Nahum 1 -- Habakkuk 3
About 150 years had passed since the great revival of Jonah's day, when all of Nineveh repented and fasted, and its king commanded: Let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence . . . And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way (Jonah 3:8,10). But the Ninevites had failed to teach their children about God, so Nineveh, the capital of Syria, which controlled the world, had long since returned to its former sinful behavior. The time had come for God to judge this wicked city. The prophet Nahum proclaimed a warning as well as a comfort to Judah, which was suffering under Assyrian oppression: O Judah, keep your solemn feasts, perform your vows: for the wicked (king of Assyria) shall no more pass through your land; he is utterly cut off. . . . She (Nineveh) is empty, and void, and waste. . . . Behold, I am against you (Nineveh), says the Lord of hosts (Nahum 1:15; 2:10,13).
Nineveh had enriched itself by wars and conquests and was probably the most brutal of the ancient heathen nations. Even worse than its sin of cruelty, Nineveh had returned to its many pagan gods.
Through Nahum, God forewarned: Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery. . . . Nineveh is laid waste. . . . the sword shall cut you off. . . . O king of Assyria . . . your people are scattered on the mountains (3:1,7,15,18). Nineveh was destroyed exactly as foretold. The once great city of Nineveh still lies in ruins as a witness to the consequence of ignoring the Word of God.
As Nahum had prophesied the fall of Assyria for its oppression of Israel, Habakkuk foretold the coming judgment that God would bring upon His idol-worshiping people in Judah, using Babylon as His instrument. Habakkuk was troubled that God would use the cruel and wicked Babylonians to punish His people. He then foretold the judgment of God upon Babylon for its destruction of Judah. He knew the rightness of the purpose of God, and therefore stated: O Lord my God, my Holy One. We shall not die. O Lord, You have ordained them (the Chaldeans) for judgment; and, You, O Mighty God, have established them for correction (Habakkuk 1:12; compare Romans 5:3; II Corinthians 4:17; Hebrews 2:10; 12:10-11).
The suffering and defeat of Jerusalem was ordained for judgment . . . (but eventually) for correction. In the midst of numerous, perplexing injustices where evil seems to triumph, since we do not know all the facts, we dare not express unbelief in the Holy One by asking: "Why?" But we can be assured that our Creator God will always execute righteous judgment in every situation upon all nations and every individual. God is just as uncompromising toward sin today as He was when He destroyed Nineveh and then Babylon. Yet the Lord also desires to forgive even the most sinful person who truly repents and turns to Him, just as He did the Ninevites. All mankind will one day realize that the justice and mercy of the Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7). We also can be just as sure that the faithful shall be rewarded. With full assurance, we too can say: The just shall live by his faith in looking forward to a future day when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:4,14; compare Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; 11:1-6).
As the One whom even the sea obeys (Nahum 1:4; Matt. 8:26-27).
Nahum 1:4 languisheth means withers; 1:5 burned means collapses, laid waste; 1:12 quiet means strong; 1:14 no more of your name be sown means nothing of your name be born; 2:7 lead means mourn for; tabering means beating; 2:10 gather blackness means become flushed; 3:2 jumping means jolting; 3:8 No means the city of Thebes in Egypt; 3:11 strength means refuge; 3:17 crowned means officials, princes; 3:19 bruit means report. Habakkuk 1:4 slacked means powerless; 2:6 him that ladeth himself with thick clay means all of the massive accumulation of wealth will be as a massive load of clay; 2:10 hast consulted shame means has brought dishonor; 3:4 horns means rays of glory like light; 3:15 heap means surging.
Government Officials: Rep. Sue Kelly (NY) and Gov. Christine Whitman (NJ) · BPM Staff: Ken Sharp · Pray for Dr. Paul R. Gupta, President, Hindustan Bible Institute, Madras, India; Coordinator for Bible Pathway in Indian languages · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Corinne Wyatt · Country: Ecuador (11 million) in South America, crossed by the equator · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 91% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Draw near to God in prayer with a true heart in assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:22).
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