Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, had enslaved nations and peoples. Her complete abdication of being a responsible guardian to those she had enslaved placed her on Godís greatly imperiled list. HER TIME HAD RUN OUT! Several hundred years earlier she had repented, and was spared by God, at the warning of Jonah. In their present situation there was no repentance in the hardened hearts of the citizens of Nineveh. They like other nations before them were about to receive the brunt of Godís disfavor. ďHe that hardeneth his heart shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy.Ē [Proverbs 28:13]
Thebes was an ancient city on both sides of the Nile in Upper Egypt. It was a center of government, culture, commerce, and wealth, with beautiful temples, obelisks, and sphinxes. It was regarded as impregnable, and its military resources were almost unlimited. Despite all her resources, Thebes ďwas taken captive.Ē Her infants were dashed to pieces,Ē and ďall her great men were put in chains.Ē
The Assyrians themselves, under Sargon, sacked Thebes. ďAre you any better?Ē asks Nahum of Nineveh. Thebes was as powerful as Nineveh and less an enemy of Godís people. If Godís judgment came on her, how much more would it come on Nineveh?
Nineveh would be made to drink the wine of Godís wrath. She and her glory would ďgo into hiding.Ē Nahumís prediction was literally fulfilled, and Ninevehís ruins came to light only after archaeologists uncovered the rubble of the centuries.
Despite her defenses, Nineveh would fall to the enemy like a ripe fig when the tree is shaken. Her troops would be as women, unable to defend her. Some of them opened the gates to allow the enemy to enter. Other gates were burned by fire. The references to fire are interesting because an unusual quantity of charcoal has been found in the ruins of Nineveh. Half-melted nails that had apparently been subjected to intense heat have been picked up on the flagstones of her streets.
Once again, the prophet ironically exhorts Nineveh to defend herself. She was to draw plenty of drinking water in preparation for the siege. She was to have a supply of bricks ready to repair breaches in her wall. She was to work desperately to resist.
The river that provided Nineveh with an abundant water supply, however, would ruin her. The flooding river would undermine the foundations of her buildings.
Sometimes the very things on which people pride themselves-their goodness, honesty, and helpfulness to others-may cause their undoing by blinding them to their need for Godís salvation.
There was a great difference between Godís message for ancient Nineveh and His message for Judah. In the case of Judah, captivity and tribulation were ahead-but a glorious restoration, after the time of discipline, was also foretold. In the case of Nineveh, there would be no healing, no restoration, and no return to Godís favor.
This is still the difference between Godís word for His people and His word for unbelievers. God allows Christians to suffer. He chastises them for their own good. And after they have learned their lesson, He restores them to full fellowship and blessing.
Those who reject the Gospel, however, have nothing but everlasting ruin to look forward to. They will suffer-perhaps not in this world, but certainly in the world to come, where they will have no hope of a second chance.
The Book of Nahum teaches us that God is the Lord of history. He has given man a moral law that under girds all that is best in society. This moral law may be slighted for a time, or even deliberately disregarded, but those who choose to ignore it will finally be crushed by it. The mills of God grind slowly-too slowly for our impatient human nature-but they grind exceedingly fine. Whole civilizations have come destruction because they failed to take God into account and ignored every principle of human decency and integrity.
No nation, no city, will be immune from judgment. No unbeliever will escape punishment for sin. Because of Godís holiness and His wrath against sin, as depicted by Nahum, the lesson of the Old Testament book is urgently needed today.
Ref. The Book Of Nahum, The Holy Bible, The Adult Teaching Guide, Scripture Press
Nahumís prediction was literally fulfilled, and Ninevehís ruins came to light only after archaeologists uncovered the rubble of the centuries.
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