The Assyrians weren’t nice folks. Although they weren’t the first to invent the idea, they perfected (at least for their day) the strategy of terrorism. Their kings’ throne room was decorated with what could only be described as super-Goth: decapitations, impalements, gory scenes of conquest, ghastly scenes of leading captives away by hooks — all in bas relief. The purpose, to impress on every visitor (ambassadors from any part of the world) what the Assyrians had done and were capable of if you and your people don’t surrender and obey. They were going to be the rod of God anger against the northern kingdom of Israel, but their zealous cruelty would not be overlooked by the Lord, who still cared about His people.
The guilty will no be left unpunished
This was God way of telling both Israel and Assyria that they weren’t the powerful ones — it was God. That both their sins would be addressed. Israel would be punished by Assyrian’s army and exile. But Assyria would be punished by their crushing defeat and erasure: “The LORD has issued a command concerning you: ‘Your name will no longer be perpetuated. I will cut off idol and image From the house of your gods. I will prepare your grave, For you are contemptible.’” Nahum 1:14, NAS95..
There would be no strategy to avoid it: “Whatever you devise against the LORD, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.” Nahum 1:9, NAS95.
There would be no numbers to overwhelm God: “Thus says the LORD, “Though they (Assyria) are at full strength and likewise many, Even so, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you (Israel), I will afflict you no longer.” Nahum 1:12, NAS95.
No matter how powerful they would be, God would defeat them: ““Behold, I am against you,” declares the LORD of hosts. “I will burn up her chariots in smoke, a sword will devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the land, and no longer will the voice of your messengers be heard.”” Nahum 2:13, NAS95.
No matter how much glorified history was behind her, Assyria would be taken down: “Are you better than No-amon (Egypt), Which was situated by the waters of the Nile, With water surrounding her, Whose rampart was the sea, Whose wall consisted of the sea? Ethiopia was her might, And Egypt too, without limits. Put and Lubim were among her helpers. Yet she became an exile, She went into captivity; Also her small children were dashed to pieces At the head of every street; They cast lots for her honorable men, And all her great men were bound with fetters. You too will become drunk, You will be hidden. You too will search for a refuge from the enemy.” Nahum 3:8-11, NAS95.
And the take-away for us?
No matter how “bad” (to use the vernacular of the streets for toughness) you think you might be, you won’t defeat God. Period. Assyria thought that they were pretty “bad”, and the “badder” they were the more invulnerable they thought they were. No one is “badder” than Hell. No one is greater than God — even Satan has found this out. Obey the Lord rather than butt heads with Him — you’ll always lose, always. Obey the Lord rather than butt heads with Him — you’ll be eternally glad you did.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.