….You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall (Isaiah 25:4 NKJV)
Right up to the Jihadists of today, the tides of history show up the astonishing inability of violent power-mad men to learn from the past. ‘Only with guns,’ wrote Chairman Mao, ‘can the whole world be transformed’ (Mao’s Thoughts, page 61). The Jihadists too have fallen to the lie - oblivious to posterity’s verdict that resorting to violence to win your case is a candid admission that you have already lost the argument.
In Isaiah’s time it was the Assyrians. Their supreme weapon was Terror; inspired by their distorted religious beliefs. By enslavement and exile, butchery, mutilations and beheadings, their aim was universal domination. Yet, despite the ‘blast’ threatened by their unremitting violence, the prophet predicted that this would eventually come to nothing as against ‘the wall’ that represented the stronghold of God’s rule.
And so it proved. Assyria’s capital fortress-city of Nineveh was taken in August 612 BC, by a coalition of Babylonians and Medes. The vivid Bible book of Nahum prophesied its downfall in amazing detail, as was confirmed later by nineteenth century archaeologists. Nahum foresaw the coming disaster as the judgment of God, in the words “I will leave you no prey on the earth.” For centuries to come, all that was left of Nineveh was a mound - Tell Kunyunjik – ‘The mound of many sheep.’
Its later name was Mosul – a modern city which today’s Jihadists have battled to make their own. Their weapon is the gun. The greater weapon by far is prayer by God’s people to Christ, the long-prophesied Son of Man. The New King James Version gives us the true reading of Isaiah 32:2 in the words, ‘A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest …. as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’
‘It is prayer,’ wrote Jacques Ellul, ‘and prayer alone
that can make history’