Summary: Chapter two in Nahum which tells of God's supremacy
“TURN OR BURN!”
& David P. Nolte
Last week we noted that those who, by stubborn persistence in sin, make themselves God’s enemies will discover that He is a Formidable Foe. Nineveh was a stubbornly sinful city. But 140 years before Nahum came along, under the preaching of Jonah, the wicked Ninevites repented. Now they were on the friend side of God and learned that He is a Faithful Friend. Many want a one-dimensional God – all love, patience, kindness, tolerance – but never, never must He be angry or wrathful. Well, such a God is a fig newton of their imagination. God is love – but He is also holy and righteous. He does forgive fully and freely, but there is no forgiveness for the unrepentant. So, God sent Jonah and forgave wicked Nineveh when they repented.
Now, since the days of Jonah,140 years have passed and so has Nineveh’s repentance. They are back in sin so God sent Nahum. He never poured out wrath without warning and giving a chance to turn from sin.
His warning to Nineveh – and to all stubborn sinners, is strong and clear. “Turn from your evil ways or perish!” But also strong and clear is His willingness and promise to forgive those who forsake wrongdoing. Today let us hear His warning to Nineveh restated.
“Your enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh. Man the ramparts! Watch the roads! Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces! Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah, the LORD will restore its honor. Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches, but he will restore its splendor. Shields flash red in the sunlight! See the scarlet uniforms of the valiant troops! Watch as their glittering chariots move into position, with a forest of spears waving above them. The chariots race recklessly along the streets and rush wildly through the squares. They flash like firelight and move as swiftly as lightning. The king shouts to his officers; they stumble in their haste, rushing to the walls to set up their defenses. The river gates have been torn open! The palace is about to collapse! Nineveh’s exile has been decreed, and all the servant girls mourn its capture. They moan like doves and beat their breasts in sorrow. Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir! The people are slipping away. ‘Stop, stop!’ someone shouts, but no one even looks back. Loot the silver! Plunder the gold! There’s no end to Nineveh’s treasures— its vast, uncounted wealth. Soon the city is plundered, empty, and ruined. Hearts melt and knees shake. The people stand aghast, their faces pale and trembling. Where now is that great Nineveh, that den filled with young lions? It was a place where people—like lions and their cubs— walked freely and without fear. The lion tore up meat for his cubs and strangled prey for his mate. He filled his den with prey, his caverns with his plunder. ‘I am your enemy!’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. ‘Your chariots will soon go up in smoke. Your young men will be killed in battle. Never again will you plunder conquered nations. The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more.’” Nahum 2:1-13 (NLT2).
I. LISTEN TO GOD’S CHALLENGE:
A. “Your enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh. Man the ramparts! Watch the roads! Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces!”
1. It sounds like God says, “throw the first punch! Hit Me with your best shot.”
2. He is challenging Nineveh and every enemy to bring out their big guns because God’s guns are even bigger.
3. It would be like a battle between the British Redcoats and the Green Berets or the Confederate Rebels and the Army Rangers or the Spanish Armada and the Navy SEALS.
B. God has always challenged and defied evil to do its worst or best or both. “Bring it on!”
1. His challenge to idolaters, “‘Present the case for your idols,’ says the LORD. ‘Let them show what they can do,’ says the King of Israel. ‘Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us.” Isaiah 41:21-23 (NLT2).
2. His challenge to Satan himself as Jesus faced him in the wilderness after fasting for 40 days.
3. His greatest challenge was to Satan at Calvary. “Do your worst, evil one – I will let Jesus die – and you will see what happens in three days!”
C. God will never back down from, or be defeated by, or negotiate with any enemy. Not Satan, or any league of demons, or unbeliever – He doesn’t turn and run – He looks them in the eye and says, “Let’s get it on!” He challenges His enemies to a duel – they armed with pea shooters and He with a bazooka.