The final word the Lord speaks over Nineveh in Nahum 2:13 is, “Behold, I am against you, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.”
After the “fog of war” Nineveh hears again the Divine Warrior declare His wrath against them. Just in case Nineveh thinks the reason they fell was the anger of the Babylonians and Medes alone, God remind Nineveh it was Him who crushed them. It was Him who stood against them. “Behold I am against you, declares the Lord of hosts.”
I want our discussion on Nahum 2 with two things today:
1) Standing back and looking at Nahum thus far we see a pattern reveal itself. In 1:15 we have the promise of salvation for God’s people while in 2:13 we have the promise of God’s judgment of His enemies. 1:15 speaking of salvation saying, “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him who brings good news! Your enemies will be utterly cut off and I will rescue!” 2:13 speaking of judgment saying, “I am against you, declares the Lord of hosts.” This pattern of salvation first and judgment later is a foreshadow of what will happen in the last days.
Think about it, salvation came first at the first coming of Christ – “Come to Me, the Kingdom of God has come, all who thirst drink the living water that I along give and you will never thirst again. Come follow Me.” After this announcement of salvation first we know there will be a later judgment to follow. “God will throw all those who rejected His Son into Hell for an eternal punishment.” Salvation first and judgment second. This is the pattern. Historically there was some time between 1:15 and 2:13 in Nahum, so what were the people of God to do in the meantime? They’ve been promised salvation and are waiting for judgment. So too, what are we to do in the meantime, we’ve been promised salvation in Jesus and await the second coming of Christ when He’ll judge the world in righteousness. 2 Peter 3:14 has great benefit for us: “Therefore beloved since you are waiting for these things (coming judgment) be diligent to be found by Him without spot of blemish, and at peace.” 2 Peter 3:11-12 even calls us to live holy and godly lives in view of the coming judgment. Why? Because it is in view of the coming judgment that should encourage us to live lives of holiness and godliness in this day.
I fear we have become so drunk on the grace of God that we over look sin as if it doesn’t really matter and even treat it as acceptable. We’ve become so numb to the words “holiness” and “godliness” that when we think of them we don’t think of our own lives following the commands of Christ in Scripture but think of people like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. Is this not ridiculous? Church, pleasing God by our obedience is a neglected New Testament teaching.
Too often we find ourselves on either too soft in grace or too hard in legalism. We either water down the commands of Christ so much that we make the gospel into a kind of “easy-believism” where we merely believe in Jesus and hope everything else will alright, or we make the commands of Christ so burdensome we make the gospel into a kind of lifeless legalism where we’re merely checking off boxes in our obedience “to-do” list.
Friends, is there even a category in your life that God, through His Word, commands you to not do things, avoid things, or fight against certain things? Is there even a category in your life that God, through His Word, commands you to actively put certain things into practice, pursue things, or embrace other things? 1 John 3 tells us this is the difference between the non-Christian and the Christian. Christians please God by following His commands, non-Christians don’t. Jesus said His friends are those who keep His commands in John 15, and that those who make a habit of sinning resemble their father the devil. Who do you resemble?
Nahum does this. It turns you inward to reflect on your character, your life, the company you keep, and the decisions you make. If you find that you’re not on the right side of God, and that God is against you like He’s against Nineveh. Beware, if you continue in this manner of living you will go to Hell.
But be comforted with the second point I’ll end with.
Nahum 2:13 is a staunch reminder of the wrath of God against His enemies. “Behold I am against you declares the Lord of hosts.” Desolation will be the only reality for the enemies and mockers of Christ. “I am against you declares the Lord of hosts” came to Nineveh. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” comes to those who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus to save.