There’s Hope in Mercy
If you were to look up the subject of torture, you may come across the works of the Assyrians. One Historian wrote the following about their ancient torture methods.
In the ancient Far East, where there were large states peopled by many different ethnicities, leaders demonstrated their might by inventing ingenious new tortures and agonizing methods of execution — as a way to keep the population obedient. But the Assyrians seem to have been the masters of brutality. They were also extremely verbose about the grisly ends they wreaked upon their enemies. (Schulz, M. (2009, May 15).
Some of their torturous ways included but were not limited to: Cutting the skins of their enemies into strips and pealing it from their bodies while they were still alive. Impaling people on stakes and leaving them to suffer a slow and painful death. Burning babies and children of their captives alive. We have seen many atrocious things committed by mankind over the years yet, I do not believe that we have witnessed anything as gruesome as the Assyrian torture tactics.
Engage in another search, this time focus on a place that was infamous for debauchery and immorality. Sodom and Gomorrah should rise to the top of that search with ease. The names of these two cities are synonymous with profligacy and homosexuality. The debauch state of the individuals residing in these cities is highlighted in the account of its destruction.
The Lord sent two angels to rescue Lot from Sodom’s impending destruction and when they came to the city the following is recorded. Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them” Genesis 19:1-5. All the men of the city came out in an attempt to sexually assault Lot’s guests. Even being struck blind did not deter them from trying to accomplish their malicious purpose (Genesis 19:11). Now, what does the reader suppose God’s response was to these people? Moreover, what would your rejoinder be to these individuals like the Assyrians and Sodomites?
To the Assyrians, God sent a prophet. Wicked and torturous as they were, God desired the Assyrian’s salvation. Subsequently, He sent Jonah to preach a message of repentance (Jonah 1:1-2). At first, Jonah was unwilling to deliver this message, sighting his knowledge of God’s mercy as the primary reason for his refusal (Jonah 4:2). The Lord answered Jonah’s grievances in the following way. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left–and much livestock, Jonah 4:11. Wicked as they were, the Lord considered how great the city was, its physical structure, the resources in that city, and the innocent who resided there.
With Sodom and Gomorrah, God listened to a patriarch. Upon hearing of Sodom’s impending doom, the patriarch Abraham interceded for the righteous in that city. Abraham engaged in a conversation with the Lord wanting to know the sum of righteous people required to save it. (Genesis 18:23-32). Abraham’s tally of the righteous kept decreasing but the Lord’s response was consistent, I will not destroy it for the sake of ten, Genesis 18:32. God was willing to spare the wretched Sodom, Gomorrah and surrounding cities if there were righteous people present.
Our country has certainly seen its fair share of immorality and wickedness. Innocent ones are brutally murdered in the womb. Some are vehemently fighting to protect their “right” to murder per Roe v. Wade. Just like Sodom, we too are a society that has made homosexual abominations acceptable. Men with men and women with women doing that which is unnatural and shameful (Romans 1:27). Even as I write this, lawlessness and a blatant disregard for humanity seem to be commonplace in our nation. Is there any hope for this country? If we go by the principles of God’s character, the answer is a resounding yes. To our nation, God has sent proclaimers with a message of repentance in hope of salvation and transformation (Cf. Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, Romans 12:1-2). Furthermore, in our nation, there are more than ten righteous individuals. If God was willing to be merciful to Sodom would his mercy not extend to us as well? Before we give up on the salvation of this nation before we embody the spirit of Jonah may we remember that God’s view of the wicked has not changed. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live, Ezekiel 18:23? Let us work in conjunction with the sentiments of God and remember there is always hope in mercy.
Schulz, M. (2009, May 15). The Worst Ways to Die: Torture Practices of the Ancient World – SPIEGEL ONLINE – International. Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-worst-ways-to-die-torture-practices-of-the-ancient-world-a-625172.html