Today: [Nahum 2] God of Battles: In chapter 2 of Nahum we have an eloquent example of the God we serve, described as a God of battles. There are things in the earth that provoke God Himself to move into the affairs of men as a general directing armies to bring about the victory of His kingdom. You and I are a part of that initiative, as we look into Nahum 2 and apply its imagery to the warfare of the believer.
[Nah 2:1-13 KJV] 1 He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make [thy] loins strong, fortify [thy] power mightily. 2 For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches. 3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men [are] in scarlet: the chariots [shall be] with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. 4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings. 5 He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared. 6 The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved. 7 And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead [her] as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts. 8 But Nineveh [is] of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, [shall they cry]; but none shall look back. 9 Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for [there is] none end of the store [and] glory out of all the pleasant furniture. 10 She is empty, and void, and waste: and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and much pain [is] in all loins, and the faces of them all gather blackness. 11 Where [is] the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, [even] the old lion, walked, [and] the lion’s whelp, and none made [them] afraid? 12 The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin. 13 Behold, I [am] against thee, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions: and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.
Chapter 2 of Nahum depicts the hand of God moving against the city of Nineveh and the empire of Assyria in graphic detail. Battle, and warfare are themes intrinsic in the scriptural narrative, not abating at all in the sublimity of the New Testament narrative. A biblical perspective of the character of God includes an understanding that He is a God of battles. The term “Lord of Hosts” or “God of Armies” is found over 230 times throughout the scriptures. Ex. 15:3 declares in unambiguous language the militancy of the God we serve:
[Exo 15:3 KJV] 3 The LORD [is] a man of war: the LORD [is] his name.
In Joshua 10:11 during the conquest of Canaan we see that God Himself went into battle with the armies of Israel, hurling great stones from heaven down upon the opposing armies of the Canaanites. In Psalm 18:13-16 David depicts God moving with great forces in the earth to deliver him (and us) from the troubles (many waters) we find ourselves in at times:
[Psa 18:13-16 KJV] 13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail [stones] and coals of fire. 14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. 15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. 16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
When we read of Nineveh and Assyria, they are a metaphor, a type and shadow of the anti-Christ. In Micah 5:5 and Nah. 1:11 the anti-Christ that shall come is referred to as “the Assyrian”. Assyria was a world empire that existed before the Babylonians, and oppressed the southern kingdom and took the northern kingdom and the 10 tribes other than Judah and Levi into captivity from whence they never returned as a contiguous people. The first part of the chapter here portrays Assyria as being used by God to punish Israel for her sins, but that does not exclude the Assyrian empire from being destroyed for its corrupt and evil policies and pagan practices.
It is an important point to make note of that God works His will in the midst of nations, peoples, and leaders, whom He nonetheless ultimately brings to judgment for their godlessness. In Jeremiah 25:9 Babylon is called the servant of God, yet in Rev. 18:20 her downfall is cause for rejoicing among the apostles and prophets. Isa. 45:1 calls Cyrus the anointed of God, yet the Persian empire in the course of history was allowed by divine sovereignty to be displaced by Alexander the Great. The lesson for us is this; that God is sovereign, and as Psalm 66:7 declares, He rules among the nations, even those rebellious to the kingdom in order to bring about His dread purposes.
Though Nineveh is a great city, and considered at the time to be impregnable, yet verse 8 declares that its armies will flee in terror before the armies that God will send (eventually, Babylon overthrew Assyria) to bring about its destruction. All of this, Nahum records after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel with Samaria as its capital, just a few years before the fall of Assyria and the disappearance of its empire from the narrative of history. Verse 11 describes the city of Nineveh as the a lion’s den filled with the bones of her prey, now left desolate by the hand of God, even though God allowed this very empire to take His own people into captivity as a consequence of her sins.
In describing Assyria as a pride of lions, grinding the bones of the nations in her den, we are reminded of the teachings of Peter, comparing Satan himself as a predator, seeking to devour mankind:
[1Pe 5:8 KJV] 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
As God brought Assyria to her ruin, even so he works through human instrumentality to defeat Satan and all his strategies. We tend to look to God to do all the work, but over and over in the New Testament we are admonished to understand that even in spiritual warfare against Satan himself, God works THROUGH us and not just FOR US in the defeat of our ancient enemy. To this fact, the apostle Paul attests in the clearest of terms:
[Eph 6:12-18 KJV] 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
How do we defeat the enemy as the passage above enjoins us? Verse 18 sums it up: by praying always with all supplication in the Spirit, watching with all perseverance (in prayer) and supplication for all saints. Our prayers constitute warfare against the forces of Satan in the earth. Satan is effectively resisted and stymied in his efforts to destroy mankind by our prayer. We may feel at times weak and ineffective, but if we are to believe the report of scripture, it is on our knees that we defeat the greatest of enemies, even Satan himself as a persevere in watchfulness, praying with all supplication as the Lord Himself rains down resistance upon the devil and his principalities in response to faith filled prayer and intercession.
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