Ben and I read the Bible together off and on, maybe every few days. Right now we’re in Isaiah.
I love Isaiah. Well, parts of it. It’s essentially a book of prophecies; some of them are really uplifting, and some of them are…well, not. Because they’re about what was going to happen to the countries that were beating Israel up.
Which is understandable. If you’re a parent, you’d probably want to go trounce any kid who messed with your kid.
So we came to one of these sections of prophecy, this one against Babylon. And boy, it was graphic.
Initially, we talked about skipping it. But Ben said, “Well, it’s in the Bible.” He was right. I’m in the process of reading the whole thing on my own, and I can’t just skip the parts I don’t like. So we read it.
I did not like it.
It made me mad.
It seemed so harsh, so angry, so not in tune with the God I know. And yet, I know they are one and the same. He’s spoken to me, he’s in my heart, I just know. And I also know that he is love.
So how does that work?
To tell the truth, I don’t exactly know. But it made me think.
Scripture repeats several times that the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
Scripture also says that God was prepared to spare Sodom if only a handful of good people were left in it.
Which means two things:
1. Babylon was hideously corrupt.
2. God will show compassion for the sake of a few.
God also spared Nineveh because they repented. If the Babylonians had repented in response to this prophecy…I believe God would’ve shown mercy:
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
There’s definitely precedent for that.
Do I still struggle with the content of those prophecies? Yes. But as I said before, the struggle is part of my relationship with God. And as we struggle, our bond grows stronger.
And the more I know of him, the more I am convinced that he is good.