Whatever you plot against the LORD, He will bring [it] to complete destruction; oppression will not rise up a second time.
Nahum 1:9 (HCSB)
In chapter 1 of Nahum, the prophet Nahum is given a very compelling vision that is written in a book for him to give to the people of the city of Nineveh concerning their burdensome lifestyle they are living before the Lord. The Assyrians, the people who conquered Israel, established the city of Nineveh as the capital of the Assyrian Empire. If you recall in the book of Jonah, Jonah was sent to the city of Nineveh to tell them to repent of all their actions so that they would not be destroyed. Through much reluctance Jonah saw his mission through and the city repented, causing God to become the compassionate God we love, and show compassion towards the city because of its actions to save itself from destruction by coming into knowledge of God.
Throughout the years the Assyrians became more destructive and wicked within the city than before even though they have obtained knowledge of God. Their desire was to establish itself as the wealthiest kingdom on the earth. While in pursuit of gaining the wealth of the world, weaker nations stood no chance against the power they possessed, and fell victim to their power. The prophet Isaiah received a Word from the Lord in chapter 10 describing how He would use Assyria’s godless motivation as the ‘wrath of His anger’ to send them against His people who continue to grow more idolatrous, to punish them for their idolatrous hearts. Even though the Assyrians would grow in great power and wealth, they would still be held accountable for the actions of their nation which were against the way in which the Lord wanted them to act. Instead of building up God’s people to worship Him and serve Him, they were tearing them down and oppressing them so they could fulfill their desire to be the wealthiest empire. Any time an act is being plotted against God’s people, it’s the same as plotting against God, which is shown in the first chapter of Nahum.
Friend or Foe
In order to know whether or not we are plotting evil against the Lord we have to first assess whether or not we are a friend of God or His foe, which requires a personal character evaluation. Determining whether there is an emotional and affectionate attachment to God and to those things that are of God, such as loving as He loves and showing His unfailing love He has towards others reveals the actual relationship with God. Other qualities such as showing compassion and mercy, forgiveness, and faithfulness to Gods will and His way He has provided for His people to be led to Him also determines the relationship one is in with God. Mirroring these qualities of God not only determines the relationship one is in with God, but also whether the relationship is on good terms or not. If God-like qualities are present, friendship is entered into because of the acceptance of God’s qualities that make God who He is, establishing belief in God.
A foe is the exact opposite of a friend, an enemy of God with no connection with God and they oppose everything that makes up the God we serve. An enemy of God does things contrary to the spirit. Instead of walking in His love a foe walks in hatred. Instead of being merciful and forgiving, they keep an unforgiving heart and oppose everything that makes God God, questioning His character. Once a person or group of people has been conformed to everything He opposes, they become God’s enemy. An enemy of God will feel God’s wrath for every act of evil they have plotted against the Lord, and vengeance is His.
With most friendships there’s a need to want to be in the presence of the friend because of the benefits that have been gained through the friendship. With God the benefits of His friendship are endless and numerous, with protection from harm being one benefit Nahum touched on. The primary benefit in chapter 1 of Nahum is God, the friend of the righteous man, taking vengeance for His people against their foes, so they don’t have to.
Revenge Is the Lords
Believers of God must stand firm in their belief and remain sound in mind despite everything that is being done to them. There hasn’t been one group of people in the Bible that God hasn’t delivered from the hand of His enemies, and then placed them in a position where they are able to prosper. Believers sometimes get beside themselves because of the struggle and oppression they are in, and want to fight a battle that isn’t theirs to fight, but is the Lords battle. The Godly attribute of patience and longsuffering has been lost, because the situation that we have been placed in that is the defining moment of our faith has begun to overwhelm us because we lost sight of God and His power that is working in favor of the believer.
In this chapter God reveals how his power will overcome those who plot against His people. Not only will He fight our battle for us, but the issues that are trying to overtake us will be completely destroyed once we release it to the Lord. In verse 6, two very important questions are asked concerning Gods judgment of those who have taken Him being slow to anger for granted, and not acknowledging that although He is slow to anger He is great in power: Who can withstand His indignation? Who can endure His burning anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; even rocks are shattered before Him.
Gods softer and more compassionate side will not let His people continue to be beat down and bruised at the hands of the enemy, so He will fight our battle for us, using His great power because He knows once He puts His hands on a situation and uses His power no one is able to handle it. Believers don’t need to fight, and God doesn’t want the believer to fight those who are oppressing us, because He wants us to remain submitted to Him in prayer and worship of Him, and in service to Him. God wants us to magnify His image we are to reflect, and if He does need us to fight He will reveal that to the believer. When God’s wrath comes, who is able to endure it? Who is able to endure His wrath being poured out like fire, which shatters rocks? The anger He is pouring out on His enemies shows His feelings towards His people who are being burdened, revealing the jealousy God has when our service and worship of Him has been diverted, and given to another. God wants our affection and will not tolerate anyone else taking what is His from Him, so stand strong and keep praising Him despite the hardship, knowing that vengeance is the Lords.
After everything the Assyrians have done to God’s people, and the plans they hatched against His people, God revealed how His people would be rebuilt. No matter how strong they are or how great their number appear to be, God is stronger and no number of soldiers is too great for Him handle. When His destruction comes and His enemies has been consumed and mowed down, the believers will be free of their shackles, their yokes will no longer keep us bound, and though we have been afflicted before, no longer will we be afflicted. Our position in the land God has promised those who follow Him will be established for us to prosper and continue to be built up and edified so we are free to worship Him with no distractions and free to serve Him and fulfill His purpose.
Throughout life we will encounter people or situations that will physically or mentally bring us under bondage, and try to bring us into worship of it through our actions and constant acknowledgement of it, rather than worshipping and acknowledging God so He is able to pull us out of that situation and set us on solid ground. God wants the believers to show their belief in Him through every situation, so when He allows us to be tempted as He allowed Job to be tempted those who are watching us will gain a new understanding of what it means to be one of Gods. So be of good cheer, since it’s only the Lord trying our faith in Him, to see if we are truly committed to Him, to show how He loves us, and to position us for the greater blessing He has waiting for us.