1 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
God’s Wrath Against Nineveh
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD is avenging and wrathful;
the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;
he dries up all the rivers;
Bashan and Carmel wither;
the bloom of Lebanon withers.
The mountains quake before him;
the hills melt;
the earth heaves before him,
the world and all who dwell in it.
Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
The LORD is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.
What do you plot against the LORD?
He will make a complete end;
trouble will not rise up a second time.
For they are like entangled thorns,
like drunkards as they drink;
they are consumed like stubble fully dried.
From you came one
who plotted evil against the LORD,
a worthless counselor.
Thus says the LORD,
“Though they are at full strength and many,
they will be cut down and pass away.
Though I have afflicted you,
I will afflict you no more.
And now I will break his yoke from off you
and will burst your bonds apart.”
The LORD has given commandment about you:
“No more shall your name be perpetuated;
from the house of your gods I will cut off
the carved image and the metal image.
I will make your grave, for you are vile.”
Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him
who brings good news,
who publishes peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah;
fulfill your vows,
for never again shall the worthless pass through you;
he is utterly cut off.
Nahum 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
100 years had passed since Jonah walked the streets of Nineveh and proclaimed God’s Word of repentance. 100 years of new generations rising up who left their commitment and turned back toward their own devices and sinful nature. They went right back to what they did seemingly so naturally: plundered, oppressed, slaughtered their victims. They were self-sufficient and proud of their military strength. Not only did they walk away from their forgiveness, they flaunted their actions against God and His people.
As they say, “The Gig was up.”
And so, Nahum was called to prophesy to the people of Nineveh but also speak to Judah as well. The destruction against Nineveh was prophesied and within 50 years of these words, Babylon overran this one time most powerful nation and they were wiped from the earth. For the people of Judah, they were given hope in the middle of this.
There are tremendous words of encouragement and hope to Judah found in this first chapter. These words resonate for any of us who are feeling so oppressed by the enemy. Possibly you’ve been overrun by things. Maybe evil has truly been coming against you on some level. For those who’ve been lost in their own sinful state, have turned back but still feel the weight of past events – there’s hope here as well.
What was mentioned earlier about Nineveh? They plundered, oppressed and slaughtered their victims. Oh, you better believe, the enemy of our soul has the same intention. He will and does do whatever it takes to plunder, ransack our life and faith. His oppression comes again and again, as even for sins in our life that are covered under the blood of Jesus, he reminds and messes with our minds, leading us toward hopelessness. His mission is to slaughter God’s people, you and me, with whatever means he can.
So, if you are in such a place right now – allow the Holy Spirit to speak these truths to you:
“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, and will pursue His enemies into darkness. Thus says the Lord, “Though they are at full strength and likewise many, even so, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer. “So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, and I will tear off your shackles.”Nahum 1:7-8, 12-13
Run, run wildly to the stronghold of God, the very Fortress of His grace and find not only the protection He can provide, but the peace He offers. Take refuge within His walls of Grace. Trust Him not only in word but in deed. Remember, the Lord is good! Sink into that goodness, let the Holy Spirit awaken your mind to these truths. Though you have possibly felt the affliction, God promises to strengthen His people who take refuge in Him. Not only that, He will restore you! Claim this promise! He is about to break the yoke that has been upon you. He has the absolute ability remove the sin that has run your life. He can and will do it! There is freedom to be found in Him as He breaks the yoke that binds us and loosens the shackles.
Live in these words, these promises this day. May the Holy Spirit remind us who are in such a place of oppression bring our minds back to these promises over and over again.
Nahum 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The book of Jonah was God’s grace to Ninevah, and Nahum is His truth. God would judge Nineveh. For some, the thought of His judgment invokes imagery of an all-powerful Being looking down on creation with anger and disappointment. In a rage of emotional outburst, He strikes Niveveh down to get His vengeance. This is not the God we know.
“The thing which makes the judgment of God so frightful is the fact that God does not do it as a petulant person. He doesn’t do it in a vindictive manner whatsoever. He does not do it in a spirit of revenge or of trying to get even. He does not judge because He has become angry for a moment in a sudden emotional outburst. God judges because He is just. He still loves, but He is just. Since He is just in His dealings, He must deal with sin even in the lives of those whom He loves.”J. Vernon McGee
God’s Loving Judgment
If God didn’t love Nineveh, He wouldn’t have sent a prophet to them (Jonah) 100 years ago to warn them of their destruction. Keep in mind, the message of Jonah did not include a promise for mercy. He merely preached that God’s judgment was coming. The people of Nineveh repented hoping that God would show mercy even though they did not deserve it. We know the story. God forgives Nineveh which becomes an object lesson for Jonah’s cranky, selfish attitude. God’s message to Jonah is that he does love the people of Nineveh and desires for them to repent.
And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”Jonah 4:11 ESV
If God didn’t love Nineveh, He wouldn’t have sent Nahum to again warn them of the coming destruction. We don’t know whether or not God would have granted them mercy had they repented again, but that’s not the point of the book. God is full of both grace and truth. He loves His children and He hates sin. His judgment is not like ours.
God Will Destroy Sin
The judgment of nations can be difficult for us to understand being under the New Covenant. How horrible would it be if we lived in a world where God did not destroy sin? How awful would it have been for the people trying to follow God in this world if He would have turned a blind eye to the destructive sin of Nineveh? God is not nervous and Jesus is still on the throne. The destruction of Nineveh is a theme of God that spills over into the New Testament. When sin rises, He will step in. When sin thinks it has won, God will have the last word.
Without God’s justice, our world is chaos. Without His mercy, our world is hopeless. God is full of both grace and truth. His destruction of sin was found in the slain Lamb of God who willingly gave Himself up so that you and I would not become the next Nineveh. Amazing.