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. Nahum 1:2
These are sobering, fearful words for those who know the LORD. When we come to the books of the prophets we read lots of sobering, fearful words. God has demonstrated Himself in ways that speak and uncover His invisibility, that is through human history, by His control of that history. The book of Nahum is a prophetic book that proclaims the destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the vast Assyrian Empire. Nahum was written between 660 B.C. and 630 B.C.* Nineveh was destroyed in 612 B.C.by the Babylonian Empire.*
We should know that Jonah had reluctantly preached to Nineveh about 100 years prior to Nahum's prophecy and they had repented in sackcloth and ashes, but they had returned to their evil ways and now God will once again pronounce judgment on them.
What am I a Christian living in 2012 A.D. take from this book. There is much for us to take out of this. One thing is that the rising up and falling of nations even mighty nations is not just something that occurs because of coups, economic downfall, rebellion, oh these can be means of their fall, but the real power behind it is the sovereign will of the LORD. The name of God, LORD: all capital letters is the sacred name of GOD - YHWH - it is the covenant name of God. Which leads to another point we can take out of this prophetic book, Nineveh was raised up to scourge both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, although God used them to punish and drive Israel back to Himself, God did not overlook the cruelty and wickedness of Nineveh and because of His covenant relationship He was going to restore Judah because from Judah would come the Messiah. In 722 B.C. Israel was brought to an end when the kingdom was destroyed and the people
taken into captivity.*
The name Nahum means comfort and God would comfort His people, Nineveh would be destroyed.
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:7
God will not forget His covenant. We can take comfort in that. The Bible tells us that all power and authority has been placed in Jesus Christ's hand and He is the one who is driving history to that final day, the day of the Lord! There is no power that can stay His hand. Just as He destroyed Pharaoh and Egypt to bring His covenant people out, just as He brought down Thebes and Nineveh and will later bring down Babylon, He is in absolute control. Today He has defeated Satan, brings down strongholds, brought down the power of sin, that it no longer can have complete control over His covenant people.
We must also take from this book that God brought trouble, hard times upon His people when they walked away from Him as their God, when they turned to idols and turned from serving the true God. Nineveh was used of God to punish and bring back His covenant people. Are you not serving God as you should? Have you been brought into the covenant and have turned to idols? Let Nahum be a warning to you, God will bring His covenant people back to Himself, you see, the covenant has His Name on it, its not just an agreement that you pleaded to give your heart, mind, soul, life to, more importantly, it is a contract that the Almighty Lord of Glory has partnered to, and because of that it will suceed, it will accomplish all that it is suppose to accomplish, right down to the last period.
Jonah as I said reluctantly preached to Nineveh because they were the enemy of Israel/Judah. You would think that Jonah would have been happy to proclaim God' Word of judgment to the people of Nineveh to preach to them that God was going to destroy them for placing Israel/Judah in bondage. Jonah was reluctant because he knew that God was also compassion and if there was a possibility that God just might want to show compassion to the people of Nineveh, well, I am not going to give them that chance, I will not preach to them, seems to be his reasoning. Jonah was blinded to the grand scope of God's grace. Just like Israel was as a whole, they became victims to national pride and ethnic particularism.* The true people of God must be like their God, they must show compassion to all people - you must believe the Word. Don't place yourself in God's place, you are a sinner, fallible, and cant see and don't know what will happen in the next hour, no less over centuries. Let God be the Judge.
God has written His Word and we have it. We can pick it up and read it anytime, although there are places in the world where they can not pick up the Bible and read at anytime, let us be mindful of the Church world-wide and pray for them. In His Word - He has written how He controls all things that history unfolds according to His will, not according to our will. Go to His Word to find comfort for you, for those you love and for those who may be like Nineveh in your life. Trusting in the One you have signed a contract with.
* sources used ESV Study Bible p. 1709-1711
* The Reformation Study Bible p. 1301-1302