祈禱: 求神助我不看世界的浮誇, 等候那座有根基的城，就是神所經營所建造的。(來十一10)
PRAYER: Oh Lord, help me not to look at the splendor of this world, but to look forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. (Hebrews 11:10)
SCRIPTURE READING: Nahum 2:1-13
INSIGHT: Niniveh was the most important city in the ancient Assyrian empire. The ruins of Niniveh are marked by two mounds on the eastern bank of the Tigris River (on the other side of the city of Mosul in modern northern Iraq). It was surrounded by tall city walls and moats, the Royal Palace had more than 70 rooms, and the outer wall was almost three kilometers long. Charred carvings were left on the wall, which recorded the various battles and other feats. But most of them have been damaged. During an excavation, a well-preserved room was found. The relief displayed on the wall depicts a fortified city captured by the enemy. The king sitting on a throne outside the city, and the captives marching in front of him. An inscription above the seated figure of the king read: “Sennacherib, the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of judgment, before (or at the entrance of) the city of Lachish (Lakhisha). I give permission for its slaughter”.
In the days of Nahum, no one but the prophets of the Lord prophesied that the most prosperous capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire would be destroyed as “The chariots race madly in the streets, they rush wildly in the squares, their appearance like torches, they dash to and fro like lightning flashes…she is emptied, desolate and waste.” (v. 4, 10). Subsequent developments show that these prophecies were fully fulfilled. In 612 BC, the Babylonians, Scythians and Medes besieged the city of Niniveh. They broke through the line of defense and rushed wildly into the city walls as a flash flood. The chronicles of the king of Babylon, Nabopolassar said: “[They destroyed] the city, and made it a ruin [a ruined city].”
The Prophet Nahum draws attention to the fact that the fall of Nineveh was not the result of a war, but a punishment for the brutal imperialistic regime that had been rampant for centuries. The capture of Nineveh was a direct result of the city’s wickedness, and should not have given the people a pleasant feeling, nor was it worth celebrating. Nahum pointed out sharply that the incident was because the Lord of Hosts declared: “Behold, I am against you!” (v. 13) The brutality of man inevitably leads to the opposition of God.
The fall of Nineveh reminds us that all the signs of human great power and self-confidence is fragile and will not last. Any fortress, castle, or system that gives people a sense of security, can crumble under pressure, especially when it is weakened by the erosion of violence. And the greater the glory before its failure, the deeper the fall after it collapses.
Nahum reminds us that human pride and strength are actually very fragile. He suggests that we must seek a city that is more lasting than Niniveh.
by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung