Tuesday Devotion, February 16
1 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed. 2 But Lord, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. 3 The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee! 4 Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped! 5 Though the Lord is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness. 6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.
7 But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment. 8 Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone. 9 The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered. 10 But the Lord says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might. 11 You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you. 12 Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire. 13 Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
I wonder how oppressed people feel when they are freed from oppression. The Bible, at least in my readings, seems to consistently show the oppressed gloat at the oppressors misfortune... except for Jesus. When those who bully you fall, how do you feel? What do you do? Justice is rarely pretty for those who had been unjust. Maybe, we can pray for our bullies and enemies. Maybe we can pray that they can receive the full blessing of God and be agents of peace and justice.
Lord God, please set the oppressed free, but also the oppressors... for they need your love too. May we all become your agents of grace. Amen.