Nahum 1-3: Beyond the Pale
Today is Prophecy Friday and we’ll read the book of Nahum. I do have an on this date in church history for you. I’m calling today’s episode “Beyond the Pale.”
Comments on Nahum 1-3
Nahum means “comforter”. There is comfort for God’s people, to be sure. But for Nineveh, not so much.
Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, and the book of Nahum was written about a hundred years after God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them that unless they repented, God’s judgement would destroy them. You probably remember that Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh to give the warning, because Nineveh was so evil that Jonah didn’t want them to repent. Jonah didn’t think they deserved a chance. But God is love and does not want anyone to perish, so He is patient and pleads with the sinner to turn from their wicked ways. And after Jonah was swallowed by the great fish, *he* repented and did deliver the warning to Nineveh. And Nineveh repented and thus avoided God’s judgement.
But now, just a short hundred years later, they are a truly evil, foul and Godless city. They are a great and powerful city. According to one description I found, it was 60 miles across, with walls a hundred feet high. Many thousands of inhabitants.
In chapter 3 it was referred to as a city of bloody violence. In reading through the Bible, there are occasional times where we are surprised by how descriptive its language is. But overall, it is quite reserved in its language. Such is this reference to Nineveh. “Bloody violence” doesn’t even begin to describe what went on there.
The Assyrian rulers were cruel in the extreme. And they were proud of their cruelty. Monuments that they had created to tell of their heinous acts have been found, and are now in museums. Listen to what some of them say:
· “I cut off their heads and formed them into pillars.”
· “Bubo, son of Buba, I flayed in the city of Arbela and I spread his skin upon the city wall.”
· “I flayed all the chief men who had revolted, and I covered the pillar with their skins.”
· “Many within the border of my own land I flayed, and spread their skins upon the walls.”
· “I cut off the limbs of the officers, the royal officers who had rebelled.”
· “3,000 captives I burned with fire.”
· “Their corpses I formed into pillars.”
· “From some I cut off their hands and their fingers, and from other I cut off their noses, their ears, and their fingers, of many I put out their eyes.”
· “I made one pillar of the living, and another of heads, I bound their heads to posts round about the city.”
So yes, Nineveh was an evil, evil city. And there was much, much more that I haven’t even mentioned. They truly were beyond the pale. God gave them a chance, but after a short time of repentance, they reverted back to their old ways.
So getting to the bottom line, Nineveh was completely and utterly destroyed. Some even doubted that ever even truly existed until ruins were discovered in 1840.
Judah had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians and suffered greatly under them. And now finally, God is going to exact vengeance on them. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”. That is a comfort for those who have confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But on the other side of that coin, for those who are not His, it is equally true that if God is against you, then who can be for you? God was against Nineveh, and no one could save them.
Nineveh was once a great and mighty city. No one could conceive of its destruction. Everyone thought that such a city would always be great. But they turned to their own way, and they were brought down.
Is there a lesson for us here? I believe there is. We as a nation MUST return to God if we are going to ever see His blessing on us again. If we don’t, our fall is sure. God gave Nahum a vision of the destruction of Nineveh. And God has given us His Word to show what happens to nations and kingdoms who forsake Him. The good news is that when nations and kingdoms repent, He blesses. I do not think it is too late for us. There are still many of us praying for America. Let us not grow weary.
Today’s Bible Translation
Bible translation used in today’s episode: Ch. 1-3 GW
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STEVE WEBB – 0:00
But God is love and doesn’t want anyone to perish.
INTRO S12E289 – 0:10
Coming to you from Riverside, California, this is the Lifespring Family Audio Bible and podcasting since 2004, I’m your OG Godcaster, Steve Webb. This is the daily show where we’re reading through the entire Bible in a year. And today’s Prophecy Friday, so we’ll read the book of Nahum. Of course, after the reading, I’ve got some comments and we’ve got an on this date in church history segment for you as well. I’m calling today’s episode, “Beyond the Pale”. The show notes page for today’s at lifespringmedia.com/s12e289. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get started.
NAHUM 1 (GWT) – 0:46
Nahum, chapter one.
(1) This is a revelation from the Lord about Nineveh. This book contains the vision of Nahum from Elkosh.
(2) God does not tolerate rivals. The Lord takes revenge.
The Lord takes revenge and is full of anger.
The Lord takes revenge against his enemies
and holds a grudge against his foes.
(3) The Lord is patient and has great strength.
The Lord will never let the guilty go unpunished.
Raging winds and storms mark his path,
and clouds are the dust from his feet.
(4) He yells at the sea and makes it dry.
He dries up all the rivers.
Bashan and Carmel wither.
The flowers of Lebanon wither.
(5) The mountains quake because of him.
The hills melt.
The earth draws back in his presence.
The world and all who live in it draw back as well.
(6) Who can stand in the presence of his rage?
Who can oppose his burning anger?
He pours out his rage like fire
and smashes the rocky cliffs.
(7) The Lord is good.
He is a fortress in the day of trouble.
He knows those who seek shelter in him.
(8) He will put an end to Nineveh
with a devastating flood.
He will pursue his enemies with darkness.
(9) What do you think about the Lord?
He is the one who will bring Nineveh to an end.
This trouble will never happen again.
(10) The people of Nineveh will be like tangled thorns
and like people drunk on their own drink.
They will be completely burned up like very dry straw.
(11) From you, Nineveh, a person who plans evil against the Lord sets out.
His advice is wicked.
(12) This is what the Lord says:
Though the people of Nineveh are physically fit and many in number,
they will be cut down and die.
Though I have humbled you, Judah,
I will not humble you again.
(13) But now I will break Nineveh’s yoke off of you
and tear its chains from you.
(14) The Lord has given this command about you, Nineveh:
You will no longer have descendants to carry on your name.
I will remove the wooden and metal idols from the temple of your gods.
I will prepare your grave because you are worthless.
(15) There on the mountains are the feet of a messenger
who announces the good news: “All is well!”
Celebrate your festivals, Judah! Keep your vows!
This wickedness will never pass your way again.
It will be completely removed.
NAHUM 2 (GWT) – 3:10
Nahum, chapter two.
(1) The one who will scatter you is coming to attack you.
Guard your fortress!
Keep a lookout on the road!
Prepare for battle!
Be very courageous!
(2) The Lord will restore Jacob’s glory like Israel’s glory,
although enemies have looted it
and have destroyed its vines.
(3) The shields of his warriors are painted red.
His soldiers have red uniforms.
The metal on his chariots flashes fiery red,
so do the spears when they are waved
on the day he prepares for battle.
(4) Chariots are racing madly through the streets,
rushing this way and that in the city squares.
They look like torches, like lightning, as they dart about.
(5) He remembers his best fighting men.
They stumble over themselves as they march.
They hurry to Nineveh’s wall.
The shield has been set up for the battering ram.
(6) The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace melts away.
(7) The Lord has determined:
“It will be stripped.
It will be carried away.
Its young women will be mourning like doves
as they beat their breasts.”
(8) Nineveh was like a pool of water from its first day on.
But now its people are fleeing.
But no one turns around.
(9) Steal the silver! Steal the gold!
There is no end to what is stored here—
everything a person could ever want.
(10) Nineveh is destroyed, deserted, demolished.
Hearts are melting.
Knees are knocking.
Every stomach becomes upset.
Every face turns pale.
(11) Where is the lions’ den,
that feeding place for young lions?
Where are the lion, the lioness, and the lion cub who moved about
with no one to terrify them?
(12) The lion tore its prey to pieces to feed its cubs.
It strangled the prey for its mates.
It used to fill its caves with torn carcasses
and its dens with torn flesh.
(13) “I am against you, Nineveh,” declares the Lord of Armies.
“I will send your chariots up in smoke,
and a sword will kill your young lions.
I will remove your prey from the earth,
and no one will ever hear the voice of your messengers again.”
NAHUM 3 (GWT) – 5:13
Nahum, chapter three.
(1) How horrible it will be for that city of bloody violence!
It is completely full of lies and stolen goods—never without victims.
(2) The sound of the whip!
The sound of rattling wheels!
Chariots bounce along!
(3) Horses charge!
Many are killed!
Dead bodies pile up!
There is no end to the corpses!
People trip over corpses
(4) because of Nineveh’s constant prostitution,
this very charming mistress of evil magic.
She used to sell
nations her prostitution
and people her evil magic.
(5) “I am against you, Nineveh,” declares the Lord of Armies.
“I will lift up your dress over your face.
I will show nations your naked body and kingdoms your disgrace.
(6) I will throw filth on you.
I will make you look like a fool.
I will make you a sight to be seen.
(7) Everyone who sees you will run from you, saying,
‘Nineveh has been violently destroyed!
Who will feel sorry for her?’
Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”
(8) Are you better than No-amon, which sits by the streams of the Nile
with water surrounding her?
The sea was her defense.
The water was her wall.
(9) Sudan and Egypt were her endless strength.
Put and the Lybians were her help.
(10) Even she went into captivity and was exiled.
Even her little children were smashed to death at every street corner.
Soldiers tossed dice for her important men,
and all her best men were bound in chains.
(11) Even you, Nineveh, will stagger like a drunk.
You will disappear.
Even you will look for a fortress to escape from the enemy.
(12) All your defenses will be like fig trees with the earliest figs.
When shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
(13) Look at your soldiers; they’re women!
The gates of your country are wide open to your enemies.
Fire has destroyed the bars of your gates.
(14) Store water for the siege!
Strengthen your defenses!
Step into the claypits and trample the clay!
Grab the brick mold!
(15) Fire will consume you there.
A sword will cut you down.
It will consume you like locusts.
Multiply like locusts!
Multiply like hungry locusts!
(16) You have produced more businessmen than there are stars in the sky.
They are like locusts that attack and then fly away.
(17) Your officers are like locusts,
and your scribes are like swarms of locusts
that settle on the fences when it is cold.
The sun rises, and they scatter in every direction.
No one knows where they’ve gone.
(18) Your shepherds, king of Assyria, have fallen into a deep sleep.
Your best fighting men are at rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains,
and there is no one to gather them.
(19) There is no relief for your collapse.
Your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you will clap their hands.
Who hasn’t suffered from your endless evil?
COMMENTS – 8:08
Nahum means “comforter”. In this book there is comfort for God’s people to be sure. But for Nineveh not so much. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. And the book of Nahum was written about 100 years after God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them that unless they repented, God’s judgment would destroy them. I’m sure you remember that Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh to give them the warning because Nineveh was so evil that he didn’t want them to repent. Jonah didn’t think they deserved a chance. But God is love and doesn’t want anyone to perish, so he’s patient and he pleads with a sinner to turn from their wicked ways. And after Jonah was swallowed by the great fish he repented and did deliver the warning to Nineveh and Nineveh repented and thus avoided God’s judgment.
But now just a short 100 years later, they are a truly evil, foul and godless city. They are a great and powerful city and, according to one description I found, it was 60 miles across with walls 100 feet high, with many thousands of inhabitants.
In chapter three as we read today, it was referred to as a city of bloody violence. Now in reading through the Bible, there are occasional times when we’re surprised by how descriptive the language is, but overall, it’s quite reserved in its language. And that’s how this reference in Nineveh was, very reserved. Bloody violence doesn’t even begin to describe what went on there.
The Assyrian rulers were cruel in the extreme and they were proud of their cruelty. Monuments that they created to tell of their heinous acts have been found, and they’re now in museums. Listen to what some of these things say.
“I cut off their heads and formed them into pillars.”
or “Bubo, son of Buba, I flayed in the city of Arbela and spread his skin upon the city wall.”
Nice, huh? They seemed to have liked the flaying act.
This one says, “I flayed all the chief men who had revolted, and I covered the pillar with their skins.”
“Many within the border of my own land I flayed, and spread their skins upon the walls.”
And there was much, much more than I haven’t even mentioned. So yes, Nineveh was an evil, evil city. They truly were beyond the pale. God gave them a chance. But after a short time of repentance, they reverted back to their old ways.
So getting to the bottom line, Nineveh was completely and utterly destroyed. Some even doubted that they ever truly existed until ruins were discovered in 1840.
Now, Judah had been taken into captivity by these people by the Assyrians and suffered greatly under them. And now finally, God is going to exact vengeance on them. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” That is a comfort for those who have confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But on the other side of that coin, for those who are not his, it is equally true that if God is against you, then who can be for you? God was against Nineveh, and no one could save them.
Nineveh was once a great and mighty city, and no one could conceive of its destruction. Everyone thought that such as city would always be great. But they turned to their own way, and they were brought down.
So is there a lesson here for us? Well, what do you think I believe there is. We as a nation must return to God if we’re ever going to see his blessing on us again. If we don’t, our fall is sure. God gave Nahum a vision of the destruction of Nineveh, and God has given us His word to show what happens to nations and kingdoms who forsake Him. The good news is that when nations and kingdoms repent, he blesses, and I don’t think it’s too late for us. There are still many of us praying for America and the world. So let us not grow weary.
If you have a comment, and I hope you do, go to lifespringmedia.com/s12e289. And leave your comment there. Tomorrow is Gospel Saturday, and we’ll read Acts seven and eight.
FEEDBACK AND QUESTIONS – 12:12
Speaking of comments, I got a comment in recently from Brother Paul of Seattle. He was commenting on Acts five and six, “The Choice” episode and he said,
“I’ve been meaning to write this for a few days and [I] figure better late than never. Two thoughts around today’s scripture:
- I’ve heard it said before that it’s interesting [that] people tried to touch Jesus to be healed, but, with Peter, they just wanted his shadow to pass over them. It got me to thinking, since Jesus said it was their faith that healed them, what would have happened in that time of numerous miracles if people would have just believed and had faith [that] God would heal, would they have been healed, or was it the public act of showing one’s faith that God then performed the miracle?”
So Brother Paul of Seattle is referring to these two verses from Acts chapter five, verses 15 and 16, which say,
“So the people brought those who were sick into the streets and put them on little beds and mats. They were hoping that Peter’s shadow might fall on them as he walked by. People came from all the towns around Jerusalem. [And they] brought those who were sick or troubled by evil spirits. [And all] of them were healed.”
Okay, well, before I talk about these verses, let’s remember the context of the book of Acts, or the full name, of course, is the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the early days of the church. The church was growing at a fantastic rate, and God was doing great miracles through the apostles. Did God do these miracles through them so that people would believe in the apostles? No, of course not. He did these miracles so that people might believe in Jesus, In Acts 3, Peter, after the lame man was healed, said,
“My Jewish brothers, why are you surprised at this? You are looking at us as if it was our power that made this man walk. Do you think this was done because we are good? No, God did it! He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is the God of all our fathers. He gave glory to Jesus, his special servant…”
And then dropping down a little bit further. He said,
“This crippled man was healed because we trusted in Jesus. It was Jesus’ power that made him well. You can see this man, and you know him. He was made completely well because of faith in Jesus. You all saw it happen!”
So that’s the first point, God was doing great works in the early church so that people would believe in Jesus.
Now to the scene of brother Paul’s question. Let me read the verses again, and listen carefully.
“So the people brought those who were sick into the streets and put them on little beds and mats. They were hoping that Peter’s shadow might fall on them as he walked by. People came from all the towns around Jerusalem. They brought those who were sick or troubled by evil spirits. All of them were healed.”
So the people brought the sick and were hoping that Peter’s shadow would fall on them as he walked by. Does the Scripture say that any were healed as a result of his shadow falling on them? No. Here’s what it does say: people came from all the towns around, they brought those who were sick and troubled, and all of them were healed. All of them were healed. Whether or not Peter shadow fell on. Why? Because God was building the faith of the people. He was building the church.
Brother Paul asked, “It got me to thinking, since Jesus said it was their faith that healed them, what would have happened in that time of numerous miracles if people would have just believed, had faith [that] God would heal, would they have been healed, or was it the public act of showing one’s faith that God then performed the miracle?”
Well, it seems to me that since these miracles were taking place in order to cause people to believe in Jesus, if the people had just stayed at home, they would have missed out on their healing. These were public miracles, not private. People from the towns all around Jerusalem, were seeing these miracles, and then they were going back home and telling what they had seen. Of course, they could have been healed in their homes in private. But that does not seem to be what God was doing at that particular time. So that’s my two cents on that.
Now Brother Paul of Seattle’s second question. I’m quoting here, “The discussion about choosing [how] to stand with God rather than having to make the decision in the moment brought up a thought or two: In the abstract, thinking about a mob or something telling me to renounce God or I die seems like an easy choice, I mean, why would I want to live with a bunch of people who hated [God] so much they wanted me (and others) dead? I’ve obviously never been in this situation so I don’t know how I’d actually feel, and I don’t have kids so they couldn’t threaten them, but still, seems kind of easy while I write this. What seems harder and more likely is [losing] my job due to standing up for my faith, or just simply talking about it. [Lose] my life, I know what’s next. [Lose] my job, that’s a big unknown. It seems weird to say it, but I really think I’m more concerned with the job loss and making the decision to speak about God when God prompts is a harder [thing] for me to do, and I need God to provide the deeper faith to stand with Him in all situations.”
Well, Brother Paul of Seattle, that’s a good point. The loss of a job is a big fear for a lot of people. And in our very recent history, we saw a very real demonstration of that with governments and employers mandating that COVID vaccinations right? Get the jab or lose your job. Probably millions of people took the shot, even though they didn’t want to, but they felt it was necessary in order to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. I get that. That’s a very real fear.
So what are we to do? (And I’m moving away from the vax question now. Back to the question at hand.) We’re called to do that which God calls us to do, if it costs us our job? Don’t you think that God, the One who provided the job in the first place, is able to provide another one or provide for your needs in another way? Now, I’m not saying that we should be obnoxious with our witnessing efforts at work. We need to be wise not foolish. But if and when the time comes, when we have to choose between a clear choice between standing for God and denouncing him. We’ve got to trust that choosing him is always the better choice. I truly believe that if we have to choose between him and our job, he’ll find a way to provide for us.
Now, I hope this helps clear things up, Brother Paul of Seattle. The details of the circumstances can sometimes cloud the picture. But when we boil it all down to the basic issues, when we distill the facts, I think the choice becomes easier to make. Now, it definitely is a faith thing. And if we could see all the possible outcomes, it wouldn’t be faith, would it? Yeah, we do need to pray for more faith. There’s no doubt about that.
So Brother Paul of Seattle sent it another question, and I’ll try to answer that in the next day or two. Thank you for sending those in, Brother Paul. I appreciate the time and the thought you put into them. God bless you.
And beloved, I invite you to send your comments and questions in, too. For today’s show go to lifespringmedia.com/s12e289.
ON THIS DATE IN CHURCH HISTORY – 19:31
On this date in church history, June 17, 1859, the American Presbyterian evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman, who was the first director of the Winona Lake Bible Conference Center in Indiana, was born. He also wrote the hymns “One Day When Heaven Was Filled With His Praises” and “Jesus, What a Friend of Sinners.”
And this is a first. On June 17, 1968, at a meeting in Winona Lake, Indiana, the same place we were just at, the Pilgrim Holiness Church, which was organized in 1897, voted to approve a merger with the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America, which organized in 1843. So both of those happen on the same day, 109 years apart in the same place, Winona Lake, Indiana.
CLOSING PRAYER – 20:26
Let’s pray. Our heavenly Father, you are a holy God. Father, we don’t want to be like Nineveh. Much of the world appears to be devolving very quickly, farther and farther away from you. Please, Lord, bring a revival. Forgive us for our sins and use us to speak for you and bring people to Jesus. Lord, I know that in the end days, many people are going to fall away. But you have called us to make disciples of all nations. Lord, use us to make disciples even as things get worse around us. May your Holy Spirit fill us with boldness and may we trust in you. Build our faith, Lord, as brother Paul of Seattle asked. All of us need more faith. I pray this in Jesus name, amen.
If you have a praise or a prayer request, please go to prayer.lifespringmedia.com.
OUTRO S12E289 – 21:23
Comment on the show at lifespringmedia.com/s12e289. Send an email to me at email@example.com. My heartfelt thanks to Kirsty, Sean of San Pedro and Denise for the work they do for us.
Thank you for inviting me into your life today. I’m thankful to be with you. And support the show, please, at lifespringmedia.com/support. If you receive value from the show, if you believe that the Lifespring Family Audio Bible is filling a need and if you’re glad it’s here, lifespringmedia.com/support.
Until tomorrow, may God bless you richly. My name is Steve Webb and my voice is going out again. See you tomorrow.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Corrected by Denise