We just saw the Divine Warrior, now lets see His Divine judgments in Nahum 1:9-15.
“What do you plot against the Lord? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time.For they are like entangled thorns, like drunkards as they drink; they are consumed like stubble fully dried.From you came one who plotted evil against the Lord, a worthless counselor. Thus says the Lord, “Though they are at full strength and many, they will be cut down and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.And now I will break his yoke from off you and will burst your bonds apart.” The Lord has given commandment about you: “No more shall your name be perpetuated; from the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the metal image. I will make your grave, for you are vile.” Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.”
Once we get into 1:9 the style and mood changes. Whereas before we heard all about the power and greatness of the Divine Warrior we now hear the Divine Warrior address His enemy Nineveh directly. “What do you plot against Me?” To hear such a Warrior personally address you in anger like this is the most frightening things one can experience in life, because you know in a fight with this Warrior, you’re not winning. Well, so complete is the destruction of the city going to be that it will not be able to trouble anyone ever again. It will be brought to a complete end. The Assyrians are then compared to entangled thorns that cannot escape their own craftiness and drunkards in 1:10.
Notice that God is taunting them? Who would have thought that God, of all people, would ever be caught up in name-calling?
God will make quick work them, like dry stubble in a fire, when He comes in His might and wrath they will instantly be exterminated. In 1:11 God not only addresses them personally again, but calls out one individual who is infamous for his worthlessness and wickedness against the Lord. This is most likely referring to the King of Assyria Sennacherib, who invaded Judah a few years ago wreaking havoc among the people of God. Therefore we find the reason God is destroying them is to execute revenge on Assyria for invading Judah. God is a jealous Father isn’t He? Not only have His own children been attacked but His name has been defamed and reputation marred from this attack. God will not stand for this, and will right this wrong and make sure this wrong never happens again.
God turns to His people next in 1:12-13 and comforts them saying, “Though Nineveh is at full strength and many, I will cut them down, they shall pass away.” They may be at the height of their power militarily, but God will strike their name from the history of man. Notice next He says to Judah, “Though I’ve afflicted you, I will afflict you no more, and will break their yoke from off you, bursting the bonds apart.” While Nineveh is given the guilty verdict and is soon to be wiped out, God’s people are given pardon, freedom, and rescue. But wait, Assyria invaded Judah and God says “He” afflicted Judah? Was it God or was it Assyria that afflicted the people of God – YES! We see here that God is sovereign over all nations, and raises up some nations for a time and purpose and brings some nations low for a time or wipes them out for a purpose. This means God was using the wicked Ninevites of Assyria to chasten and discipline His children. Remember 1:7? “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows those who take refuge in Him.”
So hear me loud and clear – those who take refuge in the Lord, though held in His arms, are not promised peace, health, wealth, or safety. Because of this truth we’re taught again that our peace and strength and sure footing doesn’t come in the absence of conflict or pain but in the presence of Christ.
One final word is given directly to Nineveh in 1:14, look at it. “No more shall your name be spread throughout the land, I will cut off your gods and carved and metal images, I will make your grave, FOR YOU ARE VILE.” A harsh word from the King of Grace but a word directed at a people who are not innocent nonetheless. I know some people often speak of “the god wars” and demean those of who go to other countries and in say “My God is better than your God. Mine is true, yours is false.” They think us arrogant to do such a thing.
Do you think God arrogant to war against these false gods? I hope you don’t. “Our God is in the heavens, He does all that He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3) God is not subject to fallen notions of fairness as if He operated from some sense of equal rights among all peoples. His rights are the only rights that matter, and He is completely free to do what He wants. Conquering the gods of Nineveh would show God’s people His strength, and show Nineveh the helplessness of the gods they commune with. They are statues, having eyes but seeing nothing, having ears but hearing no prayers, having arms, legs, and hands but unable to save! Our God is true, our God is the only God, our God sees, our God hears, our God acts, moves, works, and saves! He is no statue, He is the living God!