Nahum (Nah)

Book 34 of the OT, having 3 chapters. Nahum was the author of this minor prophetic book, probably written between 663 and 654 BC, to pronounce God’s judgment on the people of Nineveh, and to bring comfort to the people of Judah.  Some 100 years before, Jonah had preached to the people of Nineveh (Assyria’s capital) and they had repented, turning from their evil ways.  Time to read: 10 mins.

Outline. Evil especially in the form of oppression, idolatry, and arrogance towards God’s authority was again reigning – in fact Nineveh was called the ‘city of blood’ (Nah 3:1). God was going to judge this, the capital city of the leading military nation of the world, and completely destroy it (Nah 1:9, 2:1,13). In 612 BC this prophecy was fulfilled when the combined armies of the Medes and Babylonians conquered Nineveh and forever crushed the Assyrian nation, who would never trouble Judah again (Nah 1:13-15).

Main lesson. Although the most powerful military nation at that time, God intervened and destroyed them because of their disobedience, rebellion and injustice.  The human ability, by which they seemed invincible, was futile against God’s power, for nothing can prevent His purposes and judgment coming to pass – He is the ultimate ruler and authority.

Key verses and thoughts: * “The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished... but cares for those who trust in Him” (Nah 1:3,7). The workers of evil reaping the consequences of their willful sin, is contrasted with those cared for and blessed by God because they humbly respect, obey and live for Him. Which category do I come in?

* “I am against you, declares the Lord Almighty” (Nah 3:5). Their whole way of living was the complete opposite to what God considered acceptable. Each human has the choice, either to be committed to the Lord, living in humble obedience, co-operating with Him by responding to the Holy Spirit or else to face the consequences of rebellion and arrogance. This book shows it is much better to have God as a friend on our side than as a severe judge against us.

* Other prophecies about impending judgment also state that if the people involved turn from their sin God will not send that punishment.  However, in this case there is no mention of a reprieve.  Maybe they had received their last chance to repent and transform their thinking and lifestyle habits. Even with God, there is a limit.  We also should not presume on God’s grace, thinking we can repent of our sinfulness whenever we want to, for our life may be snuffed out instantly without the opportunity to reconsider or repent at the last minute.

See also: Assyria, Babylon, Nineveh, prophets, second chance.