The God of the Minor Prophets does plenty of smiting, but he’s also Israel’s and Judah’s national Mariah Carey. Even if they’re miles away, Yahweh will be their friend forever, baby.
Yet like everything in these twelve books, the quality of mercy is not strained peas. No mushy gushy stuff here—God’s compassion has an edge. For one thing, it’s not just plug and play. Yahweh won’t be nice just because Israel and Judah go to temple every Saturday and sacrifice a bull. Mercy and justice go hand in glove.
Moreover, while God is merciful to his covenant people, he doesn’t always share that mercy with everyone in the room. Compassion to God’s people can mean that others get the shiv. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the book of Nahum, who responds to the fall of Assyria with a serious of giddy group texts, each one ending with the cryptic Hebrew letters LOL.
Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness
Are ritual and ethics polar opposites?
Are peace and mercy inconsistent with the obliteration of Assyria and other foreign nations?
Jonah says that God changes. Malachi says that he doesn’t. Well, which is it?
If Judah’s return from the Babylonian exile is proof of God’s enduring mercy toward his people, what about the lost ten tribes of Israel that disappeared after the Assyrian invasion?