Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

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Nahum 1

Jonah tells the story of the prophet who preached to the Assyrians, telling them to turn from their wicked and cruel ways. He was a successful preacher. The Assyrians repented. But it didn’t last. Old Testament scholar Jack Lewis writes of the Assyrian nation: “Assyria . . . was a nation largely geared for aggressive war. Its atrocities were proverbial as the records and art left by its kings make quite clear. . . Its victims lay prone under its tyranny . . . Nineveh saw men and nations as tools to be exploited to gratify the lust of conquest and commercialism. Assyria existed to render no service to mankind.”
Assyria attacked and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel less than fifty years after the time of Jonah. The southern kingdom of Judah also felt her cruelty at the hands of Assyrian kings Sargon II and Sennacherib (721 – 681 B.C.). Hezekiah foolishly tried to make a stand against Assyria and, had it not been for God’s intervention, would have lost his kingdom. The chutzpah of the kings of Assyria is most clearly heard in these words of an Assyrian field commander to the besieged people of Judah: “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from [my] hand; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. . . Do not listen to Hezekiah . . Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? . . . Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”
At this point, God had enough. The Lord struck 185 thousand Assyrian soldiers dead in one night, and about this time, the prophet Nahum appeared on the scene to announce to Judah Assyria’s end. “Trouble,” the prophet assured them, at least from Assyria, “will not come a second time” (1:9).
Nahum proclaims the absolute sovereignty of God: “He makes all the rivers run dry. . . The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it” (1:5). Though He is slow to anger, a refuge in times of trouble and cares for all who trust in Him, you don’t want to make him angry. “Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him (1:6-7).