Summary: A study of the plight of sinful Nineveh
“Nasty Nineveh Needed Nahum’s News!”
David P. Nolte
A reclaimed drug addict had been clean for 10 years when, due to an injury, he was put on pain killers. The action of those pills excited his addiction and he was hooked on drugs even more deeply than before. His 10 good years were dissolved in the wake of his re-addiction. He reminds me of Nineveh.
Two weeks ago we saw Jonah gladly proclaiming the demise of Nineveh, capital city of Assyria. Much to his disappointment, he ended up winning the hearts of the Ninevites for the Lord. Much to his dismay, the whole city, including the king, and reaching to the lowest servant, repented. Much to his disliking, they were thus spared God’s wrath and were recipients of His mercy.
About 140 years have passed and the city has reverted to wickedness, godlessness and violence. God sent the prophet Nahum to proclaim coming judgement. Let’s read the text:
“The oracle of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; The blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, And will pursue His enemies into darkness. Whatever you devise against the LORD, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice. Like tangled thorns, And like those who are drunken with their drink, They are consumed As stubble completely withered. From you has gone forth One who plotted evil against the LORD, A wicked counselor. Thus says the LORD, ‘Though they are at full strength and likewise many, Even so, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer. So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, And I will tear off your shackles. The LORD has issued a command concerning you: Your name will no longer be perpetuated. I will cut off idol and image From the house of your gods. I will prepare your grave, For you are contemptible.’ Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; He is cut off completely.” Nahum 1:1-15 (NASB).
We can note that Nasty Nineveh Needed Nahaum’s News. He had bad news and he had good news. The bad news was that:
I. GOD IS A FORMIDABLE FOE TO THE WICKED:
A. “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.”
1. People like to hear about God’s gentleness, patience, grace, lovingkindness, and mercy – and those are certainly His traits, even toward enemies.
2. But those who vaunt themselves in determined, stubborn, calcified, wilful rebellion, unbelief and disobedience need the message that they will find Him a Formidable foe. No one can stand against God in His wrath.
B. I am convinced that had Nineveh responded to Nahum’s message as they did to Jonah’s, they would have ceased being God’s enemies and He’d cease being theirs!
1. Nevertheless, God is ready and able to punish and destroy nations, religions, and people who arrogantly thumb their noses at His goodness and reject His Son.
2. He said to Ezekiel, “If you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.” Ezekiel 3:19 (NASB).
3. And, “Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him.”
4. “The LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”
C. The guilty are the unrepentant who indulge sin with no thought of stopping it.