It’s not easy to read about the destruction of human life, even when those humans had been oppressive enemies of God’s people. They had their triumphs in this world, but their time was done. Completely done.
Justice. The Assyrians who had been ruthless to Israel and Judah would now be silent. God allowed and orchestrated their demise at the hands of the Babylonians, the same empire who trampled on Judah. Such an interesting time in history with profound messages from our Creator.
Nahum’s oracle from God begins with a warning to Nineveh that all but says, “watch out!” But then quickly turns to almost a taunt comparing them to Judah and Israel. God’s chosen people had been crushed, but their honor and splendor would be restored. However, the Assyrians in Nineveh had fallen too far away from God. There was no turning back.
What does that say to us? Can we wander too far away from God and lose our way back? The people in Nineveh did repent generations earlier when God sent his messenger, Jonah. These people had their chance to stay true to God but let it slip through their fingers.
Evil and corruption has a way of enticing those not firmly grounded in a relationship with God. Who am I kidding? Even those who are faithful can stumble. The book of Nahum warns us to not get lazy in our faith. It’s way too easy to let the distractions of this world interfere with our most important relationship of all. If it can happen to me as a pastor’s wife, it can happen to anyone!
It happened to the people of Nineveh. They didn’t focus on the right things. Consequently, God had lost his patience. Nahum’s oracle describes the unpleasant things the Ninevites would endure. What do you think the people of Nineveh thought?
It sounds like Nineveh’s very protection of the river and the moat system was compromised and used to play out their final judgment. What sorts of protection have you surrounded yourself with to keep evil away? I was reminded today of the armor of God described in Ephesians 6.
Arming ourselves against the evil one is exactly what we should be doing. God has given us all that we need. The word of God is what Jesus used in the wilderness when he was tempted. I always remember how Satan used God’s word, too, but Satan’s attempts did not use God’s word as it was intended. As Jesus says, God’s word should never be twisted to test God, seeking to force God’s hand.
Above all, we don’t want to be enemies of God. We are seeing how God’s wrath falls on them. Instead, we should focus on loving God with our whole heart. When we let that be our life’s mission, everything else falls into place. We can cling to Romans 8:28 which reads, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Let’s pray … Lord, I never want to anger you like the people of Nineveh did. I treasure the relationship I have with you. Your love for me is hard to fathom, and I am so thankful for your justice for those you love. It is always fair and true. Guide my steps today and may the words I say be honoring to you. In Jesus’ name.