The Book of Nahum Survey

The Book of Nahum Survey

Pr Edi Giudetti

19-11-2017

 

What do you imagine against the Lord?

 Nahum 1

1:2 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth;

The Lord revengeth, and is furious;

The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries,

And he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power,

And will not at all acquit the wicked:

The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm,

And the clouds are the dust of his feet.

He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry,

And drieth up all the rivers:

Bashan languisheth, and Carmel,

And the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt,

And the earth is burned at his presence,

Yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

Who can stand before his indignation?

And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger?

His fury is poured out like fire,

And the rocks are thrown down by him.

 

This first chapter of the Book of Nahum is an argument all related to the nature and the power of God against those who would imagine in their hearts an ability against the Lord, these are the vain imaginations of man.

 

Nineveh is the focus of the argument, that city, that great city which had opportunity to repent, which the Lord, in his mercy, one hundred years before, when the heart of the nation, the Assyrian nation was lifted up and before they took to themselves the desire upon Israel, the northern Kingdom, the prophet Jonah was sent to them.

 

Jonah, the most successful and most unwilling of all the Prophets in the Bible was not asked to go to Nineveh, that great City, he did not have an assignment given him only if he would accept it, he was commanded by none other than God to go and go he will.

 

Jonah had vain imaginations against God, he thought to outrun the God of heaven and earth, he considered a ship heading in the opposite direction and imagined to himself “yes, if I go in the wrong direction it will be too far for me to travel to Nineveh and God, the God of heaven and Earth, will be unable to bring me there”.

 

And so he took a ship and imagined to himself, “ah, I will go down to the hull of the ship, deep into the craft where man nor God can see me, there I will fall asleep, if God can find me still, he will find me unconscious and clearly unable to follow God’s command”.

 

But he was found both of the men and of God.

 

But the vain imaginations against God would still prevail in the mind of Jonah for whose cause the storm raged and tossed the ship, “Toss me overboard and the seas will be calm to you. I will go to my ocean grave and there have I imagined my cause against the Lord successful”. Even the men feared for they did not want the Death of Jonah upon their heads and they tossed him overboard.

Down

Down

Down to the bottom of the mountains did Jonah sink, pleased that he had escaped this command of God.

His imagination finally fulfilled its plan, until a fish interrupted the imagination of Jonah.

 

Jonah failed in his imagination against God to carry out the project of Gods mercy, the Gospel was put onto Jonah’s lips and that great City, Nineveh repented of its evil and did so in dust and ashes.

Its destruction scheduled forty days hence was postponed, no, it was cancelled as far as the Lord is concerned. The City was saved, 120,000 persons who could not discern from their right or their left were spared and given their years to learn the difference.

 

But a generation past this date, a new Generation arose that knew not God nor feared the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

 

She returned to her own god’s, and worshipped the work of her own hands and sacrificed their children to devils and plagued the people of the nations around her and finally took the Northern Kingdom of Israel and replaced the people with the people of other nations.

 

Ezra tells us who they were

 

Ezra 4:9-10

 

the Dinaites, the Aphar–sath–chites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susan-chites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites, 10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria

 

Lifted in pride Nineveh and the Assyrian military determined to overtake the Kingdom of Judah.

 

Read with me this passage from Nahum 1:9-13

What do ye imagine against the Lord?

He will make an utter end:

Affliction shall not rise up the second time.

10 For while they be folden together as thorns,

And while they are drunken as drunkards,

They shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.

11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord,

A wicked counseller.

12 Thus saith the Lord;

Though they be quiet, and likewise many,

Yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through.

Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.

13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee,

And will burst thy bonds in sunder.

 

So history tells us of the extent of the vain imagination of the King of Assyria who sits in his City of Nineveh. It was at this time that Sennacherib sent Rabshakeh to come to the foot of the wall of Jerusalem to lay siege against it, to take it for himself. But he found it well closed up and no water to sustain his troops because Hezekiah the King had altered the water course

 

Turn with me for a moment and listen to the imagination against the Lord that Nahum addresses here.

Sennacherib the King of Assyria had taken captive the people of Israel several years earlier and now are come up against the popele of God in Jerusalem.

He has sent his general Rabshakeh to make the case that the God of Judah cannot deliver the people out of his hand. And he made the case in the very language of the Hebrew people so they will hear his imagination against the Lord.

2 Kings 19:10

10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?

 

This and other words he wrote in a letter to King Hezekiah

 

Read with me 2 Kings 19:21-35 As Isaiah responds with the words of God to this puffed up King of Assyria

 

The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn;

The daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed?

And against whom hast thou exalted thy voice,

And lifted up thine eyes on high?

Even against the Holy One of Israel.

23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said,

With the multitude of my chariots I am come up

To the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon,

And will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof:

And I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.

 

And the Lord goes on to explain that it was he who permitted Assyria the power it has;

 

25 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it,

And of ancient times that I have formed it?

Now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste

Fenced cities into ruinous heaps.

26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power,

They were dismayed and confounded;

They were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb,

As the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

 

The Lord then condemns him in verses 26-31

 

And now encourages Judah saying in verse 32

 

32 Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria,

He shall not come into this city,

Nor shoot an arrow there,

Nor come before it with shield,

Nor cast a bank against it.

33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return,

And shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.

34 For I will defend this city, to save it,

For mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

 

So many people there are today who imagine that they will escape God. They imagine as Jonathan Edwards had written, that they have made their plans well in the hope of escaping Gods judgement in hell.

 

They imagine that hell does not exist, they imagine that God does not exist. They crawl down in the bottom of the ship and think, like small children, that if they hide their eyes, God will cease to exist.

 

It is an imagination and nothing less than imagination. They are true believers however, they truly do believe that what they want to believe is true, TRUE based on their FAITH ALONE.

 

They, like us, believe their faith will save them from destruction. But our faith is in a Saviour, theirs is in their dreams.

 

But they will discover like the Ninevites these four truths

 

  1. They were always exposed to destruction. (Every moment of life it is God alone who holds them up. The Bible says that their very breath is in his hands)
  2. That they are exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. (Most who die today where making plans for tomorrow)
  3. They are liable to fall of themselves. They will not need to be cast down, people will likely be the cause of their own fall. 185,000 men died for a cause that set themselves against God, this was their own doing.
  4. The reason some are not now destroyed is that the appointed time is of God and not man. (And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after that the Judgement)

 

Though this is the potential end for all men, there is a glimmer of hope in our passage in Nahum 1:15

 

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!

O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows:

For the wicked shall no more pass through thee;

He is utterly cut off.

 

It is there to give comfort to Judah but who can fail to recognize that first line;

 

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!

 

Yes, it is found in the writing of the contemporary of Nahum, Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;

That bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation;

 

But there is a fulfillment of this prophecy, turn with me to Luke 2:10

 

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

But it does not stop there;

Romans 10:15

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

Could it be possible? That in the midst of the most solemn destruction of a wicked people is found the most profound hope to those saved by Gods grace?

 

Tell me, are yours those beautiful feet?

 

What hope can be had when God rises up?

 

2 He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face:

Keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.

For the Lord hath turned away the excellency of Jacob,

As the excellency of Israel:

For the emptiers have emptied them out,

And marred their vine branches.

The shield of his mighty men is made red,

The valiant men are in scarlet:

The chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation,

And the fir trees shall be terribly shaken.

 

God is the one who has come up before the face of Nineveh, he stands now and mocks them, he almost encourages them in their own vain imagination;

 

Keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.

 

Yes, prepare yourself, load all your armaments against God, ensure your POP Guns are loaded with cork and string. Keep watch, keep watch for no doubt you will be able to see him coming along the way. Do all to protect yourself, wrap your legs with iron, fortify yourself inside your house of cards.

 

How well are our preparations, how great is our hope when God rises up against us?

 

Turn with me to Psalm 2

 

Why do the heathen rage,

And the people imagine a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves,

And the rulers take counsel together,

Against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

Let us break their bands asunder,

And cast away their cords from us.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:

The Lord shall have them in derision.

Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath,

And vex them in his sore displeasure.

Yet have I set my king

Upon my holy hill of Zion.

I will declare the decree:

The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son;

This day have I begotten thee.

Ask of me,

And I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance,

And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;

Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings:

Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,

And ye perish from the way,

When his wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

 

What hope can be had when God rises up?

 

Chapter two begins with mockery from the Lord against the Ninevites.

Psalm 2 begins with incredulous laughter from God for those who truly will think that they can come against God, to take counsel against him and break his bands from off them.

 

But the vanity of man will continue to get more and more ridiculous as their minds are more and more turned to utter foolishness.

 

The Bible teaches of a direct correlation between the rejection of God and a virtual complete loss of wisdom.

 

Turn with me to Romans 1:21

 

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

 

and he goes on to list the failed life of the heathen man in his sin.

 

But it is this word in verse 28. God gave them over to a reprobate mind. It is the last stage of the mind of man as it continues its downward spiral.

 

It began with verse 21 after they rejected the God they once knew “but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

 

This is explained in its entirety in the next verse “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”.

 

They became fools, but it does not stop there, the passage goes on to describe a range of perverse acts and in verse 26 we see again God giving them over, it says “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections”.

 

Should we then be surprised that in the very same day and age when mankind is rejecting the truth of God they are also giving themselves over to “Vile affections”?

 

So much so that this very week the people of Australia have voted to sanctify those affections, to make them sacred within the institution God had ordained for a Holy Purpose.

 

Brethren, each and every day we see events in the world that continues to prove the Bible true. When will we all begin to take this book seriously?

 

And this goes on until finally the mind has become “Reprobate”.

 

This is a mind unable to function in accord with its original design. It does not mean these people are imbeciles or unintelligent, it means they are incapable of discerning between what is right and wrong. A reprobate mind is an unprincipled mind.

 

The Ninevites think they can stand strong before The Holy God of Israel;

 

The foolishness of Sennacherib when he came against Judah ended not only with 185,000 dead, but with him being killed by his own sons as he prayed to his god in the temple of his god just as the Lord said he would.

 

The key verse in this chapter, no, the first small part of the verse, is the most frightening of all sentences. These words are words not a single living soul today would ever want to hear speaking of him or her.

 

It is verse 13a

 

“Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts”

 

It is pure imagination for man to come against the living God, it is a reprobate mind indeed that thinks he can overcome the one who holds man’s very breath in his hands.

 

But who can stand when the Lord is against him?

 

Who are you now fighting friend? Who?

 

I know where you are at, I was once just such a fool. My mind was reprobate, it was unable to even think for a second that it might lose a fight with God.

Yes, I fought God, and unlike Jacob I did not prevail as a prince with him.

I know how pathetically vain such a mind can be because I HAD ONE JUST LIKE THAT! But the Lord sent me a Jonah in the form of books written by Atheists. These are people who’s very last thought is to be doing the will of God.

In fact, their desire is to turn people in the exact opposite direction!

But God spat their water laden ideas up on dry ground and I took them for the truth they inadvertently pointed to and I was spared and saved by the very one who I desired to fight.

When God rises up, we should in all humility sink down and say with the Psalmist;

 

My soul cleaveth unto the dust

 

The Lord can use even unwilling preachers to change and humble an stoborn heart. If he could do that with me, there is no question in my mind he can do it with anyone.

 

What man can escape the arm of God?

 

Lets now look at the last end of the wicked.

 

Its not a pleasant sight and how my hope and prayer “to all you Jonah’s”, is that you will see their end clearly that you might warn, that you might plead, that yours will be “the feet upon the mountains that bring good tidings” for the only hope for the wicked is in Christ but if they will not submit to his saving love; this is their end.

Nahum 3

3 Woe to the bloody city!

It is all full of lies and robbery;

The prey departeth not;

The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels,

And of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.

The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear:

And there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases;

And there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:

Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot,

The mistress of witchcrafts,

That selleth nations through her whoredoms,

And families through her witchcrafts.

Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts;

And I will discover thy skirts upon thy face,

And I will shew the nations thy nakedness,

And the kingdoms thy shame.

And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile,

And will set thee as a gazingstock.

And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say,

Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her?

Whence shall I seek comforters for thee?

 

Here the Lord shows why he is against her.

She is a bloody city, not only does she shed blood in battle, not only is her cruelty demonstrated toward her enemies, and not only is the spilling of blood that which she practices for her witchcrafts and religious sacrifices to her gods, but her blood shed is also among the people.

 

When a nation loses all sense of the true God and worships and serves its own gods, it will be not only the kings of those nations that turn upon the people, but the people will turn upon themselves.

 

Revelation tells us; Peace is taken from the earth as that Red horse inspires them to kill one another.

 

Luke 12:53 tells of the division caused against God in the words of Jesus;

 

The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

 

This is where it begins. But when sin has had its full course and the nation becomes a bloody City, then;

Matt 10:21

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

John 16:2

…. yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

 

This we see even in recent History;

Idi Amin killed up to 500,000 of his own people in Uganda

 

Cambodia’s Pol Pot 3 million of his people

 

Kin Il Sung the father of the current North Korean dictator, starved to death upwards of 3.5 million of his own people.

 

Adolf Hitler 17 Million

 

Joseph Stalin of Russia 23 million

 

Mao Tse Tung, the first communist dictator of China tops the modern list with 49 million of his own people dead at his hands.

 

EACH Regime noted above are recognized first by their hatred for the God of the Bible. Each where ‘Bloody Nations’

 

Woe to the bloody city!

It is all full of lies and robbery;

 

Evil people are identified by what I refer to as ‘their natural fall back state’.

 

Like a spring loaded switch they find lies and deceit the most natural response to questions or comments.

 

Even when there is no harm whatsoever in telling the truth of a matter, their first impulse is to lie.

 

This is the natural state of those who have the father of lies as their father.

 

ALL MEN LIE, this is true, but ALL MEN ARE LOST, this also is true. Their automatic turn to lies and deceit identify where their state.

 

This does not mean that those who are Born Again do not lie. The difference is the Law that is now written in their hearts warns them of it.

 

Natural liars don’t realise they lie so easily, those who know the father of truth recognize it each time they have lied and seek the Lord to help them curb that dead man within.

 

It is all full of lies and robbery

 

Robbery and Theft becomes the natural way of a reprobate mind.

 

From Sickies to Tax cheating.

From stealing little nuts and grapes in a supermarket to violently breaking into a home.

 

Each are descriptive of hearts turned from God.

 

The prophecy of Nahum would come to pass.

 

It was between 612 and 606 BC that the King of Babylon, known in the Bible as “The hammer of the whole earth” destroyed this first wannabe world empire.

That is approximately 50 years after this passage was written.

 

APPLICATION

 

To us today the message of Nahum tells us;

 

  1. There is no imagination of the wicked that can hope to succeed against the Lord.

All thoughts of getting out of life alive on their own efforts is nothing but pure vanity, a dream from which reality will ultimately wake them. No matter how much they try to benefit from life, death will destroy all the wicked in hell for all eternity.

 

Any effort to lessen the term or the torment of their damnation is futile. Inventions such as Purgatory by Roman Catholic’s is an imagination.

 

Johan Tetzel, the man who sold “Indulgences” to save time in Purgatory. Told his customers that every sin equals 7 years in Purgatory.

 

That equates to millions of years brethren.

 

BUT

  • Indulgences in the form of money given to the Church saves X amount of time for X amount of donations.
  • Holy Relics such as pieces of wood from the Cross, fragments of bone from Peter or Paul, a nail from the cross of Christ, a hair or tooth or piece of clothing from a saint.
  • Prayers for the dead
  • Adoration of Images
  • Invocation of saints
  • Pilgrimage

 

Each have a certain value measured in years saved in Purgatory. For example, Frederick the Wise had such a large collection of relics that venerating them all would merit 1,902,202 years  out of Purgatory.

 

You think that’s ridiculous? In July 2013 the Vatican decreed that time in Purgatory can be saved for everyone who follows Pope Francis on Twitter!

 

All are imaginations in the vain hope of avoiding hell.

 

  1. When God rises up against you, you cannot hope to win.

 

The evil wicked people experience in their lives as a direct result of their own sin are only an indicator that their damnation draws near. Only Jesus Christ can save them if they would humble themselves, repent of their hard hearted unbelief and believe the Gospel.

 

  1. None of the wicked will escape hell.

 

Dante in his poetic play The Inferno, on entering hell identifies a dramatic sign which simply states “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”

 

Dante even went as far as to say that the gates of hell are locked from the Inside.

 

That is the end of the Wicked. That was the end of this City.

 

But it does not need to end that way for anyone!

 

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