Psalm 150

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 150:1-6 NIV)

As we step into this final entry in the Book of Psalms, we see the psalmist’s continued pattern (Psalms 146 through 150) to begin and end the psalm with worship (“Praise the Lord!” or “Hallelujah”).

Today’s psalm is 100% focused on the Lord, and offering Him the praise and worship He so richly deserves.

While this psalm is short (only six verses), the psalmist has a clear outline of his thoughts and teaching:

  1. Where we praise the Lord (v. 1)
  2. Why we praise the Lord (v. 2)
  3. How we praise the Lord (vv. 3-5)
  4. Who should praise the Lord (v. 6)

The psalmist begins by telling us where to praise the Lord.  Obviously, praising the Lord in His sanctuary is a great start.  In the psalmist’s day, the sanctuary was the place God resided among His people.  For many generations, God’s dwelling place among His people was a tent structure (the tabernacle).  Then the Lord allowed King Solomon to build a permanent structure (the Temple) as God’s residing place among His people (1 Kings 5).

In the New Testament, God resides not in a building, but in the hearts of those who follow and obey Him.  As followers of Christ, we gather regularly to worship the Lord.  Many folks gather in churches around the world; some gather in homes, in rented spaces like movie theaters or schools or hotel banquet rooms.  And Jesus promises to join those who assemble themselves together to worship Him:

[Jesus speaking] “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:20 NIV)

In addition to worshipping the Lord indoors, we are also to worship the Lord out-of-doors.  The psalmist covers all possibilities for the out-of-doors when he says we are to worship Him “in his mighty heavens” (v. 1).

Where do you like to worship the Lord when outside?  Many people tend to gravitate to one of two places – either the beach or the mountains.  I understand and appreciate both places.  The beach demonstrates the power and vastness of God, and our smallness and limits compared to His creation.  The mountains offer perspective and movement, the changing of seasons, the immensity of His creation and His handiwork in both day and night.

While I appreciate the beach and the ocean, my heart is captured by the Lord when I spend time in the mountains.  As I see the clouds and weather rolling across the land and sky by day and the stars covering the sky by night, I am in awe of His grand design and how He holds everything together on a daily, hourly, even moment-by-moment basis.

The Apostle Paul summarized these thoughts so well:

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:15-17 NIV, underlines added for emphasis)

Now that we have looked at where we praise the Lord, let’s look at why we praise Him.  Verse 2 says we praise the Lord for His acts of power and His surpassing greatness.  We see God’s goodness in both the great and small things of life – His daily care and provision for our basic needs, as well as His protection for His own and His divine intervention against His enemies.

When you think about God’s acts of power and His surpassing greatness, what comes to mind in your life?  What have you seen the Lord do recently in your life or the lives of those around you?

Verses 3 – 5 capture how we are to praise the Lord.  Note the wide variety of musical instruments – wind and stringed instruments, percussion, and while not explicitly stated but rather implied in verse 6, our voices.  As we know from other Scriptures, there are skilled musicians that play these instruments and lead others in worshipping the Lord.

Verse 6 concludes by stating who should praise the Lord.  The psalmist does not limit the worship of God to the Israelites, or even to people in general.  Rather, the psalmist invites, even commands “everything that has breath” to praise the Lord.  This includes all human as well as all animal life joining together to worship the Lord.  Unless you live in a major metropolitan city with buildings all around, it’s hard to miss the worship of God’s creation, through the birds in the morning and the insects at night.

As we wrap up today’s study, what resonates in your soul?

  • Where do you worship the Lord?
  • Why do you worship the Lord?
  • How do you worship the Lord?
  • Who do you join to worship the Lord?

May we partner with the psalmist, as we begin, abide in, and conclude each day:

“Praise the Lord”.


Psalm 149

Psalm 149

Praise the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
    let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
    and sing for joy on their beds.

May the praise of God be in their mouths
    and a double-edged sword in their hands,
to inflict vengeance on the nations
    and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters,
    their nobles with shackles of iron,
to carry out the sentence written against them—
    this is the glory of all his faithful people.

Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 149:1-9 NIV)

Psalm 149, like the three before it, begins and ends with worship (“Praise the Lord”).

The psalmist begins by addressing the entire nation of Israel (vv. 1-2).  This is not just a personal call to worship, nor a family call to worship – the call is to the entire nation!

At first glance, the logical thought is that everyone is gathered at the Temple to worship the Lord.  The Temple, however, could not hold the entire population of Israel, so this was most likely either an outdoor celebration, or various communities of God’s faithful people wherever they gathered.

The phrase “his faithful people” occurs three times in this psalm (vv. 2b, 5a, 9b).  The emphasis on being faithful to God was around loyalty to the Lord.  Despite the enticement of neighboring nations to live selfishly or worship other gods, God’s people remained loyal to Him and Him alone.

So what did this worship look like?

  • it was creative (a new song, v. 1)
  • it involved singing, engaging all a person’s senses (v. 1)
  • it was joyful (v. 2)
  • it was dynamic, involving motion (dancing, v. 3)
  • it included musical instruments (timbrel and harp, v. 3)

And what was God’s thought about all this?  Verse 4 tells us that God delights in the praises of His faithful people, those who come together to humbly exalt His name and thank Him for all He has done for them and for all that He is.

Verse 5 captures the heart of this worship… this was not a mandatory “have to” worship.  In fact, it was quite the opposite… this was a “get to” attitude toward worship.

To pause for just a moment, what is our attitude toward worshipping the Lord?  Do we do so out of duty, or obligation, or even drudgery?  Or do we approach our worship time (whether our personal worship time or our corporate worship time at church) as an “I get to” attitude of excitement and longing to do so?

The reference to singing for joy while on their beds does not refer to when a person was sleeping.  The bed was often referred to as a place of contemplation, of thinking about the Lord or matters of life.

As we consider verses 6 – 9, we must be careful to understand the psalmist’s comments in the correct context.  Topics like vengeance, punishment, and judgment are heavy topics, and must be understood in light of God’s teachings elsewhere in Scripture.

Note that these three topics (vengeance, punishment, and judgment) are initiated and carried out under God’s command and authority alone, not by human will or decision.  Did God use the Israelites to protect their territory and keep their enemies from attacking?  Yes.  Did God use the Israelites to execute judgment on those nations that constantly opposed and attacked God’s people?  Yes.

But all that happened under God’s initiating, not because the leaders of Israel decided they didn’t like their neighbors, or lusted after their land or resources, or didn’t worship the same God that Israel did.

Rather, these were actions of a holy and righteous God who dealt with blatant and deliberate sin against Him, and a holy and righteous God who protects and provides for His people.  Sometimes God used His people to carry out the wishes of those who opposed Him; other times, God acted alone and told Israel to watch as He took care of matters on His own, without the aid or help of the Israelites.

While these examples are out of the Old Testament, the New Testament has similar stories of God sometimes calling His people to action, to care for and minister to those who oppose Jesus, and other times intervening supernaturally to take care of matters Himself.

Whether in the Old or New Testament, the learning, the lesson is the same.  The focus is on our connectedness, our being “with” the Lord to determine whether God is calling us to do something, or whether He instructs us to stand aside as He intervenes on our behalf.

And how do we stay connected, or “with” the Lord?  By spending time with Him through reading and practicing His Word, through prayer, aligning our will with His, and through interaction with others who are faithful followers of Jesus and have the spiritual maturity to help guide our thinking and ask questions to determine our motives (why we do what we do).

May our heart today be that of worship, and may our attitude be “I get to”.


Psalm 148

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
    old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,
    the praise of all his faithful servants,
    of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 148:1-14 NIV)

Like the two preceding psalms, Psalm 148 begins and ends with the familiar worship phrase “Praise the Lord”.

Before we take a closer look at this psalm, it’s worth noting several obvious themes in the text.  The first is the focus on worship.  The word “praise” occurs 13 times across 14 verses.  The second is the inclusiveness of this praise to the Lord.  The word “all” occurs 10 times in the text.  The writer of this hymn was not writing this as a personal or private worship time – this psalm was meant to be shared in community, in corporate worship.

There are two main sections to this psalm:

  • From the heavens (vv. 1-6)
  • From the earth (vv. 7-12)

Verses 13-14 then wrap up or summarize the previous two sections.

As we look at verses 1-6, we see the psalmist inviting the created heavens and heavenly beings to worship the Lord.  Note that the psalmist did not tell us to worship the created beings – the sun, the moon, the stars, the angels.  Instead, the psalmist invites the created beings and God’s creation to worship their Creator.

And why would God’s created objects and beings in the heavens worship Him?   Verses 5-6 give us the answer – because God created them all, and established them forever.  Since God spoke them into existence, these objects and beings have had both a place and a purpose in His grand design.

Don’t believe me?  That’s OK – go check it out yourself.  Go back and read the Creation account in Genesis chapter 1.

Verses 7-12 invite all of God’s creation on the earth to join in worshiping Him.  The psalmist is all-inclusive:

  • The ocean and its depths, including all its inhabitants (v. 7)
  • The weather across all four seasons (v. 8)
  • The mountains and all plant life (v. 9)
  • All creatures on the land and in the air (v. 10)
  • All rulers and human authorities (v. 11)
  • All people on the earth – young and old, men and women (v. 12)

Note that the psalmist uses some poetic license in the lists.  For instance, verse 10 lists wild animals and cattle.  The “cattle” represent all domesticated animals such as sheep, horses, pigs, llamas, etc.  Another example is “small creatures” (v. 10).  This is meant to cover everything from insects and creepy-crawly bugs to small animals like cats and dogs, rabbits, etc.

So why does the psalmist invite all heavens and earth to worship the Lord?  Verses 13-14 give us the answer.  As the Creator of all the heavens and the earth, everything and everyone, God alone is worthy of our praise and honor.  He alone deserves the glory for all He has done.

And is all this glory one-sided?  No.  Verse 14 tells us that God designed this to be a relationship between Himself and His people, the nation of Israel.  In the Old Testament, God shared His glory with Israel as an example of His goodness and love toward His creation.  In the New Testament, God opened this door to everyone – Jew or non-Jew, young or old, male or female, slave or free – all are offered His love and eternal life if they so choose to accept it.  Salvation and eternal life with God cannot be bought, earned, or demanded – it can only be accepted as a free gift from God to us through His son Jesus.

Here’s an old hymn that puts to music the thoughts of this psalm.  Originally penned as part of his Canticle of the Sun poem, these words were written about 800 years ago by Saint Francis of Assisi.  In the early 1900’s, William Draper paraphrased Psalm 148 and Saint Francis’ poem into the hymn we know as “All Creatures of Our God and King”.

Join me in worshiping our Lord:

Psalm 147

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 147:1-20 NIV)

Like Psalm 146, Psalm 147 begins and ends with worship (“Praise the Lord”).  The author is not named, nor is any context provided that might help date the writing.  The only clue we have about the date of this psalm is in verses 2, 13, and 14.  In these verses, the psalmist refers to a time when God’s people are returned from exile, the city gates are restored, and God’s people live in peace.  This might coincide with the return of the Jews to Israel after the 70-year exile to Babylon.

As this psalm begins, we hear the psalmist give thanks to God in caring for His people (vv. 2-6).  The psalmist worships the Lord for healing His people physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, and financially.  Just as the Lord knows and names each star in the sky, so He knows and cares for each person (the ancient Israelites, as well as you and me!).

The psalmist then invites us to join in worshiping the Lord along with him (v. 7).  The psalmist calls us to observe how God’s Providence and care extends not only to His people but to all nature.  Rain on the earth, clouds for cover, grass on the mountain for the animals to eat, even food for adolescent birds learning to search and forage (vv. 8-9).

The psalmist now pauses to ponder what pleases God, what brings the Lord joy.  Is it human effort? Is it military power?  Is it athletic ability?  Is it work?    (v. 10).  The implied answer is “no” to all the above.  The answer lies in relationship, not human effort.  The Lord delights in those who fear (have a healthy awe and respect for) God,  who obey Him, and look to Him for their provision, care, and acceptance (v. 11).

The psalmist began worshiping alone, then invited those around him to join in.  Now the psalmist casts the net much wider and invites the entire city of Jerusalem to participate in worshiping the Lord (v. 12).  The psalmist then remembers all the Lord has provided for His people:

  • security and blessing in families (children) (v. 13)
  • peace from neighboring nations, and food to eat (v. 14)
  • His word to govern life and relationships to Himself and each other (v. 15)
  • the change of seasons, including winter and spring (vv. 16-18)
  • His covenant with Israel, His people (v. 19)

As the psalmist concludes this psalm, he notes God’s special care for His people Israel.  No other nation on the face of the earth has been so blessed by the Lord as they have.  The only thing the psalmist can do is humbly bow in worship to the Lord (v. 20).

As I ponder this psalm, I see the psalmist focusing not on himself but on the Lord.  Notice that nearly every verse begins with “The Lord” or “He” (referring to the Lord).  This psalm is God-centered, not me-centered, with the emphasis on what the Lord has done and is doing and not on the benefits to the psalmist (or us).

When I stop to examine my worship, I ask: is it centered on what I get out of it or the benefits I receive from God?  Or is my worship focused on Him and Him alone?

If the Lord is powerful enough and wise enough and big enough to create the stars, fling them into space, and name each one of them, and cares for young birds learning to find food to eat, then He can and will care for me.

That frees me up to offer thanksgiving and worship to the Lord.

It’s not an attitude of “I have to”, of obligation or duty.

Rather, it’s an attitude of “I get to”, of freedom and desire to serve Him with my entire being, to worship and obey Him.


Psalm 146

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 146:1-10 NIV)

As we begin our time together with the psalmist, one of the first observations is that this psalm begins and ends with worship (“Praise the Lord”).  Some scholars translate the phrase “Praise the Lord” as “Hallelujah”; both are worship terms.

The psalmist begins with a personal commitment to worship, focusing on his intentional choices to focus on the Lord with his entire person (his soul) and for the duration of his life (for as long as he lives) (vv. 1-2).

The psalmist then issues a warning against putting our trust in humans (princes represent political and business leaders), as they cannot save anyone, not even themselves.  When they die, their plans end (vv. 3-4).

The psalmist contrasts the folly of putting our trust in leaders for salvation with putting our trust in the Lord.  When we put our hope is in the Lord, and when we rely on Him for our help, we are blessed (v. 5).

The psalmist then worships the Lord by recalling all that He does for His own (vv. 6-9):

  • He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them
  • He remains faithful forever
  • He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry
  • The Lord sets prisoners free
  • The Lord gives sight to the blind
  • The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down
  • The Lord loves the righteous
  • The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow
  • He frustrates the ways of the wicked

The psalmist ends by reminding himself (and us) that the Lord reigns forever, spanning all generations everywhere (v. 10).

When you stop to recall all that God has done for you and our loved ones, does that lead you to gratitude and to worship?

God’s goodness leads me to bow in humble thankfulness for who He is, and what He does in my life and the lives of my loved ones.

And to think that He invites me to join Him in His work – with all my faults and shortcomings and selfishness and pride – that He still wants to include me and use me for His great plan to love the world?


Like the psalmist, I have only one response:  Praise the Lord!


Psalm 32

Psalm 32

Of David. A maskil.

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!
(Psalm 32:1-11 NIV)

Today’s psalm was written by King David, likely after his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11).  This psalm is similar to Psalm 51, where David confessed his sin before the Lord and everyone.

Scholars indicate that Psalm 32 may have been written after Psalm 51.  In fact, Psalm 32 may be David’s promise to the Lord:

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
(Psalm 51:13 NIV).

David begins with the benefits of confession of sin and forgiveness from the Lord (vv. 1-2).  David realized the blessing of God after confessing his sin, and not covering up (being deceitful) about his sin.

David was quick to remember the pain of covering up his sin, how it affected him mentally and spiritually as well as physically (vv. 3-4).

In verse 5, David confessed his sin before the Lord – all of it.  David withheld nothing from before the Lord – and the congregation who heard this psalm.  David was the king, and he lived as a public figure and a spiritual example before the entire nation.  David did not care who knew about his sin – he wanted to be restored in right relationship to the Lord.

In fact, David goes on to encourage everyone listening to this psalm to seek the Lord and confess their sins and seek forgiveness (v. 6).  David encourages everyone to confess their sin before it sweeps them away like a flood that destroys everything in its path.

David praises the Lord in verse 7 – God is the only safe hiding place, offering protection, provision, and comfort for a hurting soul.

Verses 8 – 9 are the Lord’s promise and warning to David (and to us).  When we confess our sins before the Lord, He promises to guide and direct our paths, to instruct us in right from wrong, and to lead us in the way that we should go (v. 8).  Otherwise, we will be led by others, just as a horse is led by its rider via a bit and bridle (v. 9).

The pain and woes of sin are many, but the Lord loves and blesses those who confess their sins and seek His face and trust in Him for forgiveness and reconciliation (v. 10).

After we confess our sins before the Lord, may we join David in praise and worship to the Lord who takes away the burden of our sins when we lay them down before Him (v. 11).

May this old hymn be on our hearts today, as a reminder of Psalm 32’s truth.

Rock Of Ages, sung by Fernando Ortega


Nahum 3:15b-19

Multiply like grasshoppers,
    multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber;
    your nobles lie down to rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?
(Nahum 3:15b-19 NIV)

In our last time together, we saw the Lord compare Nineveh to Thebes, a city in Egypt that the Assyrians had conquered.  Just as the Assyrians ruthlessly and inhumanely treated their captors, so would they experience the same brutality – a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.

Today we wrap up the book of Nahum and see what the Lord has to say to the Assyrians, especially the residents of Nineveh.  As we ended our last time together in the middle of verse 15, Nahum was encouraging the Ninevites to do everything they could to prepare for battle.  The encouragement was a mockery and taunt, of course – nothing could prepare them to stand against the Lord.

In the second half of verse 15, Nahum continues his taunt, encouraging the Ninevites (and Assyrians) to multiply like locusts and grasshoppers, enough people to swarm whatever land they choose to occupy.

In fact, the Assyrians had done just that – and Nahum says that the Assyrian traders and merchants had become too many to count (more numerous than the stars in the sky – v. 16).

While that might seem like the Assyrians had economic domination as well as military domination over much of the known world at that time, there was a huge problem.

The Assyrian people had gotten greedy and started living for themselves.  Verse 16 gives us the first hint of this problem… the merchants who were “more numerous than the stars in the sky” were now locusts that strip the land, then fly away.  The loyalty to the Assyrian kingdom and to the king was gone – they were living for themselves.

Verse 17 continues this theme – the military and political leaders were loyal to their country and to the king as long as they were dependent on them.  Once they were able to be independent of them, they disappeared like the locusts.

In verse 18, we see the problem was not isolated to the military and political rulers in Assyria.  The local officials (signified by shepherds) and the extended royal family (the nobles) also were not paying attention to what was happening – they were caught up in their own pursuits of pleasure.  Last but not least, the king of Assyria had no idea that his kingdom was about to collapse.

Even with Nahum’s warning, it was too late to do anything about it.  There was no one to gather the sheep (ordinary citizens, military, political rulers, everyone) back again.

Verse 19 is the end note, the summary of Nahum’s commentary.  Assyria’s dominant power and reign of evil are over, never to be resurrected or restarted again.

In fact, there is no one that will come to the Assyrians’ rescue – people will rejoice and clap their hands in joy, not mourn the loss of Assyria because all (even nations that were friendly to the Assyrians) have felt the horror and inhumanity of their evil ways.

As we learned in the introduction to the book of Nahum, there are many parallels between this book and the book of Jonah.  One similarity, in particular, is that the book of Jonah and the book of Nahum both end with a question.

In the book of Jonah, God questions Jonah’s hatred of the Ninevites and wonders why Jonah was not rejoicing when God withheld His judgment when the Ninevites repented.  Here we see God’s grace and mercy and love being demonstrated when people turn to Him.

In the book of Nahum, we see God ask who had been exempt from the Assyrians’ endless cruelty and injustices and inhumane treatment?  The implied answer is no one.  And for these heinous acts, the Lord would bring justice and judgment.  Here we see God’s righteousness and wrath against sin revealed.

In both the books of Jonah and Nahum, we see the character and attributes of God revealed.  God is kind, loving, and merciful, and He is also all-powerful and just and righteous and holy and takes action against sin.

May we remember that God is sovereign, even in the midst of injustice and rampant sin.

May we choose to live our lives to honor, obey, and glorify Him and Him alone, and not for ourselves and our own selfish motives.