2011-09-04 - Retelling a Story for a Purpose
Part 13 ~ Nahum
Some of scripture is difficult, not in the understanding, but in the application. The history of Israel and her enemies is often overlooked, because some believe it has no value. But unless we see these prophecies, we do not have a complete picture of God in all of His attributes. There is so much focus on the love of God, people forget that the real illustration of His love is His acceptance of judgment on Himself, to protect us from His wrath and vengeance. If we are going to give an accurate Gospel, it must include the message that all are sinners facing God's judgment unless they accept God's sacrifice for their sins. And when they don't accept His grace, like Nineveh, they will be judged.
Now Nahum recapitulates the cause for God's destruction of Nineveh. God doesn't have to ever explain Himself to us, for He chooses to do so for our benefit. This is again a message of either comfort or destruction, depending on who is being followed, God or self.
Verse 1: Here we are reminded of the reason for the city's destruction. It is described as a place of violence, a center for destruction of its enemies. Even by the standards of the day, which weren't God's anyway, the level of violence was beyond contempt. I don't want to go into too much detail, but Johnson notes:
"Nineveh was truly a city of bloodblood spilled by her uncontrolled lust and murder. She earned this title by her "atrocious practice of cutting off hands and feet, ears and noses, gouging out eyes, lopping off heads, and then binding them to vines or heaping them up before city gates [and] the utter fiendishness by which captives could be impaled or flayed alive through a process in which their skin was gradually and completely removed" (Maier, The Book of Nahum: A Commentary, p. 292)." 1
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