"Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy."
A Message of God’s Judgment
Nahum 1:7-9, 12-13; 2:8-13;3:18-19 January 6 2013
This prophet denounces the certain and approaching destruction of the Assyrian empire, particularly of Nineveh, which is described very minutely. Together with this is consolation for his countrymen, encouraging them to trust in God.
1.The overthrow of the Assyrians.(Nahum 1:7-13)
Nahum 7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. 8 But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies. 9 What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time. 10 For while tangled like thorns, And while drunken like drunkards, They shall be devoured like stubble fully dried. 11 From you comes forth one. Who plots evil against the Lord, A wicked counselor. 12Thus says the Lord: “Though they are safe, and likewise many, Yet in this manner they will be cut down When he passes through. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more; 13 For now I will break off his yoke from you,And burst your bonds apart.”
Nahum’s first chapter focuses not on Nineveh but on God. He describes Israel’s “jealous and avenging God” , and then pictures Him as a warrior striding over the land, terrorizing His enemies but bringing relief to those who trust Him . Only now does Nahum introduce the Assyrians, portraying them as plotting evil against the Lord . God will destroy this nation which has afflicted His people ; a destruction which will be celebrated in Judah as a harbinger of peace .
2. The true cause, their sinning against God, and his appearing against them. (Nahum 2:8-13)
Nahum 2:8 Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, Now they flee away. “Halt! Halt!” they cry; But no one turns back. 9 Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, Or wealth of every desirable prize. 10 She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; Much pain is in every side, And all their faces are drained of color. 11 Where is the dwelling of the lions, And the feeding place of the young lions, Where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, And no one made them afraid? 12 The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, Killed for his lionesses, Filled his caves with prey, And his dens with flesh. 13“Behold, I am against you,” says the Lord of hosts, “I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.”
The kings of Assyria had long been terrible and cruel to their neighbours, but the Lord would destroy their power. Many plead as an excuse for rapine and fraud, that they have families to provide for; but what is thus obtained will never do them any good. Those that fear the Lord, and get honestly what they have, shall not want for themselves and theirs. It is just with God to deprive those of children, or of comfort in them, who take sinful courses to enrich them. Those are not worthy to be heard again, that have spoken reproachfully of God. Let us then come to God upon his mercy-seat, that having peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ, we may know that he is for us, and that all things shall work together for our everlasting good.
3. Its utter destruction. (Nahum 3:18-19)
Nahum 3:18 Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust.Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.19 Your injury has no healing, Your wound is severe. All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you, For upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?
Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered “merchants.” Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.
Little is known of the Prophet Nahum, or of his home. Most believe it was located in Galilee, which experienced the brunt of the initial Assyrian invasions. We can place his writing with some accuracy: He wrote before the collapse of the Assyrian Empire in 612 B.C. and after the destruction of Thebes, which took place in 663 B.C. . It is not unreasonable to assume that the book was written shortly after the overthrow of the Northern Kingdom and the exile of its population.
Robert G OHaver