Monday, September 29, 2008

Nahum and the Bail Out

Ok you may be looking at the title of this blog and thinking to yourself what in the heck is this blog going to be about. Nahum is the name of an Old Testament book named after a prophet. The bail out of course is a reference to the financial "crisis" and the proposed 700 billion dollar bail out. So your asking yourself what do these two things have to do with each other.

Nahum (the book) is about the message of God sent through the prophet Nahum to the Assyrians whose capital was Nineveh. A century earlier, Nineveh had been at the center of the controversy surrounding God's commands to Jonah. Jonah refused to go to Nineveh but after much convincing by God, he finally went. The people of Nineveh listened to the message and turned to God who spared them. God blessed them and they were a huge empire. By Nahum's time, The Assyrian empire was a force of unstoppable might. They had conquered the Kingdom of Israel and were laying siege to Judah. Evidently they had forgotten about the message Jonah had sent them and were now a nation of evil rulers and pride. They had an army that caused every one to tremble. In the eyes of most of the world, they were a super power. But their kings became greedy and selfish. They became filled with pride. They were also beginning to get stretched thin in the regions fighting as far south as Egypt. Most importantly they had turned their back to God. So God sent the prophet Nahum with a message. This message was quick and to the point. God was going to destroy them. It was basically the same message that Jonah had brought a century earlier. But this time they didn't listen. Within 50 years Assyria would be laid waste by Babylon. Nineveh would cease to exist. In fact the destruction was so bad that for many years, archaeologists were hard pressed to find any traces of this great empire. In more recent years, archaeologists are able to piece together the last days of Nineveh.

Here is a passage from Nahum 1:2,3:
God is serious business.
He won't be trifled with.
He avenges his foes.
He stands up against his enemies, fierce and raging.
But God doesn't lose his temper.
He's powerful, but it's a patient power.
Still, no one gets by with anything.
Sooner or later, everyone pays.

We learn that God is patient. Elsewhere in the Bible we are told that God is patient not wanting any to perish. I am very thankful for His patience. Often times I wonder why God doesn't punish evil more quickly but then I look at my own life and realize that everyone would perish if He wasn't patient. But there does come a point that God's patients runs out. Sooner or later He will be just.

That brings us to our present situation. The United States stands alone as the superpower in the world. We have a past of turning to God just like Nineveh. But we are also in a point where pride can take over. Corporate greed and power hungry politicians have created a mess. And we are now seeing the fruits of this corruption. Wall street is struggling and our economy is sinking.
We have a problem were the poor and homeless are being preyed upon. Politicians talk about helping the poor but really are using them as a means to power. Now we have congress freaking out and in order to fix a broken system they are going mess with it even more. This bail out might work in the short run but soon or later everyone pays.

Two things need to happen.
1. We as Christians need to be a light in our country. We can not expect to push our every belief on the country but we can hold our politicians to a code of justice, moral behavior, and integrity. We need to pray for our country and our country needs to become a place where the justice and integrity are our motto. Otherwise we will fall just like Nineveh. Every unstoppable empire in history has fallen but God's truth remains.

2. Specifically in this problem, we need to learn from the past with wisdom. Quick outs are not going to work. It is government that created this problem, more of it won't solve anything. A true free market is the moral road to take. If we let these companies that were greedy fall it might hurt the economy in the short run but it will be a deterrent for future greedy practices. The free market works itself out because people will not want to repeat bad business practices. A bail out will only prolong the suffering and eventually we will pay a lot more.

In conclusion, America can stand and fall by how we react to God's law. Are we acting justly and with integrity in how we treat other countries. Are we acting justly and with integrity in how we deal with financial problems. Or are we going to push the mistakes of greedy people into the hands of all the people? Most importantly are we going to look to God for guidance or to our own pride. If we continue to look to ourselves and pride for the answers, this financial crisis is going to be a picnic compared to the judgment eventually handed down by God.

Nahum 1: 7
God is good,
a hiding place in tough times.
He recognizes and welcomes
anyone looking for help,
No matter how desperate the trouble.
But cozy islands of escape
He wipes right off the map.
No one gets away from God.

God is good. Even in the midst of his judgment to Nineveh we see His love.
But the end is so fitting. We can't look for what appears to be the easy way out.

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