DEVASTATION AND DESTRUCTION!
Lord, Your enemies have good reason to fear Your justice.
Read NAHUM 2
Nineveh to Fall
2 [a]An attacker advances against you, Nineveh.
Guard the fortress,
watch the road,
marshal all your strength!
2 The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob
like the splendor of Israel,
though destroyers have laid them waste
and have ruined their vines.
3 The shields of the soldiers are red;
the warriors are clad in scarlet.
The metal on the chariots flashes
on the day they are made ready;
the spears of juniper are brandished.[b]
4 The chariots storm through the streets,
rushing back and forth through the squares.
They look like flaming torches;
they dart about like lightning.
5 Nineveh summons her picked troops,
yet they stumble on their way.
They dash to the city wall;
the protective shield is put in place.
6 The river gates are thrown open
and the palace collapses.
7 It is decreed[c] that Nineveh
be exiled and carried away.
Her female slaves moan like doves
and beat on their breasts.
8 Nineveh is like a pool
whose water is draining away.
“Stop! Stop!” they cry,
but no one turns back.
9 Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
The supply is endless,
the wealth from all its treasures!
10 She is pillaged, plundered, stripped!
Hearts melt, knees give way,
bodies tremble, every face grows pale.
11 Where now is the lions’ den,
the place where they fed their young,
where the lion and lioness went,
and the cubs, with nothing to fear?
12 The lion killed enough for his cubs
and strangled the prey for his mate,
filling his lairs with the kill
and his dens with the prey.
13 “I am against you,”
declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will burn up your chariots in smoke,
and the sword will devour your young lions.
I will leave you no prey on the earth.
The voices of your messengers
will no longer be heard.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light’ (Isa 9:2). Lord, keep that light burning in our hearts!
This chapter and the next provide a graphic description of what lies in store for Assyria. The attacker of verse 1 refers to the Medes and Babylonians, so soon to overthrow Nineveh. Some of the details are true to history: for example, leather shields were reddened with red ochre (v 3) to preserve them and add strength. However, although Nahum speaks of ancient warfare, he also ‘sees beyond the immediate to a greater reality. The flashing chariots call to his mind the flash of forked lightning (v 4), a traditional image for the display of God’s power in the forces of nature.’ (G Emerson, Minor Prophets II, Doubleday, 1998, p11). Just as God’s judgment is on the oppressor, so the other side of the coin is that His salvation and deliverance are for the oppressed (2).
The mention of lions (11,12) calls to mind the goddess of violence and immorality, Ishtar, depicted in Ancient Near Eastern art as mounted on a lion, or herself a lioness, and representing for Nahum ‘the demonic evil that incites humans to betray their humanity, and by their foul deeds to deny that they were created in God’s image’ (Emerson, p14).
The chapter ends with somber words: ‘I am against you’ (13). There can be no worse scenario! It brings into sharp relief the title given to Jesus, ‘Immanuel (which means “God with us”)’ (Matt 1:23). The contrast could not be greater! We are reminded of John’s words, ‘Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.’ (1 John 5:12) As we look around at our world, which in places is just as cruel and violent as that which Nahum describes, the urgency of spreading the gospel and encouraging our friends and neighbors to turn to Christ becomes acute. How can you play your part?
Thank You, Lord, that Jesus came into our messy world to bring salvation to those who put their faith in Him. Use me to make a difference!
Lord, thank You that we will never hear the words, “Behold I am against you.”
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