disappear into oblivion and shame.
For many, God’s work in providence is a great and perplexing deep. The Assyrians were followed by the Babylonians, the Babylonians by the Medo-Persians and so on and so forth through history. For every time of Blessing there was a time of trouble and trembling.
It does seem that God uses the “carrot and the stick” to bring His people into line. He gives great and precious promises to obedience and sometimes needs to send the Black dogs of sorrow and strife to bring His people back from their sinful wanderings and errors.
Lest we relegate this method of God’s working to Old Testament times, we should look at the history of the church up till the present day. How many great persecutions of the Church were there in the past and still happening today?
Trials and tribulations are necessary to purify the church from worldliness and doctrinal error. The professing people of God often lapse into a merely nominal Christianity marked by an attitude of just going through the motions.
The preaching of the Word gets replaced by gaudy ceremony and superstition or a sensual flesh pleasing worship devoid of substance.
The intercessory priesthood of Christ replaced by the money grubbing intercession of priests, angels and saints or as we see today a quid pro quo relationship with God.
How quickly is the synagogue of Satan foisted on ignorant people in place of the body of Christ?
Viewing much of the visible church at this time we are certainly due for a Divine wakeup call because of our prevailing love of ease and pleasure and selfishness, while the cause of God and truth languishes throughout the world.
I fear there may be some modern day “Assyrians” on the horizon. Yet we know that those who are true to Christ and are saints indeed will be preserved in life and death through His unfailing love.
“Many have passed the rocks of gross sins – who have suffered shipwreck upon the sands of self-righteousness.”
Someone asked George Whitefield whether he thought to see John Wesley in Heaven. Whitefield replied ” I do not think we will”. The man turned away thinking he recieved the reply he wanted. Whitefield continued
“The reason we will not see John Wesley in Heaven is because you and I will be so far away from Christ’s throne and he will be so near it ,that he will be lost in the radiance of Christ”.