The Annihilation of Nineveh

In a book entitled Down to Earth, John Lawrence tells the story of a city that dared God to show Himself and paid a terrible price. It seems that the city of Messina, Sicily, was home to many wicked, irreligious people. On December 25, 1908, a newspaper published in Messina print … More

Judgment

Nineveh  had repented under Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:10).  Nearly 150 years later she had returned to her wicked ways. The Holy Spirit gives a vision of this great city’s impending judgment to Nahum (v. 1). The annihilation of Nineveh is seen against the background of God’s divine attributes.

1. God’s avenging jealousy (v. 2) - Only the one who loves me becomes jealous. God loved Israel and Nineveh had destroyed the northern kingdom and threatened to do the same to Judah. He is jealous or protective of His people.

2. God’s amazing longsuffering (v. 3) - The Lord is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8) but this should never be interpreted as weakness (II Peter 3:9). God held off His judgment of Nineveh many years when Jonah preached and the people repented and turned to God. However, now she had returned to her wicked ways and God’s hand of judgment was restrained no longer.

3. God’s almighty power (vv.3-6) - God controls nature. The winds and clouds are subject to Him. Seas and rivers are dried up at His command. If He held back the seed and the rain the vineyards and forests would not produce. He also controls the earthquakes and volcanoes. Nineveh would soon be destroyed.

God is slow to anger, but when He is ready to punish, even the earth trembles (vv. 7-8). Because God is slow to anger, he gives his followers time to share His love and truth with evil doers.

Application

Because I have been blessed of God in the past does not mean that I can do anything I want to and still be blessed. In fact God will judge my unconfessed sin now or later. I must be quick to keep my accounts with the Lord settled (I John 1:9).

Nahum 1:1-8 (English Standard Version)

An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh. The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

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