2011-04-07 - Nahum
Introduction ~ Part 1
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second
time: Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message
I give you. Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.
Now Nineveh was a very important citya visit required three days. On
the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: Forty more
days and Nineveh will be overturned. The Ninevites believed God. They
declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on
sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne,
took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in
the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: By the decree of
the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste
anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered
with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their
evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion
turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish. When God saw
what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion
and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah
This was the greatest revival in history. An entire people repented and turned
to God. Of course Jonah was ecstatic about the whole thing. Right! Consider
the following transcript from the records of Jonahs
he stormed into the office, slammed himself into
the straight-backed chair, his face alarmingly red, as if it would burst
with rage. There were no opening gambits.
He had no right to force me to do this, he charged, his moist,
red-rimmed eyes contrasting with the harshness of his gravel-crusher voice.
Youd be happier if God had not brought you into His plans for
saving Nineveh, I reflected back, in order to keep him working on his
alienation from the Lord he really loved.
Of course! How would you like to participate in a plan to free the
man who would kill your son? Thats how it was for me to be asked to
You fear that the Assyrian army will eventually destroy Israel?
I asked, naively.
His face purpled. Have you ever seen what your Assyrian troops
do to their vanquished enemies? They whack off the hands or feet of civilians,
or cut off their noses, or put out their eyes, or so disfigure their heads
and faces as to permanently display large areas of the skull.No, they
are not gentle.
And neither will be the Assyrian conquest of my country. His
anger was now accompanied by deep grief for his people. They will do
as they have done to other nationscarrying thousands away into slavery,
importing thousands of aliens with strange cultures and hideous gods and
settling them in Israel to defile our sacred soil.
It must be painful to feel so betrayed, I responded, without
I have never felt so lost, he was saying in s subdued tone.
God wont talk to me. I dont know if He listens. My guts
wrench. The blood pounds in my head. My hands clutch and my muscles contract
of themselves. Its as if Im trying to capture my Persecutor and
hold Him until He hears me out.
It was bad enough that He commanded me to go. But He wouldnt
be content with that. He robbed me of freedom. In the end I had no
choiceno choice. When God robs you even of the freedom to disobey,
you are left with nothing. 1
Well, Jonah may have been successful, but he wasnt a happy camper.
On the other hand, his concerns werent without merit. And they come
to fruition many years later, as we will see in this study.
Backus, William, The Paranoid Prophet, Bethany House Publishers,
Minneapolis, MN, 1986, p. 83-85.
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