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Nahum's Nightmare

The Shortest Stories

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Series Intro: The Bible tells one big story about how God created and is redeeming the world from the brokenness of sin and death. But this story comes to us in many different parts—many different books and chapters—some of which are short and neglected. In this series, we’re paying careful attention to these shortest stories to learn the lessons for faith that they have for us.

It’s bad enough that we remember of cringe worthy moments while we’re awake. But our subconscious often drags our mistakes into our nightmares as well. And it’s not hard to imagine biblical characters having similar experiences—especially those people and nations who were confronted with their mistakes by the prophets of Israel.

A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade. The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.  Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness. Whatever they plot against the Lord he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time.  They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble. From you, Nineveh, has one come forth who plots evil against the Lord and devises wicked plans. This is what the Lord says: “Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be destroyed and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, Judah, I will afflict you no more. Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.” The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh: “You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the images and idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile.” Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed. (Nahum 1 NIV)

Nahum’s Context

  • Old Testament prophecy is poetic and context-heavy and often difficult to discern.
  • Nineveh was the capital (and largest city) of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which controlled much of the Ancient Near East during the 8th and 7th centuries BCE.
  • Jonah preached repentance in Nineveh in about the year 760 BCE.
  • Less than a generation later, Nineveh’s armies wiped the Northern Kingdom of Israel off the map with their brutal defeat of the city of Samaria and depopulation of the northern Israel.
  • About a generation after that is when Nahum again came to Nineveh with a message from the Lord Almighty.

Nahum’s Message: Nineveh is going to face YHWH’s judgment

Questions Raised by Nahum’s Message

  • Q1: Who is this God?
  • A1: An avenger and refuge
  • Q2: Why does God judge those opposed to Him?
  • A2: Moral failings (as known by natural revelation) and idolatry


  • Natural revelation, pay attention to it.
  • Avoid idolatry.
  • HUmbly resist judgementalism.
  • Make the Lord your refuge.

For Reflection

  • How does today’s passage resonate with how you think people should live?
  • How does today’s passage challenge your expectations?
  • How can you dig deeper into today’s message?
  • How can you put today’s message into practice in your own life?

Recommended Resources

Take Your Next Steps

Remember: Jesus loves you right where you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there.