A stronghold in the day of trouble -
GOD SPEAKS AGAINST NINEVEH
(A text transcript of the message preached at Elijah Ministries on 6th November 2006)
Good morning brothers and sisters.
Shall we pray….
What a privilege it is to stand before you again. I hope that someone will be blessed by this message today.
I’m sure most of you won’t remember, but the last sermon I preached, was a study of the book of Obadiah. In it, we studied the prophecies against Edom and how, against all odds, they were utterly destroyed by the very people who were once their allies.
We learnt the lesson on the sin of pride - that Pride always comes before a fall and very often leads to destruction. God hates pride.
We saw how things work when God speaks.
When God speaks, it is as good as done.
When God speaks, it is as if it has already happened.
When God speaks, we had better sit up and listen.
Today’s sermon is entitled A stronghold in the day of trouble. And it deals with the prophecies against the city of Nineveh, mainly those of Jonah and of Nahum. In this study, we continue with the theme of how
1. a Sovereign God can, and does, take revenge,
2. how the wicked will not escape
3. and how God protects those He knows.
As we go through this study this morning, I’d like you to bear in mind how it applies to our lives on earth today. Everywhere we look today, all we see is an increase in evil, in wickedness, filth and perversion – and those who take advantage of these circumstances just seem to prosper more and more. And it sometimes seems as if there is just no justice at all. In Nahum chapter 1:3, it says:
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
Although the Lord shows great mercy, every single human being will one day soon, have to answer to God.
Our study this morning begins in the 8th century before Christ. There was a lot happening in the Middle East round about this time, and to really understand the prophecy’s against Nineveh, we would do well to research a little of the historical background behind it.
Remember that in about 975BC, Israel had been split into 2– with Israel in the North and Judah in the South. The Assyrian Empire, was rising to prominence and had conquered much of the known world. Assyria was now flourishing and had the conquest of Israel firmly in their sights.
Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and a lot was written about it, especially by the Greek historians Herodotus and Diodorus siculus.
It was located on the left bank of the Tigris River in north eastern Mesopotamia, which is today known as Iraq. Throughout history, the Assyrians were a thorn in the side of Israel, attacking them at every opportunity.
Beyond all doubt, Nineveh is one of the most remarkable cities in history.
Genesis 10:11 says that it was founded by Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, and Ham was the son of Noah. Nimrod also founded the city of Babylon and built the tower of Babel, which gives an indication of where his heart was.
Jonah 3:3 says that Nineveh was an exceedingly great city of three days' journey. If a day’s journey was approximately 20 miles, that would make Nineveh’s diameter roughly 100 km. The size of that city would extend from Randfontein to Springs. It was a really big place.
The part of the city that housed the palaces had a wall around it that was 13km long. These walls were 10 stories high and were fortified with 150 towers, each 20 stories high. The walls were so broad that three chariots could be driven side by side on top of them. Within the walls, were pastures, fruit orchards and farms and a tributary of the Tigris River ran through the middle - making the city self sustaining and able to withstand a siege for years. It has been speculated that it’s population was anything between 500000 and 4 million people.
The city of Nineveh in it’s day seemed to be unconquerable.
But Nineveh’s size and it’s vastness was eclipsed by its wickedness. The Assyrian army was unbelievably cruel, who horribly tortured and mutilated their victims. Their brutality was legendary and they dealt harshly with those who dared to resist them. They committed the most barbaric atrocities. They decapitated enemy leaders and hung their severed heads at prominent town gates, they flayed men alive, they impaled foreign soldiers alive on stakes into the earth, they swung infants by their legs upon rocks, they tortured their captives by hacking off noses, ears, fingers and tearing off their lips and eyes with hooks. They covered their city walls with the skins of their victims. They took entire nations captive and that included the northern kingdom of Israel.
The city was filled with spiritual wickedness, their main item of worship being the Queen of Heaven, the goddess of fertility and war, who was known under various names as Semiramis or Ishtar or Ashteroth or Astarte.
THE GREATEST REVIVAL THE WORLD EVER SAW
The key event that took place at the city of Nineveh, is recorded in the book of Jonah. One of the greatest revivals the world has ever known took place there. This happened during the reign of Jeroboam II in about 760 B.C.
If you can try picture this scenario…..
Here was a man definitely not dressed for success. His skin was bleached a pasty white with salt, his hair was knotted and there was a really nasty fishy smell about him. And surely, he had a huge chip on his shoulder, about the size of a large pizza. All he wanted to do was to leave as fast as he had arrived.
It was incredible, he arrived in a strange city and immediately started preaching on street corners, his message was simple; “Forty days from now and Nineveh will be destroyed!”
· Now this was not a very seeker sensitive message, and
· you’d think that perhaps he could have worked a little more on his content and his presentation.
· Perhaps used less threatening words, words that would connect with his audience in maybe a more positive light.
· Maybe he should have emphasized their good points and rather just preached the love of God
· or maybe just preached what the people wanted to hear.
· Maybe it was just because he was irritated, and he had a lot to be irritated about.
His name was Jonah and one day God tapped him on the shoulder and told him to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach repentance.
Well you know the story, not only did he refuse to go, but he turned and ran in the opposite direction. And who could blame him. The Assyrians were cruel, brutal, ruthless savages! Who in his right mind would have gone into their capital city to preach repentance. And the Assyrians were heathens, they weren’t even Jews! They hated Jews!
The Lord is slow to anger, and gives them another chance to repent by warning them of His impending wrath. And to do this, he calls Jonah, except Jonah didn’t want to go. And who can blame him.
Turn to Jonah 1…
Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD,
Tarshish is where Spain is today, and was in the exact opposite direction of Nineveh. Beyond Tarshish there was the Atlantic ocean, and beyond that, was the end of the world, which apparently to Jonah seemed a much better place to be than Nineveh. God however, had other ideas for Jonah and caused a storm to almost destroy the ship Jonah was sailing on. As the storm grew worse Jonah advised the crew they needed to throw him overboard in order to stop the storm.
Now you all know that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, and after spending 3 days in the whale’s belly praying to God and repenting, he was spat out on a beach.
And in Jonah 3:2, we read that God says exactly the same thing to Jonah again… “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message of judgment I have given you.”
So this time, having learnt that we should listen when God speaks, Jonah goes to Nineveh and preached, not willingly, and not with much enthusiasm, but at least he went. And he stood in the middle of the city, a Jew in the enemy’s capital city, covered in salt and stinking of fish, just waiting to have his head chopped off.
And then, as he preached, a really strange thing happened…. As he preached….
the people….. listened… everybody listened.
IS ANYBODY LISTENING TODAY?
Jonah 3:4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "In forty days Nineveh will be overthrown." (5) Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. (6) When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
The King himself said in verse :8 "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. (9) "Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish."
Miracle of miracles…. The entire city, from the greatest to the least of them, repented.
Probably the greatest documented biblical revival in history.
Verse 10 of Jonah 3 says: When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. He didn’t destroy them.
You gotta love a happy ending - when people hear the voice of God, and respond to it.
It’s such a joyous occasion for a Christian to witness another soul giving their life to the Lord. Imagine how wonderful it must have been when thousands upon thousands came to their salvation upon hearing the voice of God!
And how different are things today? People don’t want to hear the voice of God, let alone any message of repentance! They think that those of us who still believe the Bible is true, are lunatics, radicals and extremists. Many of my dental patients when they find out that I believe in the Bible, they just cannot believe it. One woman said to me that she was flabbergasted that I, as a so-called educated man, could be so naïve.
I must say, she shut up very quickly when she saw the size of the needle!
YOU VILL BELIEF- JA!
But the world today believes that the Bible is just a set of guidelines on how to live our lives, a set of fables on how to be a good person, and to be a good, kind person is all it takes to achieve the New Age heaven, isn’t it?…..
But to bow the knee to Almighty God? Now that’s taking things way too far. But the Bible says that one day soon, every human will bow their knees before God, but unfortunately for many, it will probably be too late.
So, anyway, here in 780BC, we have a great Biblical revival – of many hundreds of thousands of people repenting and turning to the Lord. And the Lord has Mercy on them, and reserves His judgement.
Then, just 50 years later, in 728BC, the Assyrian king Shalmanezer arrives from Nineveh, invades Israel, destroys it entirely and takes the 10 tribes of Israel into captivity, never to return. And so the Jews become scattered across the face of the earth, which fulfilled many prophecies concerning the disobedience of Israel. Leviticus 26:33 is one of them and it reads: And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
700 years after that prophecy was written, it came perfectly true, in 728 BC.
Turn with me to 2 Kings 18:9
Now in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea, son of El-ah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. (10) At the end of three years they captured it; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, …. Samaria was captured. Verse (11) Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, …verse 12
(12) because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded; they would neither listen nor do it.
And whose listening today? When God speaks WE had better listen. He warned His people over and over to obey Him, but eventually, time ran out. And that’s a warning for us today – time is running out. Heed the call, the voice of the Lord, follow His Word, before it is too late. Today is the day of salvation. Our God is full of grace and mercy, and we praise Him for that – we know He forgives and is longsuffering in His patience, but there comes a time, where continued disobedience will bring about His wrath and His judgement. And so it was with Israel.
Now in the Bible, Hezekiah the King of Judah, is spoken of as a great and good king. He tried to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, which was the reason that the Israelites had been judged in the first place. As an example of how evil the Israelites had become, Numbers chapter 21 speaks of the Israelites in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. They began to complain, to speak out and blaspheme God, because they didn’t like the manna that God provided for them as food. So, because of their ingratitude, God sent a plague of snakes among them and many Israelites died from snake bites. Because of this punishment, the Israelites repented and so God ordered Moses to make a brass serpent. Whenever someone had been bitten by a snake, all they had to do was to look at the brazen serpent and they wouldn’t die. But true to form, the Israelites turned the brass serpent into an idol and eventually started worshipping it as a God.
Go back a bit to verse 4 of 2 Kings 18 Hezekiah removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it;
Notice here, that the Israelites were burning incense to the bronze serpent – they were worshipping a bronze snake! Notice also, here in verse 4, the mention of high places, sacred pillars and Asherah – (the KJV says groves, but a better translation is the Hebrew word Asherah). Asherah was the symbol of the Pagan goddess Astarte, the equivalent of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar or Semiramis, the “queen of heaven”. Its symbol was the trunk of a tree planted in the ground, with an evergreen shape at the top, and this was known amongst the Pagans as the tree of life. So besides worshipping a brass snake, the Israelites had fallen into the most hideous idolatory and Pagan worship that you could imagine. They were worshipping Sacred poles and Pagan gods! To illustrate this point more fully, I just want to digress for a moment, and go into this in a little more detail.
NIMROD AND CHRISTMAS
What I’m about to relate to you is taken from the research of several bible scholars, most notably from the book written by the Rev. Alexander Hislop – The 2 Babylons, which was first published in 1853. Now it’s important to note that no-one can actually prove that what these scholars write is true, but probably more importantly, no-one can disprove their research either.
Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah, built the original city of Nineveh and the city of Babylon, amongst many other cities. He also built the Tower of Babel, that monument to human disobedience.
Nimrod was the founder of the Babylonian system that has gripped the world ever since -- the system of organized competition - governments and empires, based upon capitalist economics. He was a fearsome hunter, warrior and tyrant, destroying multitudes in his wake. He organized this world's first kingdom. The entire kingdom of Assyria was known in the book of Micah as the “land of Nimrod”. The name Nimrod, in Hebrew, means, "he rebelled."
Nimrod was so evil, it is documented that he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis. Nimrod was extremely powerful, and being in control of the Assyrian Empire for many years, he took on God-like proportions. Legend has it, that Nimrod had an untimely death and when he died, his so-called mother-wife, Semiramis, in her quest to maintain the throne of Assyria and keep power, she propagated the evil doctrine of the resurrection of Nimrod as a spirit being. She claimed that a fully-grown evergreen tree sprang up overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolized the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. And who would like to guess what the date of this rebirth was? ………………..It was the 25th December.
Semiramis sacrificed babies unto the Sun God, severing their heads and tying them as decorations or baubles on this evergreen tree. And this, according to several scholars, is the origin of the Christmas tree!
On each anniversary of his resurrection, on the 25th December, Semiramis claimed that Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it, and this is the origin of giving gifts at Christmas time.
Through her scheming and her reign of terror, Semiramis became the Babylonian "Queen of Heaven”, otherwise known as Ishtar or Astarte; and Nimrod, under various names including Nin and Sin, became the "divine and immaculately conceived son of heaven", the false Messiah, the son of Baal the Sun god; while the "Mother and Child" theme became chief objects of worship throughout practically every cult religion, most notably Catholicism – where Mary is worshipped on a par with the baby Jesus.
Now, when Constantine the great became the Roman Emperor in about 300 AD, he supposedly converted to Christianity. He co-erced all his empire to become Christians, which is something we all know that you cannot do. You can’t force someone to become a Christian. The impact of this forced conversion was that millions of pagans brought all the customs of Baal worship with them, which then became merged into a corrupt Christianity. So instead of the 25th December being Nimrod’s birth, they changed it to represent Christ’s birth and continued celebrating it.
This is the origin of Christmas.
The same principles apply to Easter, which got it’s name from Ishtar. ….Easta, Ishta.
Next time you see a Christmas tree, remember what the decorations on that tree really represent. There are many other reasons why true Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. Ask yourself, how come the whole world loves Christmas so much – including Muslims, Jews, Heathens and Catholics? Well, the answer is, that Jesus Christ is just not in it!
The Bible says do not go beyond that which is written.
Well Jesus said in 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. He said do this in remembrance of me. Remember His death, not His birth.
But those are just my views. If you haven’t heard PJ’s teachings on Christmas and Easter, I would urge you to get the tapes.
But returning to our teaching….
IDOLATORY AND PAGAN WORSHIP
So we see Israel having involved themselves with idolatory and Pagan worship, worshipping brass images and ashterah. Is it any wonder then, that God got so angry and judged them?! Thou shalt have no other Gods before me….the first commandment.
So King Hezekiah brings about a great reformation in the kingdom of Judah in his day.
Turn with me to 2 Chronicles 31….
:20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God. (21) Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.
Then suddenly, something terrible happens…..
ASSYRIA INVADES JUDAH
2 Chronicles 32:1 After these acts of faithfulness Se-nackerib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. And verse 7 Hezekiah says to his people: "Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. (8) "With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
That’s an amazing display of faith! 46 cities in Judah had been captured and destroyed already, 200000 Judeans had been taken captive and the massive Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem. Yet, Hezekiah trusted that the Lord would protect them and deliver them.
Now it’s quite interesting if we note here that just 100 years previously, Jonah had prophesied against Nineveh, and the entire city had repented and turned to God. Just a 100 years after that great revival, the entire population was as wicked as ever – back to worshipping the Queen of Heaven and even taunting and insulting the God of Israel!
Round about this time and with a climate of doom hanging over Judah, Nahum prophesies against Nineveh. Nahum spoke a message of comfort to Gods people, that is, that the Assyrian Empire would come to an end and its capital city of Nineveh would be reduced to ruins.
And who could possibly have believed him?
Nahum begins in verse 1 with the statement: "The burden of Nineveh."
In Chapter 2:13, it says "Behold, I am against you," declares the LORD of hosts. "I will burn up her chariots in smoke, a sword will devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the land, and no longer will the voice of your messengers be heard."
Chapter 3:1 Woe to the bloody city, completely full of lies and pillage; Her prey never departs. Verse 5 "Behold, I am against you," declares the LORD of hosts; "And I will lift up your skirts over your face, And show to the nations your nakedness And to the kingdoms your disgrace. (6) "I will throw filth on you And make you vile, And set you up as a spectacle. (7) "And it will come to pass that all who see you Will flee from you and say, 'Nineveh is devastated! Who will mourn for her?'
Now there’s not much difference in the message that Jonah preached and the message Nahum preached – both dealt with the judgement and destruction of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire. The difference is that in Jonah’s day, they repented, whereas in Nahum’s day, they were too proud. So proud of their own power and accomplishments, that they thought they were above God, they actually thought they could mock God.
Nah 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
So while Jerusalem is surrounded by the Assyrian army, Nahum prophesy’s the fall of the Assyrian Empire and it’s capital city! The people must have all thought he was bonkers, all except Hezekiah and Isaiah.
Hezekiah then pays a tribute to the Assyrian king, 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, in return that he wouldn’t attack Jerusalem. Now 1 talent is roughly 40kg, so 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold is one mighty pile of treasure, which would be worth approximately R300 million at today’s prices. But Se- nackerib deals treacherously with Hezekiah. He takes the treasure home and then returns to invade Judah for a second time within two years.
2 Chronicles 32:9 After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem (while he was besieging Lachish with all his forces with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah and against all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying,
(10) "Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, 'On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? (11) 'Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, "The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria"?
verse 17 He also wrote letters to insult the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, "As the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah, will not deliver His people, from my hand." (18) They called this out with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take the city. 19 They spoke against the God of Jerusalem as if He were the work of men's hands.
A STRONGHOLD IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE
Here we see Judah in serious trouble, but Nahum gave them hope. In Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. And that’s what we must do when we’re in trouble. Turn to the Lord, because He knows each one of us personally that take refuge in him.
And this is what Hezekiah does. 2 Chron 32 Verse 20 But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven.
And their prayer is documented in Isaiah 37. Keep your place in 2 Chronicles and turn to Isaiah 37.
Isaiah 37:14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD.
(15) Hezekiah prayed to the LORD saying, 16 "O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (17) "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to all the words of Se-nackerib, who sent them to blaspheme the living God. (18) "Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands, (19) and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. (20) "Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, LORD, are God."
And here we see the result of their prayers and their faith…. Go on to verse 36 in Isaiah 37 Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians;
Go back to 2 Chron 32
v20 But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21 And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. (22) So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side.
Wow! Isn’t that incredible? Who would have believed it? Against all odds. Jerusalem was surrounded by the world’s mightiest army and about to be destroyed like countless other cities before them. In an absolutely hopeless situation. Mortals would have said they had no hope… But Hezekiah and Isaiah had …great hope. They had faith in the promises of a real God, the only God. The God of Israel. The only one that can deliver you from your troubles.
We should all memorize Nahum 1:7 again The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him.
Isn’t that marvelous to know? The Lord God Almighty knows you and He knows me, personally, because we trust in Him.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR ASSYRIA
So in 681BC, most of the Assyrian army is killed by an angel, and Sennacherib is murdered by his children. This was the beginning of the end of the Assyrian Empire. Just south East of Nineveh, the Chaldean chief Nabo-polassar invades Babylon in 626BC. And then in 612BC with the help of the Medo Persian army, the Babylonians begin to march against ….Nineveh.
Turn with me to the book of Nahum….
Nahum 1:1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
(2) God is jealous, and the LORD revenges; the LORD revenges, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserves wrath for his enemies.
(3) The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked:
The LORD has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. (4) He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers:
verse 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell therein. (6) Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
GOD CONTROLS NATURE
These verses make it very clear that the Lord has total control over nature. The second part of verse 3 says… the Lord has His way… and then goes on to describe Hurricanes, floods, tsunami’s, droughts & famines, earthquakes, volcanoes, heat waves, fires and rockfalls – these are all things that the Lord uses to accomplish his purposes. And sometimes His purpose is to take revenge on the wicked.
Verse 7 again: The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him.
Verse 15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; He is cut off completely.
This verse is taken from Isaiah 52, which is an entire chapter devoted to the Messiah, the suffering servant.
Verse 7 of Isa 52 says How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
And what’s the good news? The good news is the Gospel. The message that Jesus is our Saviour, and that our God reigns.
The 2nd and 3rd chapters of Nahum describe in poetic detail the battle that will take place for Nineveh.
When Nahum prophesied, Assyria was at the height of its prosperity. All possible competing powers had been completely subdued. Therefore, no one would have foreseen Nineveh's destruction.
Nahum 2:6 says “The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved”.
THE BIBLE IS TRUE
This verse would be difficult to understand if we didn’t know history better.
The Greek Historian Diodorus recorded that when the Medes and the Babylonians marched against Nineveh, the king of Assyria closed the gates. He stationed troops on the walls. They had food and water supplies that would last them years. He felt secure and after 2 months of siege, Nineveh held strong.
Then, it began to rain. It rained and rained until the river running through Nineveh flooded it’s banks and began to erode the city wall. Eventually, a large section of the city wall collapsed and the Babylonians came storming through the opening. The king saw the enemy troops pouring in. He gathered his family inside the palace and committed suicide by ordering his troops to burn it to the ground.
“The gates of the rivers shall be opened and the palace shall be dissolved.”
This all happened in about 610BC.
For many centuries, there were many people who questioned the authenticity of the Bible because of it’s lack of evidence. Many questioned whether the Bible could possibly be true by questioning the very existence of Nineveh. The stories of Nineveh had to be a fable, because a city that size doesn’t just disappear. But all that changed when the archaeologists Layard and Rassam uncovered the ruins of Nineveh in 1845. In fact, as they excavated, they uncovered several of the Assyrian Kings palaces, including Sennacherib’s. Nineveh certainly existed, the only problem was, that true to God’s Word, it’s destruction was so absolute and so complete that it had practically vanished from the face of the earth.
Over and over again, we can prove the Bible to be true.
When God speaks, it’s as good as done and we’d better listen.
The point is that the power of God is irresistible. The power that spoke the world into being; The power that destroyed 185,000 troops; The power that causes earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and volcanoes, The power that dries up rivers and seas, and collapses city walls and palaces.
The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble and he knows them that trust in him. (Nahum 1:7).
This is the good news. This great power can come to our aid in times of trouble and Paul talked about it.
He asked, “If God be for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?
If this kind of power is on our side, what do we have to be afraid of?
Notice, that Nahum said, “The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble.”
He didn't say trouble won't come into your life. He said God will help us when it does.
In closing, to put a little perspective on things….
A boy once asked a preacher, “Sir do you believe in God?”
The preacher laughed and said, “Why yes, of course, I do.”
The boy looked at him thoughtfully for a moment and asked,
“Sir…. is God…. really God?”
The preacher looked puzzled and answered “Yes.”
The boy then asked, “Well, if God is really God, why do you worry so much?”
Amen and thanks for your time.