Thus saith the Lord ; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. – Nahum 1:12 KJV
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The experience of being in captivity, spiritual or physical, can be very depressing as it is a situation where one is in confinement and so one’s freedom is restricted. It then becomes double problem when such confinement is in an exile location. In such location, the individual for some reason cannot return to the homeland as doing so will attract some form of punitive measures. It is in this situation that the Israelites in captivity in Assyria found themselves as they could not return to their homeland, not just because the Assyrians will penalise their actions but also because Jehovah had through the Prophets, instructed all the exiles to remain in their location, comply with all laws of the land and remain subservient to their captors – Jer. 29:4-10.
They however, never stopped praying to Jehovah pleading for His intervention. It is therefore not difficult to understand their reservation with the decision of Jehovah not to overturn Nineveh due to their actions which He considered as wickedness, as He had earlier purposed. The Ninevites on the other hand decided to return to the same acts of wickedness that they received forgiveness for, after pleading with Jehovah.
This return to wickedness by the Ninevites prompted Jehovah to send Prophet Nahum to the captives, letting them know that He was aware of the wicked acts of the Assyrians, the unwavering trust that the Israelites have in Jehovah and their loyalty to Him. They sure needed the encouragement from that message as it seemed the Ninevites had the backing of Jehovah to continue in their act of wickedness with His decision not to punish them for what He has also acknowledged as wickedness.
In his message to the Israelites in captivity, sent through Prophet Nahum, Jehovah revealed his decision to bring down Nineveh because of all their wicked acts. His plan was to burn all their chariots, remove all their defenses, render them poor, make them lose all the honour that they hitherto were enjoying and completely devastate their land – Nahum 2:1-3:19. Prophet Nahum revealed that Jehovah had already given an order concerning Nineveh that they will have no descendants, that He will destroy all their idols and that He has prepared graves for them because they are vile – Nahum 1:14.
In letting the exiles know who Jehovah is (Nahum 1:1-7), he encouraged them to celebrate all their festivals and pay their vows as they have assurance from Jehovah that those people classed as wicked will no longer invade their lands since He plans to destroy them completely – Nahum 1:15. Though the Ninevites may have allies that are numerous, He promised to cut them off and they will pass away, promising that He will not afflict them again – Nahum 1:12. He was going to break the yoke on their neck and tear their shackles away. All these actions, Jehovah was determined to take against the Ninevites and on behalf of the Israelites because He cares for those who trust in Him – Nahum 1:7b.
There is so much for the Christian today to take away from this event, not only as it relates to the Israelites but also to the Ninevites.
- Christians need to know that Jehovah may choose to penalise His children for their transgressions but will not allow for the enemy to get away with any act of wickedness against them.
- Christians need to know that Jehovah rewards faithfulness. That He has chosen to penalise His beloved for their transgressions is just His way of expressing His desire to ensure that those He loves do not stray away from His Grace and mercy.
- The Christian must realise that irrespective of the location and the prevailing, all that needs to be done is to sincerely and faithfully call on Him and He will answer. His ears and eyes cover every dot of the earth. Just as He answered the prayers of Jonah whilst in the fish, answered the prayers of the three Hebrews in fire (Dan. 3:16-28), and answered the prayer of Daniel in the Lion’s den (Dan. 6:1-16), He also answered the pleas of the Israelites while they were in captivity in exile.
- The Christian must realise that being used by Jehovah to whip someone back on line is not sufficient reason to mete out wicked acts or use the opportunity to seek vengeance like the Ninevites did as Jehovah will consider such acts as wickedness and He will punish it accordingly.
The Christian in one form of captivity or the other must take to the advise of the psalmist, not to fret when evil people seem to thrive, as according to him, it is that they may be destroyed forever – Psa. 37:7. Such will thus be advised to trust Jehovah and remain faithful to Him as not doing so will be the real reason for the defeat in such situations and not the ability of the confronting situation. Jehovah may have allowed the enemy to restrict your progress and growth just as you may have been displaced from a location you have always known as your comfort zone to another where it is like you are in exile. It is best to remain faithful to Him and ask Him for strength to overcome the situation as that remains the only solution that will assure you success. May God grant us all the ability to remain faithful and trusting of Jehovah in our captivity in Jesus name. Amen.