Scripture reading for September 23rd: Nahum 1-3
A century earlier, Jonah had come to Nineveh and called the people to repentance. A great wave of conviction fell on leaders, men and even the animals. All repented and called on the Lord and He had mercy and saved them from destruction. (Jonah 3:6-10) What a revival! These people got serious and averted the destruction that God had promised!
Our reading today is from the prophet Nahum. God sent him back to Nineveh with another message for them. This time it was a decree of divine displeasure and coming destruction. (Nahum 2:13) Their time for change had come to an end and they had failed the test. The revival of a century earlier had temporarily caused them to humble themselves and seek the Lord, but they soon returned to their wicked ways. God gave them time to change, but the revival did not affect their hearts.
In the midst of this prophecy, Nahum speaks a word of hope and encouragement to Judah. He gives them a word of “good news” and peace. The wicked will no longer invade them and they would be restored to their land. In fact, the wicked would be completely destroyed! (Nahum 1:15) This good news speaks to all of us today as well. We know that God has defeated evil through the cross of Jesus Christ. The triumph of Jesus Christ is already sure and He will ultimately defeat all wickedness and evil and set up His reign of peace on the earth.
It is interesting that God always warns the wicked of the coming disaster. He never leaves them to wonder what happened and why. He uses prophets for the heathen nations and sends them with words that are clear and easy to understand. Nahum’s word was unmistakable. “. . all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.” “I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty. All who see you will flee from you and say, ‘Nineveh is in ruins–who will mourn for her?’ Where can I find anyone to comfort her? ” (Nahum 3:4-5, 7)
As we think of God’s warnings about the defeat of all wickedness and the final judgment, it is easy to think that He is speaking of something far away or that His warning are meant for someone else. It is easy to give lip service to God, but still have a heart far from Him. This is a day of mercy and a day of “good news”! If you need to respond, don’t let your heart have a shallow revival! Go for the deep revival of true repentance and holiness that brings everlasting peace and blessing!
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39