Series: 3:16- Numbers That Bring Hope [#25]
THE HOPE THAT COMES FROM GOD’S JUDGMENT
As we begin our 25th sermon in this series, it comes at the right time- Our celebration of Independence Day. We have become a Nation of compromisers. It doesn’t matter what the Bible calls sin. We work very hard at not offending anybody. The USA is not the 1st country to allow this compromise of God’s Word to take place; but we need to take this serious. No one wants to talk about God’s judgment upon sin and upon Nations that wander away from Him; but that does not take back the fact that God will judge sin and sinful Nations.
Nahum 3:1-7 (NIV)
“Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses-- all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft. "I am against you," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame. I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. All who see you will flee from you and say, `Nineveh is in ruins--who will mourn for her?' Where can I find anyone to comfort you?"
There is no hope in…
1. Walking away from God.
About a 150 years before Nahum’s prophecy, God had sent Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh. Although Jonah tried to run away from God’s command, he later preached what God told him to preach and it worked- They repented and God spared them.
Why did Jonah hate the people of Nineveh? Nineveh was the Assyrian’s capital city. The Assyrians had already done great damage to the Israelites. The Assyrians were known as one of the most brutal people ever to live on this Earth and they had hurt Jonah’s family and Nation.
Now, we come to our text and we find that the Assyrians were back to all of their evil; and because of that, God was going to punish them greatly. Notice with me the sins that God was condemning Nineveh for.
They were known for…
? Their cruelty.
Nahum calls them the city of blood- A city never without victims. There were murders all of the time. It was 2nd nature to the Assyrians to see death often. There were piles of dead bodies all over the city.
The Assyrians would not just destroy their enemy; but they would wipe out Nations. They were known for taking the heads of rulers and putting them on stakes as people would come in and out of that city.
I hate to point out the comparison; but isn’t our Nation full of cruelty and murder? We here of brutal killings all of the time. The idea of killing and war is just a game to the younger generations. The idea of murder and cruelty to others is no big deal- We have grown cold to these things.
They were known for…
? Their deceitfulness.
The Assyrians would convince Nations that they were trying to take over that if they would surrender peacefully that they would be well taken care of- Not true. Instead they would either kill or enslave everyone.
The Assyrians would draw people in from all over due to their commerce and trade industry. They were great deal makers and they were always looking for the next great city of commerce so they could take it.
The Assyrians worshipped many gods and they had no problem of convincing others that their gods were what made them great. They did everything possible to draw people away from Jehovah God.
Nahum 3:8-11 (NIV)
“Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile, with water around her? The river was her defense, the waters her wall. Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength; Put and Libya were among her allies. Yet she was taken captive and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces at the head of every street. Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains. You too will become drunk; you will go into hiding and seek refuge from the enemy.”
There is no hope in…
2. Ignoring history.
The history of a Nation is very similar to a person’s past- You can’t change it. Although you can’t change the past, you don’t have to repeat the same old mistakes over and over again. Nahum uses the example of Thebes, which was a very well protected Egyptian city. No one thought that it would never be taken over; but it was. When God passes judgment on a Nation, there is nothing that we can do to stop His punishment, (for the exception of repentance). Thebes was taken over by the Assyrians; and the people in that city was destroyed.
God is telling the Assyrians as well as Americans, that we are not safe from the judgment of God. You may think that you are untouchable; but you can’t hide from God. God warned Nineveh and they got it right the 1st time; but not the next time. How many times has God warned the USA? We need to learn from our Nation’s past mistakes and not repeat them.
Nahum 3:12-19 (NIV)
“All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater. Look at your troops-- they are all women! The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has consumed their bars. Draw water for the siege, strengthen your defenses! Work the clay, tread the mortar, repair the brickwork! There the fire will devour you; the sword will cut you down and, like grasshoppers, consume you. Multiply like grasshoppers, multiply like locusts! You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more than the stars of the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and then fly away. Your guards are like locusts, your officials like swarms of locusts that settle in the walls on a cold day-- but when the sun appears they fly away, and no one knows where. O king of Assyria, your shepherds slumber; your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them. Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?”
There is no hope in…
3. Fighting against God.
The Assyrians were used to destroying other Nations, so the prophesy from Nahum was laughed at I’m sure. The Assyrians thought that they were untouchable; but Nahum is letting them know that Nineveh would fall very easily. No matter how hard they fought against it, they were still going to be destroyed. When you fight against God, you have no chance.
All of the people that had been a part of all of the commerce and trade, took what they could steal and disappeared. When you fight against God, not only will you be destroyed; but also, all of those people that you thought cared about you, will flee.
No one likes to hear a sermon like this; but the simple truth is that our Nation, our Churches, and our families better repent and turn back to God before it’s too late. We have become a Nation that looks a lot like Nineveh and you can read in the history books how the Babylonians destroyed Assyria and took over all of their cities. Make sure you are fighting in God’s Army and not against Him.