Nahum 2 (1:15-2:13)The Joyful News of Destruction
The Joyful News of Destruction (1:15-2:13)
The Joyful News of Destruction (1:15-2:13)
In 2001 war was declared on the United States.
As a response to the terrible acts that were carried out on 9/11.
President George W. Bush issued a statement declaring, “Our military is powerful and prepared. We will protect our citizens at home and abroad from further attack. The full resources of our military and law enforcement communities will be used to bring those responsible to justice.
When 9/11 occurred I was unsure what this meant. Life as I knew it had changed, but I was confident that we would defeat our enemy.
Following that day many men and women, convinced to stop further terrorist acts signed up to fight the war on terror.
Oct. 7 - Strikes were ordered by George W. Bush in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda. President Bush stated further, “We are an enemy of terrorist…and though we are a peaceful nation we will fight against this enemy of evil.
In Nahum God has declared avenge his covenant people. Assyria had oppressed her long enough.
Nahum 1 was a forecast of God vengeance against Nineveh
Nahum 2 is a battle scene displaying God’s sovereign judgement against Nineveh
This scene begins with one who brings good news to an oppressed people. A message of peace, promise, a hope!
Chp. 2 shows us how this good news of peace will be accomplished through God declaring loud and clear “I am against you!”
1. A Promise of Hope (vv.-1:15-2:2)
v.15 - The promise of a coming message of peace is given.
Judah is told to keep their feasts, fulfill their vows, their victory is secure - “never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.”
Their victory is secure in the most high!
Here Assyria the Aggressor has now become Assyria the Assaulted.
God is calling her to prepare for battle, but no amount of preparation will be able to protect her from the avenging hand of God.
Nahum’s vision is directed toward the wickedness and the wicked people who were oppressing the people of God.
God is against wickedness and evil. Especially when wickedness has been poured out against his covenant people.
Remember the promise of the covenant - “I will curse those who curse you...”
This was a word of comfort for the Israelites.
A Joyful Message of Destruction.
(v.2) Though the Assyrians had plundered and seemingly ruined them, the Lord is restoring their majesty.
Clavin - “For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty of Israel, for plunderers have plundered them and ruined their branches. The Lord indeed always preserved a hidden remnant; but this was done beyond the perceptions of men. But what the Prophet says metaphorically of the ruined branches, is to be understood of what was apparent.”
It is important for the people of God to remember this. When it seems as if things are growing dark and downward, God is always working to preserve his people.
When the horrors of school shootings are on the rise, when a biblical ethic of marriage is being abandoned, and the SBC seems to be hiding sin while trying to herald Christ - we must rest in knowing that God is preserving his people in Christ.
Now, et’s consider God’s attack against wickedness...
2. Attacking Wickedness (v.3-5)
These verses portray the sights and sounds of battle.
As Babylonian troops advance through the outlying suburbs and villages of Nineveh, the watchmen could see them . advancing.
“Red and Flashing” - the shields were red and the soldiers were clothed in scarlet. Wether painted red or already covered blood. The Ninevites would have been intimidated as their enemy advanced upon them.
v.4 - The chaos of war intensifies.
Their chariots look like a consuming fire as they cuts through the country side.
The advancing army being used at the hand of God appears to be dashing here and there pouring out destruction as it advanced toward the city.
In the heat of the advance, the commander of the attacking army commands his officers.
Under the weight of their armour, and advancing so quickly, they stumble as they approach the wall to set up the seige tower.
The siege tower would have made a way for the advancing army to get to the top of the city wall. Once the tower was in place the defending city could be accessed with greater easier.
There is some debate as to who the He is referring to in v.5.
Some think it could be the king of Nineveh gathering all of his mighty men as a last ditch effort against their advisory.
I believe it fits more clearly and logically with the author’s wording and the original language to see this as the Babylonians calling on their officers to push hard and fast toward the city wall.
Regardless, the point remains the same. God is bringing a formidable force against the wickedness of Nineveh. That of which no earthly strategy could withstand.
God would judge this wicked people who were oppressing the innocent. They would not go unpunished.
3. Defeating Wickedness (vv.6-12)
v.6 - gives the brief account of Nineveh’s actual fall.
After the detailed attack against the wickedness of Nineveh, it seems like a let down to simply hear, “The river gates are opened; the palace melts away.”
Remember Nineveh was a strong city. Several rivers, including the Tigris, feed the city. This allowed them to close themselves off and hold their aggressors at bay without suffering lose of resources.
In Nahum’s vision, the invading forces damned up the river and strategically released it causing part of the fortified wall to give way.
This provided easy access for the advancing army to move into the heart of the city.
God’s sovereign wartime strategies allowed the Babylonians and Medes to execute his will.
Calvin explains that God did this so that the Israelites might know that Nineveh was no less under the power of God than any other; for God can no less easily pass through rivers than go along the plain, where there is no obstacle.
What a comforting reminder this would have been, and should be to us.
There is no one and nothing outside of the powerful hand of God.
Nineveh would experience the same fate Assyria had laid upon the people of God.
Just as in Jonah where the least to the greatest repented, here we see the hand of war not just reserved for the battlefield, but among the slaves and the king alike.
To show the depth of Nineveh’s wickedness and vulnerability, Nahum likens them to water in a pool...
(v.8) Nineveh is like a pool whose waters run away. “Halt! Halt!” they cry, but none turns back.
Nineveh was known for her pools and irrigation, so God speaks to them in ways they would understand.
Like a tide pool at the beach may seem like a huge and enjoyable place to play for a child, it will not last. Once the power of the the incoming moon tide breaches its sandy boundaries the tidal pool is overcome by the power of the ocean.
Friends, this world will end the same way. The world and its ways will be destroyed. Though the pool of this life seems vast and entertaining it will be swallowed up in the all encompassing power of God’s will.
Mark 13:31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Nineveh was retreating, their wealth plundered, and Assyria would ultimately be destroyed.
v.10 - Under the righteous judgement of God, the fear of Nineveh is made clear with a three-part Hebrew wordplay.
“Desolate! Desolation and ruin! Hearts melt and knees tremble; anguish is in all loins; all faces grow pale!”
In his this verse, Nahum impresses upon his hearers the power of God by using vivid language.
In the presence of words like desolation and ruin men quiver in fear.
There hearts melt
they are pale in fear
Robertson - These words [Desolate, Desolation, and ruin!] related in meaning and sound convey the pounding rhythm of devastation.”
“Pillaged, plundered, and stripped - oh my!”
“The picture is one of abject terror, painted in brevity: melting hearts, knees knocking together, bodies writhing, faces made colorless with fright.” Nineveh’s reign of terror would end. In Nineveh the people faint before the sure end of Assyria’s dominance.”
Calvin explains, “There is in men no courage except as far as God supplies them with vigor. As soon then as he withdraws His Spirit, those who were before the most valiant become faint-hearted and those who breathed great ferocity are made soft.”
Ps. 145:20 “The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.”
As Nineveh’s destruction is being realized, Nahum begins to taunt them.
v.11 - The Assyrians often used the image of a lion to represent them in much of their artwork, they were known for stalking their prey and devouring them.
But they did not realize that Babylon was fighting at the will of the one who created the lion.
The ones who had once enjoyed the safety of dominance were now vulnerable and cowering in fear.
4. Destroying Wickedness (v.13)
Here there is a shift. It seems that God is now directly speaking to Nineveh.
I am against you
I will burn your chariots
My sword will devour your young lions
I will cut off your prey
the voice of your messenger shall be heard no longer.
The Lord of hosts will do this. Assyria had been successful against earthly kings and armies, but they would fall to the Lord who commanded the hosts of heaven.
God does not simply just dislike, denounce, or defeat wickedness, he destroys it.
Gen 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.””
God has promised to issue a crushing blow to the father of wickedness. To those who follow him, and nations that worship him.
But unlike Satan who is slinking around in the shadows trying to inflict a sneaky blow, God will crush has head!
This should give us great comfort. God’s promise is far more trustworthy than George W.’s promise to take out the terrorists who attacked our country.
God has promised and delivered salvation for his people in Christ. Sin and death have been swallowed up finally .
Nahum 1:7 - The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
The judgement for wickedness has been paid once and for all who ttake refuge in him. Never again do you have to be concerned with God saying “I am against you!”
No, he has declared to you “I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”