“She is empty and void and waste—and the heart melts and the knees smite together and much pain is in all loins and the faces of them all gather blackness. . . All your strongholds shall be like fig trees with the first-ripe figs; if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater . . .There is no healing of your bruise; your wound is grievous. . .”
Nahum 2:10; 3:12, 19a
Sometimes our greatest lessons are the most painful ones.
Located in the ancient empire of Assyria, which came into existence around 2,000 B.C. and reached its zenith of power around the ninth century B.C., Nineveh was located on the Tigris River across from what is now known as modern-day Mosul in Iraq. As the capital of Assyria, this oldest and most populated city of the nation enjoyed great power and prosperity under Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal in the seventh century B.C.
Yet, like every city or individual, power and prosperity have a way of corrupting. And, that certainly was the case in Nahum’s day.
God had called Jonah to preach against the wickedness of the city and a great revival broke out across the city, which was around 60 miles across (Jonah 3:1-10). This shows that nothing is impossible with God and should cause us to intercede even more fervently (and with faith) for our own nation, family, friends, church, etc.
But, sadly, as is so often the case, too often such revivals are short-lived.
In Nineveh’s case, “the people believed God, proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5). Even the king “took his robe from himself and covered himself with sackcloth and ashes while proclaiming a fast throughout the land”—crying, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent and turn away His fierce anger that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:9).
God graciously stayed His Hand of Judgment upon them (Jonah 3:10); yet, 100 years later they’d returned to their evil ways.
And, onto the scene came Nahum, whose name means “Comfort, consolation,” proclaiming the downfall of this same city. The Assyrians had forgotten their revival and returned to their habits of violence, idolatry and arrogance. Later on the Babylonians would destroy the city and little trace of it remains today—a fulfillment of Nahum’s prophecy.
This is also a sobering reminder to us all of Jesus’ words “To whom much is given, much shall also be required” (Lk. 12:48b). Likewise, it reminds us that the Lord Jesus is truly “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29), but one day will return as the “Lion of Judah” to put an end to sin and suffering in this world (Rev. 5:5).
Dear Pilgrim, it’s easy to make casual commitments to the Lord, especially during a time when the Spirit’s moving in a powerful way. But, such commitments should not be taken lightly; neither should we forget that they require a day-by-day, intentional recommitting and surrendering of our lives to the One Who’s begun a good work in us (Phil. 1:6; 2:13; I Thess. 5:23-24). May we spend some time today allowing the Holy Spirit to show us any areas in our lives where we’re hindering Him in what He’s wanting to do in/through us.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 8, 2010