“Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!” God is the One, the only one, who brings lasting peace to the world. This passage comes at the end of chapter 1 of the Book of Nahum in some translations, and at the beginning of chapter 2 in others. Nahum is prophesying the fall of the hateful city of Nineveh here. Nineveh, the capital of cruel, ruthless, and savage Assyria had brought so much death and destruction to Israel. But Nahum is not a prophet of revenge. Rather, he asserts that it is God’s moral government of the world that brings about real peace. History has shown that we can not put our trust in human leadership to bring about the real and lasting peace that our hearts yearn for, no matter how noble and righteous a given leader might be, or pretend to be. Only the Lord God Almighty has the ability to do that.
The truth at the core of all Christian moral knowledge is that we are all sinners. Even the most righteous among us is still a sinner. They understand that they can do no real good without God’s grace, that God alone is the source of their strength and their peace. Their greatest virtue is humility. This is why we see them as saintly. They are unlike most of us. They stand out. And this often makes them targets.
History has shown us that there have always been wars and, we can assume quite accurately, that there will be wars yet to come. Why is this so? The truth is that most of us are not saints. Many do not know God sufficiently yet, and have not yet fully submitted to his loving will for them. There are some who use what THEY determine to be God’s will for their own selfish purposes. And there are some few who, sadly, consider themselves gods unto themselves. These tend to paint all others as either inconsequential “nothings” in comparison to themselves, or worse, as evil, and will do whatever they feel is necessary to destroy, or be rid of the other. Does this sound familiar? This has always been so, from the time that Nahum is talking about here with Nineveh, up to our own time where those who put all their hopes and dreams in political “saviors” find their opponents as troublesome, pointless, disturbing, or outright evil enemies. With these there can be no dialogue, only victory at any cost. This is because God has been forgotten, and replaced by mere earthly thinking.
As Christians we know that it is our submission to the will of God in all things that brings about the only true and lasting peace and happiness. It is the paradox that we live in. In becoming servants to the One who is Love, we become free. We are called on to recognize that Jesus Christ is the One whose feet bring the good news of salvation and peace. He is the very source of the peace we all desire. It is his love and mercy that have pushed back the darkness of the sinful and suffering world. It is when we come to know Jesus personally and understand and accept his will for us, that we begin to find the peace that is eternal, the peace that transcends the suffering of this world. Yes, even in the midst of that suffering. And we are called on by Jesus to bring that peace to all, by our love for one another, even in the midst of a sea of troubles. The world needs this peace. Let our lives, centered in an abiding love for Jesus, be beacons of that peace in this wounded world.
Lord, Give us the graces we need to be your good and faithful servants in our daily lives. You are the Prince of Peace in whom we put all of our trust. Help us to remember your words to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23). Help us to keep our thoughts on you above all else. We pray, Jesus, believing in the power of your most holy name. Amen!
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