Scriptures

Nahum 3

Introduction

‘Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses—all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.’ Nahum 3:1-4

We can hear the cries, this isn’t fair! This is unjust! But, oh how wrong Nineveh was, this judgement was fully deserved and delivered by a very just God. Chapter 3 tells us why God brought judgment upon them.

The city is a city of blood, the Assyrians have brutally murdered many people and so they have blood on their hands. Now it’s time to reap what they have sown, what they did to others, God was going to bring upon them.

There’s no escaping the fact that the Assyrians were evil and caused havoc wherever they went. All they wanted to do was go to other nations and destroy them and take the spoils for themselves.

Ashurbanipal II had a fearsome reputation, he was well known for skinning some leaders alive and then he would use the skin to cover pillars and walls. He loved nothing more than to cut off the heads of some people and publicly display them on the top of poles. They used all kinds of tactics to ensnare other nations, prostituting, sorcery and witchcraft.

Now we begin to understand why God poured out His wrath upon these people, they were brutal and ruthless in the way they treated other nations.

‘I am against you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame. I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. All who see you will flee from you and say, ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’ Where can I find anyone to comfort you?’ Nahum 3:5-7

We can almost feel the embarrassment and shame Nineveh is going to face before the whole world. Nineveh had played the part of a prostitute for years before the nations, and so, it will suffer the shame of a prostitute, Ezekiel 16:37-39 / Hosea 2:3.

It’s not surprising that no other nation would feel sorry for them or comfort them when they were destroyed because those other nations would remember the way they were treated by them.

‘Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile, with water around her? The river was her defence, the waters her wall. Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength; Put and Libya were among her allies. Yet she was taken captive and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces at every street corner. Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains. You too will become drunk; you will go into hiding and seek refuge from the enemy.’ Nahum 3:8-11

Judgement and destruction are inevitable, it’s going to happen and there’s no way back for Nineveh. Although Thebes was the capital of Egypt and heavily populated, it was conquered by Ashurbanipal.

The River Nile was everything to the Egyptians, their whole lives centred around the Nile for religious and domestic reasons. The Nile didn’t help the Egyptians when the Assyrians came against them and so the River Tigris wouldn’t help the Ninevites. If anything, it would actually be the River Tigris which would begin the process of bringing down this great city.

Here again, we’re reminding of the reaping what you sow process, Thebes was a powerful city, but it was brought down by Ashurbanipal, Nineveh was a powerful city and God is going to bring them down. Ashurbanipal took a whole load of treasures from Thebes, and so a whole load of treasures will be taken from Nineveh.

The reference to ‘becoming drunk’ means they will be in total confusion, they will be shocked and bewildered.

‘All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater. Look at your troops—they are all weaklings. The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has consumed the bars of your gates. Draw water for the siege, strengthen your defences! Work the clay, tread the mortar, repair the brickwork! There the fire will consume you; the sword will cut you down—they will devour you like a swarm of locusts. Multiply like grasshoppers, multiply like locusts! You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and then fly away. Your guards are like locusts, your officials like swarms of locusts that settle in the walls on a cold day—but when the sun appears, they fly away, and no one knows where.’ Nahum 3:12-17

It’s almost like God is mocking the Ninevites, it’s like God is saying ‘oh how powerful you thought you were, but you didn’t think about how powerful I am’.

He tells them first of all, that all the fortresses of Nineveh weren’t powerful enough to stand against God, as they fell very easily. Then He tells them that those who live in Nineveh will be overcome with terror as helpless women, Nahum 3:5.

God tells them to get ready for the coming onslaught, do everything they can to defend themselves from the oncoming Babylonian army, sadly, this too would be a waste of time, nothing they do will stop them.

God asks them to increase their army, as many as locusts, but locusts don’t function like an army, they hibernate in the winter. The point is that no matter how many soldiers they could gather together to fight, they would have no chance against the army God was sending against them, all will be gone.

Like I mentioned earlier those who ran away from Nineveh went to Carchemish, but they were chased and killed by the Babylonians.

‘King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber; your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them. Nothing can heal you; your wound is fatal. All who hear the news about you clap their hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?’ Nahum 3:18-19

Notice that the king’s shepherds are asleep, how could they be sleeping knowing what was going on! They should be awake and fully aware of what’s happening.

Because of the way they treated others, it seems that the other nations loved to hate the Assyrians, as no one would mourn over them when their empire finally came to an end. The only rejoicing which would happen is when the Assyrians finally fell, the other nations would rejoice greatly.

Conclusion

All the way through the Book of Nahum, we hear God speaking through him and saying that Assyria as a nation would be destroyed and would never rise again.

We hear Him say that Assyria would reap what they sowed among the other nations. Judgment came upon them as God said, they repented the first time through Jonah’s preaching, Jonah 3, but as a result of going back to their old practices, they felt and experienced the wrath of God and ceased to be a nation.

Application

As Christians we are to expect persecution and trouble from those who oppose God and His church, 2 Timothy 3:12, but we must remain faithful to God, who promises to protect us and help us in our time of need, Psalm 27:5.

We need to leave those who oppose us in God’s hands, Luke 18:7-8, and trust that He will deal with them appropriately.

The real question we need to ask ourselves is simply this, are we relying on our own strength or are we relying on God and His strength? Psalm 18:2.

‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.’ Ephesians 6:10

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;'"

John 11:25

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