Summary: The Lord may be merciful and slow to anger, but the Day of Judgment does finally come!
The Message of Nahum
Judging Nineveh part 2
Text: Nahum 1:1-3:19
The Book of Nahum is one of two books of the Minor Prophets that centers on Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. In the Book of Jonah, written in the eighth century BC, we behold a man of God who was called to preach to Nineveh. He was one of the few prophets who despaired when his listeners heeded his warning. The people of Nineveh repented, and God demonstrated his great compassion by not judging the city.
During this same approximate period of time, the people of the northern kingdom of Israel had been sinning grievously against God and ignoring the warnings of punishment given through God’s prophets. Finally God used the nation of Assyria, with its capital city in Nineveh, to destroy the nation and carry the people into captivity.
In the Book of Nahum, written in the seventh century BC, we find another prophet called by God to preach to Nineveh. Evil again reigned in the capital. Tragically, the people of Nineveh this time ignored Nahum’s warning.
A.The prophet was Nahum, whose name means "Consolation"
1.His name is certainly symbolic of the message given by the prophet.
a.His home was Elkosh, of which little is known - Nahum 1:1
b.Some think that Capernaum (lit., "village of Nahum") may have been his birthplace
c.He was contemporary with Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah
B.The theme of the messenger
1.His message is usually dated around 630-612 B.C.
a.The northern kingdom of Israel was already in Assyrian captivity
b.Assyria itself was past the peak of it’s glory but still a world power.
2.The theme of his message is simple: "The Fall Of Nineveh"
a.This makes his work a complement to that of Jonah
b.Though by this time no mercy would be shown, judgment would be final
[The book of Nahum can easily be divided into three parts which coincide with the three chapters. In the first part we find...]
II.The Message For Nineveh
A. THE CHARACTER AND POWER OF THE LORD...
1. God's vengeance, even though He is slow to anger - Nahum 1:1-3a
2. The fierceness of His anger described - Nahum 1:3b-6
3. The goodness of the Lord, as a stronghold to the faithful - Nahum 1:7
4. The pursuer of His enemies - Nahum 1:8
B. THE COMPLETE OVERTHROW OF NINEVEH...
1. She will not afflict again, despite her plotting against the Lord - Nahum 1:9-11
2. Judah will be delivered from Nineveh's affliction - Nahum 1:12-13
3. Nineveh's destruction has been commanded by the Lord - Nahum 1:14
4. There shall be good tidings in Judah, she can keep her feasts - Nahum 1:15
[Having "declared" Nineveh's doom in the first section, we now find...]
C. THE SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF THE CITY...
1. Furious preparation for the battle is described - Nahum 2:1-4
2. Resistance is futile, captivity has been decreed - Nahum 2:5-7
a. Note verse 6: "The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved"
b. "The Babylonian Chronicle tells that Nineveh fell because the flooding rivers made breaches in the city's defenses." (Believers' Study Bible)
D. THE UTTER SACK OF THE CITY...
1. Her inhabitants flee, the city is plundered - Nahum 2:8-10
2. Her destruction will be complete, Nineveh as a dwelling of devouring lions will be no more - Nahum 2:11-13
[Thus far, Nineveh's doom has been "declared" and "described" by Nahum.
In the third and final section, we find him saying...]
E. BECAUSE OF HER SINS...
1. Her woe will be due to her sins - Nahum 3:1-4
2. The Lord will uncover her shame and make her a spectacle - Nahum 3:5-7
F. SHE IS NO BETTER THAN NO-AMON...
1. Nineveh is no better than No-Amon (Thebes in Egypt) - Nahum 3:8
2. Who despite her strength, was carried away into captivity - Nahum 3:9-10
3. So it will be with Nineveh - Nahum 3:11
G. HER STRENGTH AND WEALTH WILL NOT SAVE HER...
1. Her strongholds will fail - Nahum 3:12-13
2. All her efforts, her wealth, her army, will be futile - Nahum 3:14-17
H. HER END HAS COME...
1. Her leaders are dead, her people scattered - Nahum 3:18-19a
2. Those who hear of her fall will rejoice - Nahum 3:19b
III.The Message For Us
A.UNDERSTAND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
1.Application of the message of Nahum for us begins with understanding the sovereignty of God.
a.God judges (and blesses) our actions according to His will - cf. Jeremiah 18:1-10
b.A century after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC (the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel,) the Book of Nahum was written to express a major truth of the prophets.
c.Even when God uses a nation for His own purposes of judgment, this does not excuse that nation from its own guilt before the Lord.