The Destruction Of The Destroyer

Part 2 of 2


The book of Nahum is about the fall and destruction of Nineveh. In the previous article, we looked at Nahum chapter 2 and its five parts, namely, the announcement of the coming siege, the approach of the enemy, the futile resistance of the inhabitants, the fall and plunder of the city, and a summary of the fall of Nineveh under the imagery of a lion’s den.

In this article, I’ll like to point us to three lessons that we can learn from this chapter. 

The first thing that ought to strike us is the utter futility of fighting against God.

1. Futility of Fighting Against God

In verse 1, the Lord, through the prophet Nahum, challenges the city of Nineveh to man the defences, to watch the road, to brace themselves and to marshal or muster all their strength.

The people are essentially called to pour their whole heart and mind into the defence of their city. And yet, we know, from the rest of the chapter, that no matter what they do, nothing can stop the enemy from breaking through and destroying their city.

We’ve all probably heard of the saying, “if there’s a will or where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This simply means that if a person truly desires to do something, he will find a way to do it in spite of all the obstacles that stand in his way.

This statement may be true sometimes, but we know that it is not always the case. There are times when no matter how hard you try or how hard you prepare for something, you still fail in the end. It’s not for a lack of effort or trying but simply because that task is beyond your ability.

This is the situation with Nineveh. Their greatest and best effort to defend their city will still result in failure. Why? Verse 13, “Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts…”

Yes, the armies of the Babylonians and the Medes were very powerful indeed from a human point of view, but ultimately, it was the LORD of hosts, who was doing battle with Nineveh; and if the LORD God Himself is against you, then nothing in this whole universe can ever save you.

But the opposite is true. If the LORD is with you, then nothing in this universe can ever successfully fight against you – not even the most powerful adversary.

It is very interesting that in verse 1, the two Hebrew words translated make strong and fortify, are the exact same words which are found in such passages as Joshua chapter 1 verse 6, which reads, “Be strong and of a good courage:”

These are the words of the LORD to Joshua just before they entered the Promised Land to fight against the Canaanites. It is not futile for the Israelites to be strong and courageous, but it is absolutely futile for the Ninevites to be strong and courageous. Why? Because the secret of the strength and victory of God’s people lies in the Lord Himself. In contrast, the enemies of God have nothing to rely on except their own strength and their false gods, which are likewise utterly powerless to save.

Where do you stand in relation to the LORD of hosts? Are you on His side fighting against sin and Satan and the world? Then blessed are you! The victory is yours in the Lord Jesus. You are called to be faithful to the Lord and to be strong and of good courage in the face of great odds, and you can expect to overcome and be victorious.

But if you are living in rebellion against the Lord and refuse to believe and obey His Word, then understand that the Lord is fighting against you, and you will suffer a worse end than the city of Nineveh. You can be strong and courageous all you want, and brace yourself with all your might, but when the tide of God’s judgment comes, you will be swept away. 

Oh would you not recognize the futility of fighting against God and turn to Him in humble repentance and contrition of heart? Acknowledge that you cannot even save yourself let alone fight against Him. Beg of the Lord to deliver you from your futility, and to give you a life of true meaning and purpose in His service. 

The second thing we learn from this chapter is the justice of God in His dealings with the Assyrians.

2. The Justice of God

Over and over again, we notice that God is just and He repays the wicked Ninevites and Assyrians with perfect justice and retribution.

Speaking of the wicked man, the Psalmist says in Psalm 7:15-16, “He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”

The New Testament in Rev 13:10 says the same thing, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

Let me briefly trace again the way God’s justice fell upon the Assyrians in this chapter.

·   Verse 1 says that He who scatters has come up against them. The Assyrians were known for scattering and dispersing those people and nations that they had conquered. Remember how the northern kingdom of Israel was exiled by the Assyrians into a faraway land. Meanwhile, the Assyrians took foreigners from various parts of their empire and relocated them to Israel. But now, the Assyrians themselves will be scattered by their enemies.

·   Verse 2 says that the Assyrians who emptied out the glory of Israel will themselves be evacuated of their glory.

·   Verse 7 – they led their enemies into captivity, so now they will be captured by their enemies and led into captivity.

·   Verse 9 – they who plundered and robbed other nations, will now themselves be totally plundered and robbed of all their wealth.

·   Verse 10 – just as they struck great terror and fear into the hearts of their victims, so now they will know firsthand the terrors and horrors of being defeated and destroyed.

God’s justice prevailed against Nineveh. The destroyer is himself destroyed. The scatterer is scattered. Those who do evil will not escape divine retribution. God’s people are called not to lose heart or be impatient when the wicked seem to prevail and triumph over them. In His good time, the LORD Jesus will come again to judge the wicked and to deliver His people. All injustices will be made right.

But what is required of us now is patience and faith in the prospect of that glorious day to come.  

But third, I’ll like us to learn something of the proclamation of the good news in this chapter.

3. The Good New

The last verse of chapter 2 ends with the promise that the voice of these evil messengers shall be heard no more. This stands in contrast to the last verse of chapter 1 which speaks of the messengers of peace declaring on the mountains the good news that the enemy has been defeated. These bearers of good news have replaced those arrogant and wicked messengers of Assyria who had tormented God’s people with their evil and discouraging words.

The good news for us today is that the lion of the tribe of Judah, even the Lord Jesus Christ, has not only defeated the powerful and cruel lion of Assyria but He has also overcome the devil, who is described in scripture as a roaring lion.

Over and over again in scripture, we read of His victory over the evil one, which He accomplished through His death.

·   Hebrews 2:14b-15, “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

·   1 John 3:8b, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

·   John 12:31-33, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

Conclusion

Dear brethren, do you sometimes feel like the people of old, who were living under the constant threat and terror and fear of the Assyrian empire? Do you feel that the problems and temptations that confront you are larger than what you can handle?

Do you feel that you are hemmed in on every side and surrounded with no way of escape? Do you fear that the harsh and cruel realities of life in this fallen world are too much for you to bear? Perhaps it is ill health, weakness of mind and body, exhaustion, depression, frustration, rejection, discrimination, fear, anger, pain, hurt, sorrow, anxiety and so on and on.

The good news is that there is hope for you if you are resting and trusting in Christ. “Be strong and of good courage” says the Lord.

The enemy both within you and outside of you has, in principle, been defeated and disarmed. And one day, he shall no longer trouble you in any way at all. Praise God for that!    

But hear again the good news as we find it in the book of Nahum and remember that the good news always involves both the destruction of the wicked and the deliverance of the righteous.

“Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions: and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.” (Nahum 2:13)

“Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” (Nahum 1:15) Amen.

—Linus Chua