We live in a very broken world. Almost every day we hear new stories about a mass shooting, government corruption, global health epidemics, violence and crime in neighborhoods, and global tension between nations ravaged by war and terrorism. The sheer amount of brokenness in our world is enough to make a person wonder if things will ever get better. Do you feel the weight of the world we live in?
As disciples of Jesus, it’s all too easy to try and pretend like these things aren’t our problem or that these issues don’t have any relevance for us today where we live. But I believe the the Bible has given us timeless wisdom and instruction on topics such as this and one of the books that speaks to this issue in profound ways is the book of Nahum.
While Nahum is a short book of only three chapters comprised of 47 verses, we would be wise to pay attention to the message of Nahum.
Nahum was a prophet of God and his message comes in the form of a prophetic vision. This prophetic vision is addressed to the city of Nineveh, which happens to be the central hub for the evil and cruel Assyrian empire. The Assyrians were brutal enemies of God’s nation, Israel, and practiced some of the most evil and violent methods of war known to mankind. The message of Nahum to the Assyrians is deeply haunting yet simple and goes something like this: God will utterly destroy, devastate, and humiliate you and your people for your blatant evil, bloodshed, and injustice upon the innocent. In three short chapters we see that God will bring destruction to Assyria in such a way that has never been seen before. The sad irony is that Assyria will reap the very consequences of violence and destruction they had been sowing for years (Nahum 2:10-13).
Ready for a plot twist?
As you read Nahum, you may be wondering how Nineveh will be destroyed when Jonah (another prophet of God) physically went to Nineveh, preached to them, and the whole city repented and God relented from destroying them (Jonah 3:6-10). So how does this compare to the book of Nahum? Well, the story of Jonah going to Nineveh happened 100 years before the message of Nahum was written. Therefore, the city of Nineveh did actually repent and turn from their evil ways and God spared them. Unfortunately, after a few years the Assyrians went back to their old ways and not only did they return to their wicked ways but, as history shows us, their evil became worse than ever (Nahum 3:1)! This blatant refusal to maintain God’s ways was the final straw and thus Nahum was given a prophetic vision to deliver as God's final message to the Assyrians.
What does this mean for us?
Let’s be honest: it’s pretty ridiculous to see Assyria given so much grace through God sending the prophet Jonah to warn them, right? Not only does God spare them but they remain in God’s favor for almost another hundred years. Yet we see them turn right back around to embrace their sinful and destructive past once again and we scratch our heads. However, before we get too self-righteous, we would be wise to consider how many times you and I have done the exact same thing. In fact, how many times have you and I done the exact same thing this week?
While we may not have led an army to burn cities or slaughter innocent women and children, you and I still have the disease known as sin living inside of us. This rebellious cancer seeps into our heart, mind, and soul and causes us to one day embrace God’s forgiveness and the next day get right back to the sin we were so disgusted by the previous day. This is the human condition.
The book of Nahum serves as an example, both then and now, to encourage us that God does not take evil and injustice lightly. Nahum, and many of the other minor prophetic books, is a bold indictment upon evil and injustice and gives us a glimpse of how God will one day bring His sovereign justice to these horrible injustices in our world today. While we mourn and feel the weight of living in our broken world we must take encouragement and hope that God will not remain silent. In His perfect timing, there will be swift and unfathomable judgment to His enemies. At the same time, as in every story in Scripture, there is good news that points to God’s steadfast love and mercy. For those that trust in God and submit to His ways there will be refuge and comfort until His day of judgment occurs (Nahum 1:7).
Also, for a quick overview of the book of Nahum, I'd highly recommend the video below.
For the Kingdom,
Pastor Brett Ricley