Tuesday, June 7, 2011

History Lessons

Today's passage:  Nahum 2/Daniel 5
     "He shall recount his worthies:  they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared.
     The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved."
     I chuckled a little when I read this.  Assyria is in serious trouble.  The king of Babylon (at this time Nabopolassar, the father of Daniel's Nebudchadnezzar) is defeating Nineveh.  Chariots battle in the streets, soldier's shields are blood stained, houses are looted.  It is a mess.  The king of Assyria (or more likely his general) needs to count how many troops he has left.  The ones still standing are barely so.  Many are dead, many have casualties too severe to continue to fight.  Why would any of this be funny?  It isn't.  I was not chuckling because of the subject matter, but because I was in disbelief at what I read next.  Nineveh had some strong walls.  They seemed impenetrable.  They were surrounded by water (think castle moat).  History and the verse above tells us that Nabopolassar channeled the water so that the moat surrounding the walls was drained and his soldiers could march into the city under the walls.  I know, what's funny about that?
     Remember the passage in Daniel with the writing upon the wall?  Belshazzar (Nebudchadnezzar's grandson) has a drunken feast with the temple utensils.  He pales when he sees a rather large unattached hand writing on his banquet room wall.  Daniel is called in to interpret the message.  He tells them that Belshazzar's reign has ended, that the Persians will conquer Babylon.  In fact, as Daniel is giving this message, Medo-Persian soldiers are battling outside.  And how did they manage to penetrate Nebudchadnezzar's famed walls surrounded by water?  They borrowed from Babylon's own Nabopolassar's brilliant military strategy.  They redirected the water which drained the moat so that they could march right in.  Babylon had not learned from Assyria's mistakes.  And what led to this?  As is almost always the case, pride and carelessness. 
     When I have an I'm-too-wise-to-fall-into-trouble attitude, I will almost always fall.  When others stumble and fall, I don't rejoice, but I do observe and try to sidestep those same pitfalls.  Am I too proud to learn from previous mistakes?  Am I too careless to observe?  I need to always be on guard, because Satan would like nothing more than to take me down..  Lord, help me guard the walls of my heart, so Satan has no opportunity to march under and defeat me.  Help me never to be so proud that I cannot still learn something, give me a teachable spirit.  Help me to never be so careless that I'm not on the lookout for Satan's attacks.  I do not want to repeat history, I want to learn from it.

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