Sept. 26, 2009
Read Nahum 1
Highlights In Today's Reading:
How quickly we forget — Nineveh, in Assyria! Written with strong imagery, a sense of suspense, vivid language, yet a word of hope for God's Covenant people (chap. 1 — 3). Habakkuk, a poet and prophet, hated sin (Hab. 1:2-4). His sense of judgment challenges God's plan (1:12 — 2:1). His beautiful poem of praise (3:1-19).
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 God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way (Jon. 3:8-10). But the Ninevites had failed to teach their children about the mercy and love of God, and so, over a period of time, they slipped back into their sinful ways. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, controlled the world but sin controlled them.
Nineveh had enriched itself by wars and conquests and was probably the most brutal of the ancient heathen nations.
Nahum forewarned: Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery. . . . Nineveh is laid waste. . . . the sword shall cut thee off. . . . thy people is scattered upon the mountains (Nah. 3:1,7,15,18). It 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.
The time had come for God to judge this wicked city. The prophet Nahum spoke assuringly to Judah, which was suffering under Assyrian oppression: O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked (king of Assyria) shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off (1:15).
As Nahum had prophesied the fall of Assyria for its oppression of Israel, Habakkuk foretold the coming judgment of God upon His idol-worshiping people in Judah, using Babylon as His instrument.
Habakkuk lamented: O Lord, Thou hast ordained them for judgment. (Hab. 1:12). But our Creator 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 Sodom, Gomorrah, 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 (Nah. 1:7) when Jonah proclaimed the Word of God. In faith, we look 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 (Hab. 2:4,14; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38; 11:1-6).
Thought for Today:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped (Ps. 28:7).
As the One whom even the sea obeys (Nah. 1:4). Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm (Matt. 8:26-27).
Nahum 1:12 quiet = strong, safe, secure; 1:14 no more of thy name be sown = nothing of your name will remain; 2:7 tabering = beating; 3:19 bruit = report. Habakkuk 1:4 the law is slacked = the law is never enforced.
Pray for Staff: Staff: Ken Sharp • Country: Dominica (65,000) in the British West Indies • Major languages: English and French patois • Religious freedom • 75% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray not to be envious of others (Ps. 37:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 12:50