A Century-Later Reflection

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As I stated in my last post, I have been teaching though the Bible, a book-at-a-time, each week the next book. I want to give my youth a flavor of the whole story of the Bible, as well as show them that each book is relevant to their lives because God is unchanging in His Person, Work, and Standard.

In my last post I specifically wrote about Jonah and a few reflections. Today, I would like to give a few reflections from the follow-up prophet, Nahum.

Before my observations, I am sure that most (if not the vast majority) have no clue what Nahum is about. Could you tell me? Many Christians have read Nahum, but only during their Bible Reading program and then after reading it, the response is, “that was weird” or “glad I didn’t live in Nineveh” or “I hope my pastor someday gets to this book to show me why it is important, but that probably won’t happen so I’ll wait until Heaven and have Nahum explain it to me.” No one seems to go after Nahum unless it is forced upon them. Sad, really, but I can understanding. Not all parts of the Bible are easy or easily understood (2 Pet 3:16; e.g., Exod 4:24-26; Dan 8-12).

Well, have no fear, Nahum can be simply explained in one phrase: God’s patience has run out. Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, had been granted repentance and faith in the story of Jonah. But 100 years later, Nineveh has once again turned back to their idols, and their brutal and manipulative tactics of warfare. Because of this, God’s judgment is coming.

If you want to see a helpful video, The Bible Project will have a video on Nahum in a few days. Keep your eye out for it here.

Reflection #1 – God Has Promised Coming Wrath to Us Too

Nahum spends all of chapter 2 detailing Nineveh’s downfall in such vivid detail that you can almost see it happening right in front of you (similar to Dan 11:1-35). Storming warriors and rushing chariots breaking through the once mighty wall of Nineveh to plunder the treasures, while Ninevites flee in terror is palatable in Nahum’s description. And Nahum points to the irony of Nineveh’s defeat. As the Assyrians defeated and manipulated other nations, so to them will fall the same. They were the plunderers and now they will be plundered. They were feared, now they are fleeing in fear. They were the overpowering lion, now they are prey. They burned cities to ashes, now they will be burned and will never be heard from again. Incredibly, all of this happens exactly as Nahum prophesied a mere 8 years later in 612BC when the Babylonians, Medes, and Scythians invaded and conquered what seemed to be an impenetrable city. A storm came to Nineveh just as God claimed and those who were mightiest and prided themselves on being impenetrable, were brought down.

Do you know a storm is coming? God will “by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Nahum 1:3). He is the jealous and avenging God (1:2) and there is a day set up when God’s King, Jesus Christ, will come and smash those who oppose Him, who set themselves up against Him, who build “walls” and pride that no man could depose. Have you not read Revelation 6:12-17? When the Day of the Lord comes, “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’”[1] Or haven’t you read Revelation 19:11-21 when King Jesus returns in His Second Coming? He is going to “strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” This day is coming! Judgment is coming when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom. What are you doing about this promised wrath to come? Ignore it? Just leave it to the “Bible Scholars”? Or will it cause you to find the way out of His judgment? This question leads me to …

Reflection #2 – God Has Promised Salvation

One of the more reliving and comforting parts of Nahum (btw, Nahum’s name in Hebrew is “comfort”) is in 1:7, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” A refuge or stronghold can be any structure (a castle, a cave, a high mountain) that protects from an incoming invasion. Nineveh believed their city was a true stronghold, when the reality was that their man-made walls were just mere sand to God’s judgment. Theirs was false security. But God, even in the midst of impending judgment, calls out to the Ninevites to take refuge in Him. In other words, He must be their protection, physically and spiritually. The same is true for us.

Our man-made “fortress” and “strongholds” that we set up (financial, political, home, insurance, morality, etc.) are, in light of the coming judgment of God, sand castles as best (Matt 7:26-27).[2] Our security needs to be in the One who has already overcome the world (John 16:33), where we can find rest for our souls (Matt 11:28-30), and where we will never be forsaken (Rom 8:35-39). This can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Yes, in His Second Coming, He brings judgment. But in His First Coming until His Second Coming—meaning RIGHT NOW—He offers a refuge in Him (that is, salvation). And the one who takes refuge in Him (that is, stakes their whole life on Him and in Him), they know that “the LORD is good” and can testify to Psalm 34:8 as truth: “taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

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[1] FYI: Seal 6 is only the beginning of the 2nd half of the Tribulation, aka “the Great Tribulation” (cf. Matt 24:21).

[2] FYI: these are good things in themselves and are a use of wisdom.

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