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“The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pet. 9). Make no mistake – the day of judgment is coming for the wicked. The proud Assyrians may have presumed that God was ignoring their unrighteousness (especially since God was actually using them as an instrument to temporarily discipline His own people), but the awesome all-consuming wrath of the angry avenging God was hanging over their heads about to be poured out on them in His timing. There would be no chance to escape or rise back up. God’s destruction would be intense and complete.

But God’s people can look forward to this day with anticipation of the security they will enjoy as they take refuge in the stronghold of the Good Shepherd. Some preachers today promise “No gloom and doom” in their popularized messages that have been stripped of the severity of God’s wrath and judgment. But it will be “a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). Woe to those prophets who bring a message of “Peace” and “Safety” apart from the good news of the only gospel message that God has promised to honor: “Repent and turn to God” (Acts 26:20) for the forgiveness of sins and the escape from the wrath to come.


A. The Target of God’s Awesome All-Consuming Wrath

“The oracle of Nineveh.”

1. Background of Nineveh = capital of Assyria

2. Message of Book of Jonah

3. One Hundred Year Reprieve due to Repentance

4. Time for Judgment

B. The Prophet Nahum

“The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.”

C. How Do People Tend to Minimize or Underestimate God’s Wrath?

– Falsely dismissing wrath as an attribute only of the God of the OT

– Proudly imagining themselves to be untouchable and secure

– Confusing what seems like Delay in timeframe (from man’s perspective) with avoidance (as if God will not carry out His promises)

– Assuming that there will always be opportunity to repent


A. (:2-3A) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Consistent With His Character

1. (:2) Avenging and Wrathful

a. Passionate in the Execution of Vengeance

“A jealous and avenging God is the Lord;

The Lord is avenging and wrathful.”

b. Purposeful in the Execution of Vengeance

1) Purposeful in His Targets

“The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries,”

2) Purposeful in His Timing

“And He reserves wrath for His enemies.”

2. (:3A) Patient, Powerful, Punishing

a. Patient

“The Lord is slow to anger”

b. Powerful

“and great in power”

c. Punishing

“And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”

Guzik (quoting Spurgeon): God is not like an unjust judge who simply lets the guilty go out of a false sense of compassion. We can’t just figure that God will say, “Let’s let bygones be bygones” when we get to heaven. Sin must be accounted for, because He will not acquit the wicked. Every sin will be paid for – either in hell or at the cross – but God will not acquit the wicked. “Never once has he pardoned an unpunished sin; not in all the years of the Most High, not in all the days of his right hand, has he once blotted out sin without punishment.” (Spurgeon)

B. (:3B-5) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Displayed in Nature

1. Images of a Storm

“In whirlwind and storm is His way,

And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.”

2. Images of Oceans and Rivers

“He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;

He dries up all the rivers.”

3. Images of Forests and Fields

“Bashan and Carmel wither;

The blossoms of Lebanon wither.”

4. Images of Mountains and Hills

“Mountains quake because of Him,

And the hills dissolve”

5. Overall Summary

“Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence,

The world and all the inhabitants in it.”

C. (:6) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Overwhelming in its Devastation

1. (:6A) Two Rhetorical Questions

a. “Who can stand before His indignation?”

b. “Who can endure the burning of His anger?”

2. (:6B) Two Images of Destructive Power

a. Image of Ravaging Fire

“His wrath is poured out like fire.”

b. Image of Blasting Rocks

“And the rocks are broken up by Him.”


A. Security Based on the Lord’s Paternal Goodness

“The Lord is good”

B. Security Based on the Lord’s Powerful Protection

“a stronghold in the day of trouble”

C. Security Based on the Lord’s Personal Shepherding

“And He knows those who take refuge in Him.”

Cf. John 10; Psalm 23


Illustration: Watching movies with my kids, whenever the bad guy was knocked down I always made a point to holler “Finish him off!” There’s nothing I hate more than seeing the bad guy inevitably rise up again to make one last attack on the good guy – especially when it would have been so easy to blast him with another couple of rounds. Here we see that God makes certain that he finishes off the wicked and allows no possibility for a second chance.

A. (:8) Introductory Summary: God Will Make a Complete End of It

1. Inescapable Destruction

“But with an overflowing flood

He will make a complete end of its site.”


i. The overflowing flood was fulfilled both figuratively and literally. “According to secular accounts, during the final siege of Nineveh by a rebel army of Persians, Medes, Arabians, and Babylonians, unusually heavy rains caused the rivers to flood and to undermine the city’s walls, which then collapsed . . . the invading armies entered the city through this breach in its defenses.”

ii. The utter end of its place was also literally fulfilled. “Not only were these people lost from history, even the city was lost until it was discovered by archaeologists, beginning in the 1840’s.”

2. Unrelenting Darkness

“And will pursue His enemies into darkness.”

B. (:9-13) Detailed Description: God Will Make a Complete End of It

1. (:9) No Second Chance for the Wicked to Rise Up and Attack

“Whatever you devise against the Lord,

He will make a complete end of it.

Distress will not rise up twice.”

2. (:10) Images of Destruction of the Worthless

a. Worthless Thorns

“Like tangled thorns,”

b. Worthless Drunks

“And like those who are drunken with their drink,”

c. Worthless Stubble

“They are consumed as stubble completely withered.”

Constable: Tangled (Heb. sebukim) thorns are tough to penetrate, but they are no match for fire. Likewise the Ninevites, as confused as they would be when their city was under attack, would be no match for the consuming fire of Yahweh’s wrath (cf. v. 6). Many of the Ninevites were confused because they were drunk (Heb. sebu’im). Yahweh would destroy them as easily and quickly as fire burned up the dead stalks left in fields after harvest.

Matthew Henry: v. 10. (1.) They are as thorns that entangle one another, and are folded together. They make one another worse, and more inveterate against God and his Israel, harden one another’s hearts, and strengthen one another’s hands, in their impiety; and therefore God will do with them as the husbandman does with a bush of thorns when he cannot part them: he puts them all into the fire together. (2.) They are as drunken men, intoxicated with pride and rage; and such as they shall be irrecoverably overthrown and destroyed. They shall be as drunkards, besotted to their own ruin, and shall stumble and fall, and make themselves a reproach, and be justly laughed at. (3.) They shall be devoured as stubble fully dry, which is irresistibly and irrecoverably consumed by the flame. The judgments of God are as devouring fire to those that make themselves as stubble to them.

3. (:11-13) Deliverance of God’s People by the Destruction of Their Enemies

a. (:11) Perversity of Wicked Adversary

“From you has gone forth one who plotted evil against the Lord,

A wicked counselor.”

Contrast: Wonderful Counselor – Is. 9:6

b. (:12A) Impotence of Their Strength and Numbers

“Thus says the Lord,

Though they are at full strength and likewise many,

Even so, they will be cut off and pass away.”

Stedman: God’s anger was all directed against this pagan king who deliberately plotted to destroy the people, after God had visited his city with grace and had saved them from his anger. Verse 12 refers to the visit of the angel of death when Sennacherib came down with his armies before Jerusalem. In Isaiah, chapters 36 and 37, you have the description of how the Assyrian armies came down and spread out before the city of Jerusalem. Then with taunting challenges to King Hezekiah, they told him they were going to take the city and that there was no strength that could stand against them. Isaiah tells us how Hezekiah took these messages and spread them before the Lord and asked God to save the city, even with the armies of Assyria surrounding it. And that night, we are told, the angel of death went through the Assyrian hosts and slew 185,000 soldiers. (Is. 37:36) That is referred to in verses 12-13:

c. (:12B) Reversal of Lord’s Discipline of His People

“Though I have afflicted you,

I will afflict you no longer.”

d. (:13) Complete Deliverance from Captivity and Bondage

“So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you,

And I will tear off your shackles.”

C. (:14) Concluding Summary: God Will Make a Complete End of It

1. Divine Decree

“The Lord has issued a command concerning you:”

2. Stripping Away Any Legacy

“Your name will no longer be perpetuated.”

3. Smashing All False Idols

“I will cut off idol and image from the house of your gods.”

4. Dooming Their Destiny

“I will prepare your grave,”

5. Despising Their Depravity

“For you are contemptible.”

Constable: The Lord also promised to destroy Nineveh’s idols and remove them from their temples. The Assyrians often carried off the idols of the nations they conquered to demonstrate the superiority of their gods over those of the conquered, as did other ancient Near Eastern nations (cf. 1 Sam. 5). The conquering Medes, however, despised idolatry and did away with multitudes of images that existed in Nineveh. Yahweh would prepare Nineveh’s grave since He would bury the contemptible city. It was a great curse in the ancient Near East to have no descendants, and it was a great humiliation to have no gods, but both fates would befall Nineveh.


(Good transition verse – could be taken with the beginning of the next section as well.)

A. Security Needs to Be Trumpeted Throughout the World

“Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news.

Who announces peace!”

Is. 52:7; Rom. 10:15

Guzik: Isaiah 52:7 uses a similar expression, but Isaiah marvels at the beauty of the feet of him who brings good news. Nahum would certainly agree, because those who bring good tidings have beautiful feet; they partner with God for the salvation of men. The feet speak of activity, motion, and progress, and those who are active and moving in the work of preaching the gospel have beautiful feet.

B. Security Needs to Be Celebrated From a Heart of Thanksgiving and Obedience

“Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows.”

C. Security Needs to Be Confident in Eternal Security

“For never again will the wicked one pass through you;

He is cut off completely.”