The British Museum houses an ancient artifact from the ninth century b.c., the famous Black Obelisk, which depicts the Israelite king Jehu on his knees, paying tribute to the Assyrian king. Later history would underscore the Assyrian oppression with further taxation, invasion, and the eventual destruction of northern Israel.
The book of Nahum, however, is a prophecy against Nineveh, the capital of those cruel Assyrians. Through Nahum, the Lord pronounced His “vengeance” and “wrath against his enemies” (v. 2). He was longsuffering, but eventually He would come “in the whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet” (v. 3). So powerful is the Lord’s might that the waters will dry up, the blossoms wither, and the mountains quake at His presence. None of the wicked would stand, but this was not just a message of judgment on God’s enemies. It was also a promise of protection for God’s people: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” (v. 7).
The people and city of Nineveh were utterly destroyed in 612 b.c. But their end also represents the fate of all of God’s enemies. Echoing the imagery, warning, and comfort of Nahum, Christ Himself promised to come as judge. When He arrives, “all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” and His angels “will gather his elect from the four winds” (Matt. 24:30–31). Likewise, the book of Revelation depicts the return of Christ as judge. The wicked will cower and hide in fear, but the end is assured: “The great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (Rev. 6:17). What a warning to the wicked, but great hope to God’s own!
Apply the Word
Sometimes wickedness seems overwhelming and we begin to doubt God’s care for His people. Scripture assures us of Christ’s coming judgment upon wickedness and God’s ultimate protection for us. In the face of the world’s danger, chaos, and fear, fix your mind and heart on the verse of the day as a reminder of the final outcome.