What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time. (Nahum 1:9)
The Burden Against Nineveh
When God confused the languages of the unified world after the flood, He created the nations and peoples of the world that continue until this day. Great empires have risen over the millennia with majestic capitals to rule the kingdom. History is filled with the dust of lost civilizations that have flourished for a time and then fading into the darkened memories of yesterday. One of the constant themes of scripture is God reminding man that only He is in charge of the affairs of the world and that at His bidding nations will rise and fall. No case is so evident to the working of the Creator within the affairs of man as the city of Nineveh. One of the oldest cities in the world, it is mentioned in the first book of Moses as a city founded by Nimrod in Assyria. The grandfather of Nimrod was Ham, son of Noah. This ancient city becomes an integral part of the telling of God’s dealings with the affairs of mankind throughout the history of the children of Israel. Jonah is tasked to preach to the city described as a great and populous city, the thriving capital of the Assyrian empire. The Lord refers to one hundred and twenty thousand people dwelling in the city and is described as large as it would take a man to travel for three days. Nineveh was a formidable city as the capital of one of the great nations in the annals of man that would forge the history of Israel and change the course of international affairs. Yet this great city would be a part of the completed prophecy of God’s wrath to remain in the pages of His divine will for all time.
ll that is known of the prophet Nahum is that he was an Elkoshite. His task was the burden to take the message of final destruction to the city of Nineveh from a God that was jealous, avenging, and furious and one who would take vengeance on His adversaries. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked and His hand of judgment had come to the city of Nineveh in clear and certain terms. Nahum declares the ruin and utter desolation of the great Assyrian city and this would all be accomplished by the hand of the Lord. By the word of the Lord, the name of the city of Nineveh would be perpetuated no longer and it would be made a grave where no man would dwell. The destruction of the city would be permanent as an injury that has no healing. As a city, the judgment against Nineveh would be a severe wound that would never be recovered. A final sentence of death is brought upon this once great, ancient and proud city. God wanted the world to know this judgment was by His hand alone. Nahum described how the city would be destroyed and the destruction would be total. He speaks of how the city would be captured while the rulers were drunk. The city of Nineveh was on the banks of the river Tigris and flooding of the city would be a major factor in the taking of the city. Fire would devour the city as the destruction of the Babylonians, Scythians and Medes brought the great empire to its knees. Nahum, along with the prophets Zephaniah and Isaiah declared the end of Nineveh. The burden of Nahum and the entire message of the Elkoshite prophet was a message of doom to one city: Nineveh.
The Bible is filled with the history of nations that ruled the world for a time and they are brought low. Like the prophet Nahum, the writers of holy writ declare that God rules in the affairs of the world and by His word nations rise and nations fall. The Assyrian Empire was one of the great civilizations of all time but they are no more because of the word of the Lord. Like the Babylonians, Persian, Greek and Roman Empires that followed, each nation was used by the Lord to carry out His will in His way and in His time. These great nations no longer exist and can only be found in the dusty halls of museums and desolate ruins where once their proud cities lay. The measure of God’s dealing with nations continues to this day. His will is still accomplished by His plan to govern the affairs of all men. Only through the Bible does the mind of the Creator unfold the universal plan of how the Lord works among the nations. Prophets like Nahum were brought forth to show the world the nature of God’s power in dealing with the nations of men. It should remind all the souls that fear the Lord of His great power and wisdom and that while men fuss and fight and argue about international affairs, there is One who looks down upon each nation and decides which nations shall remain and which nations shall pass away. Our God rules in the affairs of men. How great is our God!