Overview of Nahum: When God is Your Enemy

thebookofThe Book of Nahum presents a sobering graphical depiction of the unleashing of God’s wrath against the wickedness of Nineveh. Just 100 years earlier, the prophet Jonah had been instructed to warn Nineveh to repent. Apparently, their reform had only been short-lived and now God was going to visit upon them utter humiliation and devastation for their unrestrained wickedness. This message proved to be a comfort for God’s people who had suffered much abuse from the cruel Assyrians.

The historical outworking of the details of this prophecy demonstrate once again the authenticity of the Word of God. Nineveh was truly destroyed in the fashion described and forgotten about for centuries, despite her place of prominence in the ancient world.

THE COMFORTING EXAMPLE OF NINEVEH: WHEN YOUR ENEMIES HAVE GOD AS THEIR ENEMY, HIS WRATH BRINGS SWIFT AND TERRIBLE HUMILIATION AND DEVASTATION

INTRODUCTION:

Inauguration – Powerful nations like the United States can become quite smug and complacent – forgetting that God executes His wrath on those who turn their back on Him. We need to be on our knees for our proud and rebellious nation. Historical cycle of God using nations to accomplish His judgment and then bringing judgment against them: Assyria, Babylonia, Medes and Persians

At the same time we wrestle with the age-old question: Why do the wicked prosper? God uses the example of the nation of Nineveh to show that the wicked do not prosper forever.

Key: is God for or against you?? 2:13; 3:5Rom. 8:31 = Assurance of the believer — If God be for us, who can be against us?

I. (1:1-5) THE INTENSITY AND FINALITY OF GOD’S AWESOME WRATH — NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE AWESOME ALL-CONSUMING WRATH OF THE ANGRY AVENGING GOD (WHO PROVIDES SECURITY ONLY TO HIS OWN PEOPLE)

(:1) INTRODUCTION – NAHUM PROPHECYING AGAINST NINEVEH

A. (:2-6) DESCRIPTION OF THE INTENSITY OF GOD’S AWESOME WRATH – WHO CAN ENDURE THE BURNING OF HIS ANGER?

  1. (:2-3A) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Consistent With His Character
  2. (:3B-5) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Displayed in Nature
  3. (:6) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Overwhelming in its Devastation

(:7) APPLICATION: SECURITY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE

  • Security Based on the Lord’s Paternal Goodness
  • Security Based on the Lord’s Powerful Protection
  • Security Based on the Lord’s Personal Shepherding

B. (:8-14) DESCRIPTION OF THE FINALITY OF GOD’S AWESOME WRATH – HE WILL MAKE A COMPLETE END OF IT

  1. (:8) Introductory Summary: God Will Make a Complete End of It
  2. (:9-13) Detailed Description: God Will Make a Complete End of It
  3. (:14) Concluding Summary: God Will Make a Complete End of It

(:15) APPLICATION: SECURITY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE

(Good transition verse – could be taken with the beginning of the next section as well.)

  • Security Needs to Be Trumpeted Throughout the World
  • Security Needs to Be Celebrated From a Heart of Thanksgiving and Obedience
  • Security Needs to Be Confident in Eternal Security

II. (2:1-13) THE DIVINE SACKING OF NINEVEH — WHEN THE SOVEREIGN LORD TARGETS NINEVEH FOR DESTRUCTION, THE DEVASTATION IS SWIFT AND TERRIFYING

Key Verse: (:13a) “‘Behold, I am against you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

A. (2:1-2) THE STRENGTH (OR WEAKNESS) OF NATIONS DOES NOT PROTECT THEM AGAINST THE REVERSAL OF FORTUNES — TWO DIFFERENT DESTINIES:

  1. (:1) Nineveh Under Attack
  2. (:2) Judah Restored

B. (2:3-6) THE ATTACKING FORCES QUICKLY BREACH THE WALLS

  1. (:3) Attacking Forces Armed to the Teeth
  2. (:4) Attacking Forces Rush to Their Staging Positions
  3. (:5) Attacking Forces Prepare to Breach the Walls of Nineveh
  4. (:6) Flood Gates Opened

C. (2:7-10) THE CITY IS STRIPPED AND THE PEOPLE REDUCED TO TERROR AND ANGUISH

  1. (:7) Four-Fold Summary of Defeat and Devastation
  2. (:8) Panic-stricken People Fleeing the City
  3. (:9) Wealth of City Plundered
  4. (:10) Four-Fold Summary of Defeat and Devastation

D. (2:11-13) THE OPPOSITION OF THE LORD DEVOURS THE DEVOURER

  1. (:11-12) The Powerful Predator is Nowhere to Be Found
  2. (:13) Summary Proclamation of Condemnation

III. (3:1-19) GOD IS A DEVASTATING ENEMY — THE DIVINE HUMILIATON AND DEVASTATION OF NINEVEH IS DESERVED, INEVITABLE AND UNAVOIDABLE

Key Verse: (:5a) “‘Behold, I am against you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

A. (:1-7) NINEVEH DESERVES TO BE COMPLETELY HUMILIATED AND TOTALLY DEVASTATED

  1. (:1-4) Her Crimes
  2. (:5-6) Her Disgrace
  3. (:7) Her Rejection

B. (:8-10) NINEVEH WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THE SEEMINGLY INVINCIBLE FORMER CAPITAL CITY OF EGYPT = NO-AMON

  1. (:8-9) Seemingly Impregnable Defenses of No-Amon
  2. (:10) Surprising Humiliation and Devastation

C. (:11-19) NINEVEH HAS NO DEFENSE AGAINST THE OUTPOURING OF THE WRATH OF GOD

  1. (:11-13) Easy Target — Ripe for Plundering
  2. (:14-15a) Futile Defense
  3. (15b:-18) Collapse of Leadership
  4. (:19) Inevitable and Deserved Humiliation and Devastation