About 150 years earlier, God had sent Jonah to deliver His warning to Nineveh. When the city repented, God held back His hand of judgment. Now ''the burden of Nineveh'' was laid upon Nahum's heart by God, and his prophecy graphically foretells the complete desolation of that people who oppressed the Jews. The destruction came 100 years later, when God, in His holiness, dealt harshly with the sin of Nineveh.
The great truths of the book of Nahum, for believers today, are its descriptions of God's character and power, for they depict the character and power of Jesus Christ. Few Old Testament books give us as much information on this subject as Nahum. The key verse of the prophecy is, ''The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked'' (Nahum 1:3).
The same God that caused the wind to blow in Jonah's story would, one day, pick up the elements of nature and hurl them upon wicked Nineveh.
We have lost much of the Old Testament concept of God. A great tragedy may come into our midst, and yet there is no repentance. An epidemic may sweep over the land, and yet no one turns to God. On every hand, we see the works of the Lord in the affairs of men.
Little do we realize how much God has intervened in the control of this and other nations. The changing of the wind at the battle of Gettysburg turned the tide, sparing the union and eventually delivering the land from slavery. The psalmist declared, ''He commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind'' (Psalm 107:25). Napoleon challenged the world and God, saying, ''The Lord is on the side of the heaviest artillery.'' But it was the tiny snowflake that stopped his forward march and brought him to defeat. ''Fire and hail; snow and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling His word'' (Psalm 148:8).
A century after Nahum's prophecy, God turned loose His elements, and Nineveh fell to the armies of the Medes. The remains of that city were just a matter of conjecture until 1841, when the spade of the archeologist uncovered it, and the Bible story was confirmed.
When a known criminal is pardoned, something is desperately wrong with either the law or the administration of it. For God to show clemency to man would indicate the same flaw. Yet, He is a God of mercy and love. How could He be just, and yet be the the justifier of the sinner? The answer is found in the divine Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ. John said, ''Behold the Lamb of God!'' (John 1:29). Here was One who was both an acceptable and ''willing substitute.''
Plato once said to Socrates, ''God may forgive a deliberate sin, but I do not see how He can do it.'' I do! Some 300 years later, the apostle John wrote, ''The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin'' (1John 1:7). The songwriter has written,
- I do not understand how it can be
- That even God could save a soul like me;
- But this I know, and in that surety hide,
- I only know that Christ the Savior died.