Book of Nahum Chapter
Two Commentary by
Sermon 12/12/10 – Nahum 2
The Lord Will Restore
This chapter in the Book of Nahum reveals what happens when a nation turns away from God. He utters, “I am against you” (Verse 13). One hundred years before the words of this chapter, as described in Jonah Chapter 3, the people, the nation, the empire called Assyria, repented of their sins committed against the Holy One of Israel and almost to a man placed their trust in the Lord. Now they had entered into unbelief once more and God saw that this time they would not repent. They were a people against God and therefore, He was against them.
What will happen to your nation, your family, to YOU, if you, as individuals and as people, reject the Lord? What is the effect of your government’s decision to ban public prayer in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ? What is the result of a widespread rejection of the Risen Lord? What if authorities reject the written Word of God, the Bible? The nation that refuses Him, it is doomed. It might be an immediate destruction or it may be, as it was for Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, something yet in the future. But it will happen, for an angry God will not endlessly tolerate a sinful rejection of the Risen Lord.
In the first verses of this chapter, God, through the prophet, speaks directly to the people and the leaders of the nation called Assyria, and its capital, Nineveh. “He who scatters” (NKJV) or as it is in the King James – “He that dashes in pieces,” is a reference to the King of Babylon and his armies. He will come against you. And the Lord gives good advice to the leaders of Nineveh – “Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily” (Verse 1). But that good advice would merely warn them, not help them, for it was more than men who were coming against them – it would be God Himself, utilizing the forces of Babylon to destroy the mighty nation called Assyria.
And why would Babylon be permitted to do this thing? - A nation was about to be destroyed; not only the soldiers, but also the young, old, women, children, animals and buildings. Crops would be burned and lives destroyed. Why? A partial answer is that God remembers His people and will defend them. He may judge those He loves through the nations around them, but He also loves them and will rescue them at just the right time. As mentioned in Verse 2: “The Lord will restore the excellence of Jacob, like the excellence of Israel, for the emptiers have emptied them out and ruined their vine branches." Israel IS the “vineyard” of the Lord. That nation BELONGS to Almighty God, and whoever comes against them may seem to prosper for a time, as Assyria did, but He will stop them and destroy them – forever.
How many Assyrians have you met? Or even heard about in today’s world? The answer is – none. They are gone, and so is the “indestructible” empire they represented. What nations are determined to destroy Israel today? What will happen to them? Pray for your leaders that they will come to their senses and ally themselves with God’s people. The alternative is unthinkable, for just as Assyria was destroyed, other nations that go against the purposes of God in this world will not last.
And note that God’s people are everywhere in places you would not expect them. Abraham never heard the name “Jesus Christ,” and yet “he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). The cross of the Lord reaches forward and backward in time, saving those who merely call out in honesty, “Help me, Lord; save me.” And He will.
The Babylonians dyed their copper-centered wicker-work shields red and they wore scarlet clothing into battle, facts well known to the Assyrians. And so, when the Lord cried out through the prophet in Verse 3 – “The shields of his mighty men are made red. The valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the spears are brandished. The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, they run like lightning” – The Assyrians knew exactly who was being discussed - The Babylonians were coming!
The King of Nineveh is being discussed in Verse 5. “He remembers his worthies; they stumble in their walk; they make haste to her walls, and the defense is prepared.” But it was all in vain. The Babylonians and their allies, the Medes, would flood over the Assyrians, as though “the gates of the rivers are opened” and“the palace” of the king would be “dissolved” (Verse 6). The people “shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up; and her maidservants shall lead her as with the voice of doves, beating their breasts” (Verse 7).
Nineveh was considered to be like “a pool of water,” into which other nations poured vast resources for commercial purposes, but now “they(would)flee away” (Verse 8), crying, “’Halt! Halt!’ but no one turned back.” The Babylonians were going to shout to one another, “Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, or wealth of every desirable prize. She (Nineveh) is empty, desolate, and waste!” (Verses 9-10). And then we are given the feelings of what it would have been like for the Assyrian soldier when the “invincible” city was overrun by the Babylonian army and its survivors ran away: “The heart melts, and the knees shake; much pain is in every side, and all their faces are drained of color.”
God calls out in Verse 11: “Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub and no one made them afraid? The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, killed for his lionesses, filled his caves with prey, and his dens with flesh.” That was the Assyrian Empire. It was felt that no one could defeat them. They would last forever, not unlike the Babylonians who would succeed them, the Persians and Medes who would defeat Babylonia and the Greeks who became the next conquering army, and then the Romans. History is full of nations that succeeded, became proud and were thought to be indestructible, but then fell into the dust. A combined army of Medes and Babylonians conquered Nineveh in 612 BC. Like dead lions, they were no more.
And why did they fall? The answer is in Verse 13 of this chapter – “’Behold, I am against you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.’” A similar statement has come from the Throne of God in relation to every failed empire, every dynasty in history. The USSR is no more, not merely because of President Reagan in the U.S., but because the Lord said, “Behold, I am against you,” and they were gone. You have to wonder, was it because of the USSR’s opposition to Israel and their decision to officially be an empire of atheists that brought the USSR down?
We saw in Verse 2 the parenthetical statement: “For the Lord will restore the excellence of Jacob, like the excellence of Israel, for the emptiers have emptied them out and ruined their vine branches.” The “emptiers” in that verse were the Assyrians, who had destroyed Israel and were threatening Judah, the southern Israeli kingdom. The Lord does enter human history and He will destroy the destroyers. The way for your life to be restored is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16). The best way to help your nation is to pray for its leaders, that they will trust in Him, too. Place Your faith in the Lord and pray:
Lord, I give You my heart and my life. Forgive my sins. I trust in You now. Touch my leaders with understanding. Bring them to the Lord. Rescue us. In Jesus Name. Amen.