Day 338: Nahum 1, Psalm 124, Mark 2 – The Rev. Dr. John Yieh

Nahum 1, Psalm 124, Mark 2
In today’s Old Testament reading, Nahum’s oracle is a judgment against Nineveh but a
comfort to Israel. The metropolis of Nineveh enjoyed power, prestige, and prosperity, but
it was also the center of idolatry, evil, and violence that brutalized God’s people trying
to live righteously. God will not look away from his suffering people, however, and will
relentlessly punish their wicked oppressors. As Nahum says, God’s marvelous way can be
seen in whirlwind and storm. God rebukes the sea, and it becomes dry. The mountains
quake before God, and the hills melt. Before the Creator God, even the mightiest city
cannot escape its due punishment. Thus the prophet declares, “A jealous and avenging
God is the Lord” (Nahum 1:2) and challenges any opponent of God saying, “Who can
stand before his indignation?” (v. 6).
Seeing violence and wars destroying innocent lives, we often feel helpless and hopeless.
No one seems able or willing to do anything about it. But Nahum’s oracle reassures us
of God’s justice. Evil will not last forever. God’s people can be confident of God’s plan
to mend the world and vindicate their plight; even though they are not exempt from
misfortune, they can always count on God’s protection. As the psalmist says, “We have
escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers” (Psalm 124:7). It is in such salvation
moments that we learn to sing in praise even as we face new ordeals: “Our help is in the
name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (v. 8).
Jesus is also powerful and merciful. He brings justice to his people by casting out demons
with a single command and reveals his grace by healing those suffering from all kinds
of illness. In Mark 2, he holds the divine authority to forgive sins and is the lord of the
sabbath. Why is Jesus Christ so kind to us, the sin-stricken, the weary, and the heavily
burdened? Thanks be to God! It is the sheer grace of God.
New wine needs new wineskins. What
new frame of mind should you have in
order to appreciate God’s justice and
grace as shown in Jesus Christ?
Gracious Lord, you render justice to the
wicked and show mercy to those who
take shelter in you. Give us new hearts
that we may understand the depth of your
grace and follow Jesus Christ to share your
goodness with people around us, that they
may also love you. Amen.