Most Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled and therefore were not written directly to us, or about us. Nevertheless, many of us like to cherry-pick and incorporate selected verses for ourselves. We love the assurance of verses like Jeremiah 29:11 originally addressed to Israel. We apply significance to ourselves with verses like Isaiah 61:1 even though it’s about Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 declaring his identity in the temple 700 years later. Granted these verses continue to edify us regarding God’s unchanging character, plan, and purpose. Even so, why do we only apply the warm fuzzy words instead of hard ones like Jeremiah 14 or Isaiah 5:20?
Why not Nahum?
Approximately one hundred fifty years after its collective repentance and subsequent reprieve as a result of Jonah’s obedience, Nineveh was back in the biblical judgment news.
While Nahum was clear that “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” Nah 1:7 like any true prophet he was also clear that God isn’t playing games and “reserves wrath for His enemies.” Nah 1:2
Still the question remains; who are His enemies?
He is clear in his rebuke and declaration of God’s judgment. Nineveh had become a nation of many races and was sustained by greed. Substance abuse was rampant. Nah 1:9-10 There was violence in the streets, leaders plotted against the Lord and looting abounded in all its forms. Nah 2:9
But looting was not limited to rioters in the streets. Nahum describes Nineveh’s leaders as “swarming locusts, and grasshoppers”. Nahum 3:17 Grasshoppers and locusts pillage and never produce. They disappear in the light of the sun.
As in the days of Jeremiah who rebuked the lying prophets for their ear-tickling positivity and their claims that God said things that He never did, Jerm 14:13-15 the people of Nineveh had become complacent and perhaps oppositional. Apparently, they thought they were immune to God’s judgments. To which Nahum replies,
“Are you better than populous (Thebes)?…” “…(who) “was carried away, into captivity”. Nah 3:8-10
While his meaning may not have been quite as literal as the interpretation might be today, Nahum declares,
“Your people (men) have become women” the gates of your land are open to your enemies.” Nah 3:13
“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.” Nah 3:18
There are a lot of ear-tickling, positivity prophets, and preachers these days. Almost all of them are declaring that “sword and famine shall not touch our land” and that peace and assurance shall abound. Jer 14:13 They minister to individual self-esteem at the expense of salvation and stoke the flames of personal significance instead of fear of our God who is a consuming fire. Heb 12:29
All declare an imminent revival.
Few call for repentance.
Everyone loves them. Everyone speaks well of them. Luke 6:26
The Bible is ultimately the most positive and hopeful message mankind has ever seen. Yet it is a conditional one. It’s time frame is eternal. It demands we abandon our ways and become set apart (Holy). This process begins with repentance from sin. Apart from this, no message, no word, no action on our part means a thing.
If you compare the state of the world today with the likeness of Israel back then; what do you see? Do you see a pleased God declaring Jeremiah 29:11 over society at large or do you see Isaiah 5:20 and Jeremiah Chapter fourteen?
Given that God’s character, plan, and purpose do not change and Ecc 1:9 explains that history repeats; why would anyone believe that it won’t repeat now?
What does true love look like in the context of today?
What kind of messages do people really need?
If one old testament prophecy can be appropriated today, then all can be be appropriated.
Nineveh was overrun and destroyed.
Are we better than Nineveh?