Nahum's name means, "The Lord comforts." He prophesied about God's imminent judgment on Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. His prophecy was fulfilled when Nineveh was conquered by the Babylonians in 612 B.C. Once, God sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach repentance, and the people repented and were saved. This time, however, Nineveh did not repent, and the city was destroyed.
God once had used Assyria as the rod of his anger (Isa 10:5); the Assyrian army destroyed Samaria, capital of Northern Israel in 721-22 B.C. (2Ki 17). The Assyrians were very proud and cruel. Their imperial policies were ruthless.
God is just and he hates evil, so he would surely punish Assyria. Nineveh's fall was good news for Judah. Once Ahaz, king of Judah, foolishly had asked Assyria's help, inviting destruction (Isa 7). Once the Assyrian army knocked at the door of Jerusalem, but because of the prayers of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, God had intervened and spared Jerusalem (2Ki 18; Isa 36). Now, God would punish Assyria for her wickedness.
Nahum talks about God's destruction of Nineveh in all three chapters. He proclaims the sovereignty of God. God controls the destiny of all nations; God rules nations and history.
GOOD NEWS FOR GOD'S PEOPLE
Nahum 1:1-15 (Mon.) June 28
Key Verse: 1:7
1. The Lord's anger and love (1-10)
The Lord is the sovereign ruler of nature and history. He is the Avenger. No one needs to seek revenge, for the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and storm; he can make the mountains quake and the rivers run dry. The world and all who live in it tremble at his presence. No one can withstand his anger. But he is also loving and kind; he is a refuge for those who seek him. He cares for those who trust in him.
2. Good news for Judah (11-15)
The Assyrian king was probably the most powerful man on earth. Tiny, helpless Judah was included in his plots and plans for world conquest. But the Almighty God was with his people. He would break the Assyrian yoke from their necks and destroy the idols of the Assyrians. Assyria would be cut off without descendants, and God's people would dwell in peace (15).
Prayer: Lord, I put my trust in you, for you are almighty, and you are good.
One Word: He cares for us
NINEVEH WILL FALL
Nahum 2:1-13 (Tue.) June 29
Key Verse: 2:13
1. Nineveh is like a pool being drained (1-10)
The crack troops of Assyria had terrorized many people. They dressed in red uniforms and carried polished shields. When they invaded a city, they drove their chariots around like mad men, rushing here and there like burning torches. But when it pleased God to do so, the Babylonian army invaded Nineveh and plundered it. Nineveh became like a tub of water with the plug removed. Like lifeblood, the water drained away.
2. Where is the lion's den now? (11-13)
Nineveh had been like a lion's den. It had been full of the spoils of war from many military campaigns. But the sword of the invader would devour the young lions. The famous Assyrian chariots would go up in smoke. God is more powerful than the most powerful nation. He is more powerful than the most fearsome lion.
Prayer: Lord, take away our fear of people and our fear about the future, and help us to trust in you wholeheartedly.
One Word: God destroys and God restores
WOE TO NINEVEH
Nahum 3:1-19 (Wed.) June 30
Key Verse: 3:5a
1. Because of wanton lust (1-7)
The Assyrian Empire is a representative of the rapacious greed of militaristic nations, hungry for more power and more wealth. Such nations have risen to plague the earth since the dawn of history. Nineveh is compared to a harlot who seduces and enslaves men by prostitution and witchcraft. The Lord Almighty is against these things, and he is against Nineveh. He will bring about her fall. He will turn her glory into shame.
2. Are you better than Thebes? (8-19)
Thebes, a powerful and beautiful Egyptian city, situated on both banks of the Nile, was destroyed by the Assyrians in 663 B.C. Now it was Nineveh's turn. She would be like a field stripped by locusts. She would fall, never to rise again. Those whom she had oppressed would rejoice.
Prayer: Lord, help me not to be fooled by the temptations of wealth and power and pleasure. Let me remain as a part of your remnant people.