Restorer and Destroyer.
“Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah, the Lord will restore its honor. Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches, but he will restore its splendor.” – Nahum 3:2 NLT
This short, prophetic book was written to encourage the people of Judah who were facing possible annihilation at the hands of the Assyrians. They had watched their neighbor to the north, Israel, fall to the Assyrians, and now the enemy was coming against them. Assyria was more powerful and had a track record of success when it came to conquering nations. Judah was a small country with a relatively small army and few allies. They were no match for the Assyrians. Even the Assyrians knew that. Listen to the words of the Assyrian emissary as he taunted King Hezekiah. “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s charioteers?” (Isaiah 36:8-9 NLT). This was a classic mismatch with a certain outcome. But there was one thing the Assyrians had not considered. In fact, they had underestimated its importance. They had miscalculated the presence and power of God. They mocked God and downplayed His ability to do anything to stop them. The Assyrian emissary warned the people, “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?” (Isaiah 36:18 NLT).
But Nahum assures the people that God is not one to be overlooked, mocked or made light of. God was going to destroy the destroyer. He was going to bring complete destruction on the nation of Assyria. Why? “…because Nineveh, the beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere” (Nahum 3:4 NLT). This was not just about Nineveh’s treatment of Israel and Judah. As the most powerful nation of that day, the Assyrians had had a tremendous influence on all the nations. Their military successes had spread their culture all over the known world. With it came their pagan practices and idol worship. They had spread their unrighteousness and moral corruption around the world. Now they were spreading it among the people of God. And God had had enough. The destroyer was about to meet the Destroyer. The Assyrians had become the enemies of God – not a good place to be. And God was going to bring His own brand of destruction and devastation on the people of Assyria. God is righteous and just. He is fully aware of all the injustice going on in the world. He is not blind, asleep or impotent. He is waiting to mete out judgment in His own time. He will one day deal with injustice and humble all those who lust for conquest, practice violence and brutality to dominate others, abuse their power, oppress the weak, worship anything but Him, or seek help from the demonic world.
But at the same time, the Destroyer is also the Restorer. He will restore what Assyria and nations like it have tried to destroy. He is in the restoration business. Jesus Himself said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT). The enemy is always out to destroy. He wants to steal our joy, kill our hope, and destroy our future. But God restores. He gives back what the enemy tries to take away. He brings life where the enemy attempts to bring death. Assyria was a great power. But it was no match for a great God. Nineveh no longer exists. It had its fifteen minutes of fame. It’s day of glory ended in destruction at the hands of the Medes and the Babylonians. And those nations would meet their own destruction. Because ultimately, God is the one who is in control. He is the Destroyer and the Restorer. He rules over nations, kings, presidents, armies, dictators, juntas, terrorists, and even democracies. He alone is God. He alone is in charge. And while the enemy may be busy destroying, God will always be about restoring.
Father, thank You for the reminder. You are in charge. There is no enemy too big for You to handle. Nothing is ever out of your control, no matter how badly it may appear to us. Never let us forget that even when the enemy does destroy our joy, our hope, our health, our homes – You can restore. You can rebuild. You can make new. You can bring life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men