TODAY’S READING: NAHUM – HABAKKUK

 

OVERVIEW:

Nahum, whose name means “comforter”, comforts God’s people by unveiling God’s plan to take vengeance on the wickedness of the nation of Assyria, beginning with the capitol city of Nineveh (1:15).      

HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:

As we have already learned, the vast majority of the Old Testament is written to and by Israelites, the chosen people group of God, so when we discover any book written to a nation other than Israel, we have discovered something significant in the plan and revelation of God.  There are only three prophets (out of 16) who prophesy to Gentile nations: Obadiah is addressed to Edom, while Jonah and Nahum concern Nineveh, the capitol city of Assyria.  What do Edom and Nineveh have in common?  Both were Gentile nations who worshiped false gods and were used by Satan to persecute the nation of Israel.  God doesn’t take either of these offenses lightly (1:14; 3:19).  To add insult to injury, just 150 years earlier God proved to Nineveh that He is “good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon [him]” (Ps. 86:5) when He sent Jonah (Jonah 3) to warn them of coming judgment.  The Ninevites repented and revival broke out, but apparently the Ninevites fai!

led to “make disciples,” because God is once again ready to pour out His wrath (1:2-6 – Look out Nineveh! hurricane Jehovah comin’ through!).  Nahum describes how the city of Nineveh would be destroyed by “an overrunning flood” (1:8) and the “gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved” (2:6), while enemy invaders would ravage and spoil the fortressed city (3:1-7) until an “utter end [was made] of the place” (1:8, 9).  Eighteen years after Nahum’s prophecy, Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, unsuccessfully beseiged Nineveh for three years until the Tigris River suddenly overflowed its banks and washed a hole in the city wall and the Babylonian army rushed into the city, murdering and pillaging.  So complete was the destruction that Alexander the Great marched over the former city without recognizing any evidences of a previous civilization.  In fact, archaeologists didn’t begin excavating the city until 1845 AD.  I guess God’s word is true ;>.

     

The moral of the story is this: God is longsuffering, but He isn’t a door mat.  When you worship false gods (modern day false gods are wealth, self, sex, etc.) and/or mess with God’s people, God will make a complete and utter end of you (II Thess 1:7-9).  But those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are safe in the Day of Judgment (1:7).

     

Also in Nahum, God addresses a man and a woman whose full identities are revealed in greater detail in the book of Revelation: the Antichrist (1:11) and Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots (3:4-19 c.f. Rev. 17, 18).  Nineveh and her king are types of these end time characters.

 

If the moral of Nahum’s message is that God is not a doormat, then the moral of Habakkuk’s message is: God sure seems to be a doormat.  Nahum is the prophet of God’s wrath realized; Habakkuk is the prophet of God’s patience realized.  Habakkuk is struggling with two of the most common questions of life (1:2-4). First, “If God is good and all powerful then why does He allow evil and suffering in the world?” Second, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”  The very first verse of the Book describes Habakkuk as an indignant prophet pinned under the unbearable burden of life’s injustices.  This man of God has suppressed his frustration and confusion until he can no longer take it.  Habakkuk unleashes his pent up indignation, puts God on trial and asks Him why the wicked are allowed to evade judgment and prosper.  God leads Habakkuk up a specific path that ends at the mountain peak of the only possible answer: God knows what He is doing, so relax (3:17-19).  The path is as follows: !

from a burden (1:1), to a vision (2:1-4), to a prayer (3:1), to a song (3:18, 19).  If you examine your past you will see that all of your wrestling matches with God have followed this path and what you thought was an obstacle is actually a stairway leading you high above the nagging questions of life.  May our feet be as hinds’ feet.

     

Historically, Habakkuk predicts the Babylonian captivity (1:5-11).  Prophetically, chapter three describes some of the events surrounding the return of Jesus Christ.

 

CHRIST IS REVEALED:

As THE STRONG HOLD OF THE FAITHFUL IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE – Nahum 1:7 As THE HOLY ONE – Hab. 3:3.

As THE COMING SAVIOR OF ISRAEL – Hab. 3:4-6, 18.