9 Whatever they plot against the Lord
he will bring to an end;
trouble will not come a second time.
10 They will be entangled among thorns
and drunk from their wine;
they will be consumed like dry stubble.
11 From you, Nineveh, has one come forth
who plots evil against the Lord
and devises wicked plans.
12 This is what the Lord says:
“Although they have allies and are numerous,
they will be destroyed and pass away.
Although I have afflicted you, Judah,
I will afflict you no more.
13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck
and tear your shackles away.”
14 The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh:
“You will have no descendants to bear your name.
I will destroy the images and idols
that are in the temple of your gods.
I will prepare your grave,
for you are vile.”
15 Look, there on the mountains,
the feet of one who brings good news,
who proclaims peace!
Celebrate your festivals, Judah,
and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you;
they will be completely destroyed.
(Nahum 1:9-15 NIV)
As we review from our last time together, the prophet Nahum had written about God’s wrath against sin – in particular, Nineveh’s sin. In the midst of God’s wrath, however, He promised to be a refuge to those who obey Him. God promised to not sweep away the righteous with the wicked.
Picking up today’s text, we see the Lord continuing His thoughts from verse 8. The Lord is intervening – He will stop those who plot evil against the Lord and His people (vv. 9-12a).
In verses 12b – 13, the Lord gives words of comfort to Judah. Yes, the Lord has used the Assyrians to discipline His children, the Jewish people. God’s people had turned their backs on Him and were worshipping other gods. The Lord had warned them in His Word as well as through many prophets that there would be consequences for their willful sin, but the people of Judah continued down their selfish paths anyway. Now the Lord was telling His children that the discipline was over – the Assyrians were about to be forced to release their hold on God’s people.
In verse 14, the Lord pronounces the end of Nineveh. The Lord has decreed that the Ninevites will be no more – including their descendants. The Lord is preparing their grave (in this case, a watery one, v. 8). Not only will the city be wiped out, but also the people and their gods and idols. Their deities of wood and stone are no match for the Living God.
Verse 15 is another reminder of God’s loving kindness toward His people. Repeating the thought in verses 12b-13, the Lord reassures the people of Judah that He will not sweep them away with wicked Nineveh, but will rescue and restore them to worship Him once more.
Notice that the emphasis is on the messenger’s feet and message (v. 15). The Lord is calling out the urgency of the messenger – likely running to proclaim the good news of Judah’s release from Assyrian captivity. This wasn’t just a casual conversation to be had when the messenger had some spare time – this was freedom!
This emphasis was not on the defeat of the Assyrians, but rather, on the victory of the Lord freeing His children from tyranny and oppression. Only God could deliver His people in such a huge way!
The Gospel is God’s good news to us – Jesus died for our sins, to break the penalty of sin over us. His resurrection broke the power of death forever and paved the way for us to have eternal life with God. God offers us the gift of salvation – it is nothing that we can earn or buy or demand. We must humbly accept His gift as payment for our sins, placing our trust in Him for eternal life.