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Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 1, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words


Comfort in Judgment

The main topic in this book is the judgment that will be coming on the capital city of the Assyrians, Nineveh.

Within this theme of judgment will be comfort for the people of Judah who are feeling like they are about to be wiped out by Assyria.


The commentators are all over the map when it comes to putting the book of Nahum on a timeline, but I think we can follow the clues and narrow it down a bit.

Nahum predicts the fall of Nineveh.

Nineveh fell in 612 BC.

He mentions the fall of the Egyptian city of Thebes (“No Amon”, Nah. 3:8).

Thebes fell in 663 BC.

Thebes was rebuilt nine years after its fall, yet Nahum speaks as if its fall was a completely done deal, no mention of being rebuilt.  It was rebuilt in 654 BC.

Nahum would have written before 654 BC.

The Medes were one of the nations involved in the fall of Nineveh along with the Babylonians.  The Medes they rose to power in 645 BC.  Nahum mentions neither the Medes nor Babylonians.

Nahum would have been written before 645 BC.

That puts the book of Nahum as being written between the years of 663 BC (Thebes’ fall) and 645 BC (Mede rise to power).

That would also put the book being written during the time of King Manasseh of Judah.

Manasseh reigned from 697-642 BC

Manasseh reigned after the time when the Assyrians had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and taken them all away.  There was only the nation of Judah left.

During Manasseh’s reign, the kingdom of Judah was under the thumb of the Assyrians.

Manasseh was a “vassal”, his “boss” was the Assyrian king.


760 BC

Jonah visits Nineveh

732 BC

The Assyrians begin to pick of pieces of the northern kingdom of Israel.

722 BC

The Assyrians would wipe out the northern kingdom in 722 BC.

701 BC

Assyria attacks the southern kingdom and lay siege to Jerusalem.
One angel would deliver Jerusalem by killing 185,000 Assyrians in a single night.

697 BC

Young Manasseh takes over the kingdom of Judah from his father Hezekiah.
Manasseh will reign from 697-642 BC

663 BC

Assyria levels the Egyptian city of Thebes (“No Amon”, Nah. 3:8)

645 BC

The Medes rise to power

663-645 BC

Nahum writes his book

612 BC

The city of Nineveh is destroyed by the Babylonians and Medes.

1:1-14 The Good Judge

:1 The burden against Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

:1 the burden

burdenmassa– load, burden, utterance

This is a “heavy” message.

It’s going to be about serious judgment coming on the city of Nineveh.

:1 the vision of Nahum

The prophet’s name means “comfort”

He is going to bring “comfort” to the nation of Judah by telling them that their huge evil adversary, Assyria, will be judged.

There is a sense of “comfort” when God judges.

:1 Nineveh

We recently spent some time in Nineveh when we were studying the book of Jonah.

Video:  Nineveh map clip

Nineveh is located in modern Iraq, near the city of Mosul, 550 miles from Jerusalem.
It sat at the junction of the Tigris and Khoser rivers. It is first mentioned in Genesis 10 as one of the cities built by the ancient man known as “Nimrod”, who also built the city of Babel, or, Babylon.

Its early importance came from it being the home to a statue of the goddess Ishtar. Supposedly the statue had healing powers.

In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was not yet the capital of the Assyrian empire.

The prophet Jonah lived around 760 BC, about forty years before the destruction of the northern kingdom. Jonah had been sent by God to warn the people of Nineveh of God’s judgment on them and they responded to his message and repented.
We are now about a hundred years after Jonah’s time, and the people of Nineveh have gone back to their evil ways.
Somehow the message of God didn’t get transmitted from one generation to the next.
Sennacherib would make Nineveh the capital of the Assyrian Empire around 700 BC.

:1 Elkoshite

Nahum was a guy living in “Elkosh”.

Video:  Elkosh map video.

We’re not too sure where “Elkosh” is, though the Israelis have put a village here.
Another idea is the town of Capernaum.
The name Capernaum is thought to be related to the Hebrew words “capher” and “nahum”, meaning “village of comfort”. Some have suggested it was named after the prophet, “the village of Nahum”.
Capernaum is a small town located on the Sea of Galilee.

It was the home town of Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

It was the home base for Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee area. He did many miracles there.

It was in Capernaum that Jesus cast a demon out of a man in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-27)

It was in Capernaum that the paralytic was lowered through the roof by his friends and Jesus healed him (Mark 2:1-12)

It was in Capernaum where Jesus told Peter to throw a hook and line into the water, and Peter caught a fish with a coin in it’s mouth and paid their taxes (Mat. 17:24-27)

When Jesus was in Cana, He simply spoke a word and a man’s son was healed in Capernaum (John 4:46).

But Capernaum was also condemned by Jesus for its lack of repentance:
(Matthew 11:23 NKJV) And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.


Heed the warnings

The city of Nineveh had been visited by the prophet Jonah. They repented, but apparently backslid.
Now, a hundred years later, the city is facing God’s judgment.
The city of Capernaum had been visited by Jesus Himself.
Even though some people responded, for the most part the city was unrepentant.

Until recently, the city disappeared over the centuries.

When God gives a warning, we ought to pay attention and take Him seriously.
The FDA is considering additional warnings on beer and alcohol bottles, such as:
·        WARNING: consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
·        WARNING: consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on the forehead.
·        WARNING: consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.
·WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may actually CAUSE pregnancy.
Please don’t misunderstand me.  It is NOT a sin to drink beer or alcohol.  Getting drunk is another thing all together.

I don’t want you to be afraid of God. But I’d love it if we all became a little more afraid of sin and took heed to the actual warnings that God gives us.

We may think that the “laws” of God’s Word are nothing but happiness killers.  David wrote,
(Psalm 19:10–11 NKJV) —10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

God’s Word, God’s ways, are good.  They are for our good.

:2 God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies;

:2 the Lord avenges



God gets upset when someone messes with His people.
Moses wrote,
(Deuteronomy 32:10 NKJV) “He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.

The “apple” of the eye is another way of describing the pupil of the eye.

You guard the pupil of your eye.  You don’t want anything getting into your eye.

David wrote,
(Psalm 17:8 NKJV) Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

David wanted God to protect him like the apple of His eye.

Zechariah wrote,
(Zechariah 2:8 NKJV) For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.

When you mess with God’s people, it’s like poking God in the eye.

Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay for your sins.
When you make the choice to open your heart to God and ask Jesus to forgive you, you become the “apple” of His eye.
He can’t take His eye off you.
And when people mess with you, it’s like poking God in the eye.

:3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked.

:3 slow to anger



Don’t confuse God’s vengeance of evil with a quick temper.
Too often we get overheated at something that offends us and think that our temper is justified by calling it “righteous indignation”.

God does get angry.  God will get even.

But God might take His time in order to do it correctly.

We are told by Paul,

(Ephesians 4:31–32 NLT) —31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

We also need to be careful that we don’t mistake God’s patience with the possibility that He isn’t going to do something about the problem.
(2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

You may want your enemies to perish, but God doesn’t.  God would love to give them just one more chance.

:3 …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. Bashan and Carmel wither, And the flower of Lebanon wilts.

:4 Bashan … Carmel … Lebanon

These are all areas in the northern part of Israel.

These were all areas known for their lush pasture lands and vineyards.

Yet these areas knew what it was like to experience a drought from time to time.

They also knew about God’s judgment, having already been carried off by the Assyrians.

:5 The mountains quake before Him, The hills melt, And the earth heaves at His presence, Yes, the world and all who dwell in it.

:6 Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him.

:6 Who can stand before His indignation?

When the Assyrian commander came up to lay siege to Jerusalem forty years earlier, he issued this warning:

(2 Kings 18:35 NKJV) Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”
That commander would learn that Yahweh was more than capable of delivering Jerusalem from the Assyrians.
You really shouldn’t mess with God.

:7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

:7 The Lord is good

:7 goodtowb – good, pleasant, agreeable; kind, benign

In contrast with His wrath, God is “good” to those who will trust Him.

C.S. Lewis wove Jesus into the Narnia books as the character Aslan, a lion.  There’s a scene in the book that was left out of the movie…
When the Pevensie children first hear about Aslan, they are having supper with the beavers. They hear that this coming king, Aslan, is a lion.
Susan says, “Ooh! I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (pg. 75-76)

:7 He knows those who trust in Him


God knows me

I think there’s something in all of us that wants to know that we’re important, that we matter.
We may find ourselves in situations where we want certain people to “know” us, to “recognize” us. 
You hope that the “big boss” of the company knows your name.
And it’s disappointing when it doesn’t happen.
But God knows you.  He knows your name.
I remember very clearly having a sense that God had called me to be a pastor when I was eighteen years old.
At the time I thought that meant that I would need to go to school (college and seminary) and then it would happen.
I went to school.  Nothing happened.
I struggled for a time, wondering if God had forgotten me.

I felt like the time when I had called customer service at a store, been put on hold, and waited for thirty minutes without them getting back to me … they had forgot me.

Did God forget me?  Not at all.

I learned that God does things according to His timetable, not mine.

You aren’t lost in the shuffle.
God knows you.  He even loves you.
Video:  Check the Box

:8 But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies.

:8 an overflowing flood

There would literally be a flood involved in the destruction of Nineveh.  More about that next week.

:9 What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.

:9 Affliction will not rise up a second time

If God wants to totally annihilate something, He will do it.

Nineveh will be wiped out and never, ever be rebuilt.

:10 For while tangled like thorns, And while drunken like drunkards, They shall be devoured like stubble fully dried.

:11 From you comes forth one Who plots evil against the Lord, A wicked counselor.

:11 A wicked counselor

The NAS translates this phrase as something that has already happened

(Nahum 1:11 NASB95) From you has gone forth one who plotted evil against the Lord, a wicked counselor.

wickedbᵉliya‘al – worthlessness; good for nothing; wicked

It’s a word often translated in the old King James as “Belial”, another name for Satan.

This could be a reference to Sennacherib, whose general “Rabshakeh” came to destroy Jerusalem in 701 BC –

(2 Kings 18:28–30 NKJV) —28 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 
Every time I read this, I can’t help but hear the “hissing” of Satan behind the words.  Satan doesn’t want you to trust in God.

BTW – God did deliver the people.  One angel wiped out 185,000 Assyrians in a single night.

:12 Thus says the Lord: “Though they are safe, and likewise many, Yet in this manner they will be cut down When he passes through. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more;

:12 Though they are safe, and likewise many

The Assyrians may think they have a big army and lots of allies, but they will still be cut down.

:12 I will afflict you no more

Even though God had brought affliction on Judah, the time of this affliction would be over.

:13 For now I will break off his yoke from you, And burst your bonds apart.”

:14 The Lord has given a command concerning you: “Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile.”

:14 Out of the house of your gods

God speaks to this “evil counselor” and says he will be cut off. This is what happened to Sennacherib:

(2 Kings 19:37 NKJV) Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
He was murdered in the “house” of his “gods”.

:14 I will dig your grave


God’s vengeance

To be honest, we like it when the underdog gets even with the bully.
(from Romans 12f)

There was a story about a truck driver who dropped in at an all-night restaurant in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The waitress had just served him when three swaggering, leather-jacketed motorcyclists—of the Hell’s Angels type—entered and rushed up to him, apparently spoiling for a fight.  One grabbed the hamburger off his plate; another took a handful of his French fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.  The trucker did not respond as one might expect.  Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.  When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?”  She replied, “I can’t answer as to that, but he’s not much of a truck driver.  He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot.”

We like it when the wimpy kid gets super powers and no longer has to be beaten up by the school bully.
Video:  Spiderman – Peter vs Flash
The truth is, revenge usually causes us more trouble than we bargained for.

There’s an old story about a tenant farmer who had worked hard for many years to improve the production of the land.  Then something happened that caused him to become very bitter.  When it was time to renew his lease, the owner told him he was going to sell the farm to his son who was getting married.  The tenant made several generous offers to buy it himself, hoping the man’s decision would be reversed.  But it was all in vain.  As the day drew near for the farmer to vacate his home, his weeks of angry brooding finally got the best of him.  He gathered seeds from some of the most pesky and noxious weeds he could find.  Then he spent many hours scattering them on the clean, fertile soil of the farm, along with a lot of trash and stones he had collected.  To his dismay, the very next morning the owner informed him that plans for his son’s wedding had fallen through, and therefore he would be happy to renew the lease.  He couldn’t understand why the farmer exclaimed in agonizing tones, “Oh, Lord, what a fool I’ve been!”

We don’t need to worry about taking vengeance, God will do it. And He knows just how to do it.
Paul wrote,
(Romans 12:19 NLT) Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

We will pick it up next week in verse 15…