When Nahum wrote the book of Nahum Nineveh was the most powerful city in the world. But listen to how Nahum prophetically describes the city in 2:8-13:
Nahum 2:8–13 (NAS)
Though Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days, Now they are fleeing; “Stop, stop,” But no one turns back.
Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold! For there is no limit to the treasure— Wealth from every kind of desirable object.
She is emptied! Yes, she is desolate and waste! Hearts are melting and knees knocking! Also anguish is in the whole body And all their faces are grown pale!
Where is the den of the lions And the feeding place of the young lions, Where the lion, lioness and lion’s cub prowled, With nothing to disturb them?
The lion tore enough for his cubs, Killed enough for his lionesses, And filled his lairs with prey And his dens with torn flesh.
“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.”
Not only did Nahum prophesy of it, but history confirms that the city of Nineveh was utterly destroyed.
If there is anything that we can learn from the fate of Nineveh it is that God’s judgment is inescapable, and that in God’s judgment our sin will be punished. Nineveh learned this the hard way, but they didn’t have to. 150 years before God used the prophet Nahum, He sent the prophet Jonah to the city of Nineveh. Through Jonah God promised the people that if they would repent of their sins then He would turn aside His judgment. Unfortunately for the Ninevites did not truly heed this message. They tested God, and they found out that He is not only a forgiving God but He is also a Holy and Just Judge who will punish sin.
Like the Ninevites, we too have a way of escape. You see, God has sent us a prophet as well. Not just any prophet either; He sent us His own Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus came into the world He lived a sinless life, and even though He didn’t deserve it, He took upon himself the punishment of sins by dying on the cross. He bore the wrath of sin, and in the process was literally crushed by the Father. It is because of this sacrifice on the cross that we now have the opportunity to escape God’s wrath. Scripture assures us that if we will repent of our sins and believe in Christ then we will be saved.
We are not powerful enough to escape God’s judgment on our own, and that is why God provided us with Christ who is powerful enough. Additionally, this passage shows us that God always punishes sin, and this is why God sent Christ to bear that punishment on behalf of His people. In this we see that God is a longsuffering and merciful God, but if we test Him like the Ninevites did then we too will experience the full extent of God’s judgment.
As the fate of Nineveh in Nahum 2:8-13 illustrates, God’s judgment is inescapable and it always punishes sin. The only chance we have is to run to Christ and depend upon God’s grace. And for those of us who have already chosen to do this, we must continue to take sin as seriously as God does and be thankful for the salvation he has wrought in our lives.