What does it say?
Other than what we have here, we know nothing of Nahum’s life or the location of the village of Elkosh where he lived. Both Jews and Christians agree on the authenticity of his prophecy and its importance. We read Nahum at this time because this is a message to the Jewish people about the coming fall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria and the current historical focus of our reading.
Jonah was sent to Nineveh to warn of coming judgment. We recently read Jonah’s prophecy and saw that from the king downward the city repented and turned to God. Now, over 80 years later, it is apparent that Nineveh has fallen back into its violent and evil ways, and God sends Nahum to pronounce their final end.
Nahum 1 describes some of God’s great attributes including his patience and incomparable power. This time God declares the “utter end” of Nineveh. The last verse (15) makes it clear that even though the subject matter is the fall of Nineveh, the purpose of the prophecy is to comfort Judah by announcing the fall of their great enemy.
The second chapter goes into great detail describing God’s judgment to come upon Nineveh. This description is also incredibly accurate in describing a flood that ravaged the city (2:6). Nahum 3 continues what is really a single prophetic discourse and makes very clear why this divine judgment on Nineveh is totally deserved.
What does it mean?
Because God is God, he see history before it happens. He is not limited to time because he created time. One of the greatest evidences of the authenticity of the Bible is the accurate fulfillment of many prophecies such as this one describing in great detail what happens before it happens.
God is the God of the second change. The revival in response to Jonah’s message is one of the greatest movements of God in history. God extended to Nineveh his mercy despite their great evil. However, there is a time that comes when God’s patience and mercy reach a limit and judgment is both utter and inevitable. Nineveh ha a second chance and did not take advantage.
How will I respond?
Why do I tend to panic in the face of adversity? If God sees the future as thought it were the present, I can completely trust him to accomplish his mission and all his many promises? What fear can I deliver to him today?