“People speak of plague with fear and tremor, yet of destroyers like Alexander and Napolean they speak with ecstatic reverence.” (Spiritual Sayings of Khalil Gibran p.2)
It is a paradox that while we shutter to see the horrors of natural catastrophes, famine and disease, yet we hold in high reverence (as Khalil notes) those who destroyed whole peoples, slaughtering their women and children, depriving of brother and father, laying waste their fields and livelihoods. It is shocking how we could idolize such persons. I speak for myself when I say that my heart is stirred to repentance that I have held such men in high esteem…ignoring their ignominious deeds and monstrous acts.
As I’ve taught through Ezekiel for our Wednesday Bible study group these last many months the horrors of destruction have driven me into a weekly sorrow. It was only those wicked ones about Israel that celebrated her destruction and exile…and the LORD promised those nations that their rejoicing would lead to their sorrow (see Eze.26-28). It is perhaps noticeable as well that whereas David did not wish to suffer at the hands of man, but if he must suffer judgment to suffer pestilence in the hands of the Merciful God (2 Sam.24:13-14). Should we not feel “fear and tremor” at the violence of men who did not fear God and instead were destroyers of those made in God’s image?
Lord help us to not rejoice at the sorrow of others, but to give due honor to You as the Lord and Giver of Life. May we be found in your merciful hands and granted the mercy we show to others.