Behold, upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Keep thy feasts, O Judah, perform thy vows; for the wicked one shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off (Nahum 1:15).
The Assyrian menace had haunted Israel for almost two hundred years. The Assyrians were notorious fighters, renowned for their cruelty. In 732, most of the northern Kingdom of Israel succumbed to their strength. In 722, Samaria was destroyed, and the rest of the northern Kingdom of Israel was ended (cf. 2 Kings 17). By 701, the Assyrians had turned against Judah, and the bloodbath was severe: the fortified cities of Judah destroyed save Jerusalem, spared by God’s intervention (cf. 2 Kings 18-19).
Not long afterward, the Assyrians exiled all of the Israelites out of the northern tribal areas, and imported other people to live there. The Kingdom of Judah, despite escaping with its survival, still had to contend with the existence of the Assyrian power. The Assyrians could come out and make another campaign at any time!
Yet, stunningly, in 621 BCE, the Assyrian Empire was entirely overthrown at the hands of the Medes and Babylonians. Nineveh was destroyed. The Assyrian menace was no more.
Nahum foresees that day and the messenger sent to proclaim the good news to the people of Judah. The great enemy of the people of God has been vanquished! The people can keep their feasts and perform their vows, for the great power that was opposed to them had fallen. One can imagine the festivities and the celebrations that the people of Judah would have enjoyed!
We also have a message of good news that brings peace. There is a menace that has haunted mankind for thousands of years – the menace of sin and death. Almost everyone has fallen prey to sin and death, and they have caused great suffering (Romans 5:12-18, 8:2-9). Yet God has vanquished these enemies through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21-22, 1 Corinthians 15:55-58)! Those who believe in Him and obey His Gospel can share in that victory (John 3:16, 1 Peter 1:22).
Do we consider that message to be good news? Do we now rejoice in our salvation, and seek to do His will, as Judah was to keep its festivals and pay vows? Do we proclaim this message and make it clear for everyone? Are we trying to persuade people to become children of God and gain the victory over sin and death?
In the end, God always vanquishes all that which is opposed to Him. Let us stand with God and not against Him, and proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Christ!
lesson by Ethan R. Longhenry