I am a historian, and I am a believer in God.
As a historian, I know that Assyria was able to conquer Israel and carry many of the people into captivity about 722 BC because all of the neighbor states, especially Egypt, were too weak to stop them. Then in 586 BC, Judah fell before the might of Babylon, even though Egypt sent an army to protect them. Babylon had belonged to Assyria for more than a century, but Babylon was able to defeat the weakened empire.
As a believer, I know that God allowed each empire to have enough power to conquer His people on His timeline.
When we read in the Psalm: They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good; NIV and in Jeremiah: The whole land shall be laid waste, I will make an end of it once for all; NJB it is easy to be disturbed that God could be so spiteful.
But there is always more to the reading. The Lord is their refuge. NIV I will not destroy it completely. NIV God always includes words of comfort. The rain will come, but so will the ark. Isaac will lie on the altar, but a ram will be provided. Famine will strike, but Joseph will be in Egypt to feed you. The Egyptians will be harsh, but the Exodus will free you.
God never stops searching for the lost. To turn Jesus’ parable on its head, no person is ever lost, God is always beside us. We must open our eyes of faith to see Him.
Paul reminds Timothy that it is only by the Grace of God that Paul is an Apostle, or that he is even alive. He is also reminding each of us that it is Grace alone that can save us. Looking at the Ten Commandments, I can honestly say I have never coveted my neighbor’s ox or donkey, but the rest of the list—not so good. Having committed so many sins, Mercy is my only hope. God is like a good coach of seven-year-olds learning baseball. “That was great. Now see if you can put you glove on the ball next time. I know the ball went into the dugout, but you hit it, didn’t you.”
Be righteous and do good.