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Chinese11/20/2006English
經文:那鴻書第一、二章
鑰節:「耶和華不輕易發怒,大有能力。」(1:3上)
提要

        那鴻書一開始就在討論上帝的聖潔、全能和公義。祂是一位忌邪的上帝(出於公義的要求),必定保護祂的聖名。但亞述卻驕傲地嘲弄上帝的名,他們不但是上帝百姓的仇敵,更是上帝的仇敵(1:9、11)。那鴻說上帝要發烈怒施報,無人當得起(1:2、6、9)。不過,先知並不想讓他的讀者誤以為上帝會輕易發怒,像人一樣,故解釋道:「耶和華不輕易發怒」(1:3)。真正的刑罰要等好幾年後才發生,但上帝必定要公平地懲罰他們的罪。

        那鴻一直要人了解,上帝並非只會發怒行審判,祂其實是美善的,要成為信靠祂之人的保障。只是尼尼微人不信上帝,卻倚靠他們城牆的堅固。一個半世紀之前,他們相信了約拿的話,向上帝悔改過去的惡行,也願服事上帝,但現在卻已忘記上帝,再度變成一個邪惡、殘酷又會壓迫別人的國家。

        那鴻驚人地預測,尼尼微要被「漲溢的洪水淹沒」(1:8)。果然,尼尼微是因底格里斯河,突然間洪水暴發淹沒了兩岸,造成城牆坍塌,宮殿的根基被沖毀(2:6)而敗亡。米底亞和巴比倫的軍隊,藉著城牆巨大的裂口而攻進尼尼微。在上帝的干預下,這些入侵的軍隊攻佔了這座城,高大而堅厚的城牆一點也不能保護他們。

        尼尼微作惡的下場是很好的教訓。他們公然蔑視以色列的上帝,設計謀攻擊耶和華的百姓。許多尼尼微人以為他們的城池無懈可擊,但上帝仍戰勝他們。因尼尼微的敗落,上帝要放開祂的百姓頸上那個亞述的重軛,讓這個國家一蹶不振。上帝雖用亞述去懲罰祂的百姓,但痛苦終將結束(1:12~13;參賽10:5~12)。百姓要在猶大的山頂上,傳報尼尼微敗亡的「好消息」。所有的聖殿中祭禮都可恢復正常,這是「雅各的榮華」(2:2)。尼尼微不再到猶大來收賦稅,壓榨百姓(百姓已「空虛」「毀壞」了。2:2),因為尼尼微已「滅絕淨盡了」(1:15)。那鴻還很諷刺地要尼尼微好好準備打仗(2:1),那些穿紅袍的軍隊(米底亞--巴比倫;參結23:14),要在城中的街道急行(2:3~4)。亞述王要招聚精選的衛士上陣,但卻要「步行絆跌」,無力抵抗(2:5)。一位歷史學家說他們都喝醉了,根本不能抵禦從塌陷的城牆攻進來的巴比倫軍。尼尼微的居民不但沒有協助防備,反而紛紛逃亡,而且在半途被擄獲。尼尼微如何待別人,也遭受相同的報應。他們雖一度像猛獅,而今要完全從地上消失掉。幾百年來,人們走過這座城的遺址,卻渾然不知昔日美麗的水池,竟埋在他們的腳下(2:8上、11~12)。這些事為何會發生呢?因為上帝自己起來攻擊他們的罪,要把那有罪的國從地上完全滅絕(摩9:8)。

禱告

        主啊!無倫我們建構什麼雄偉堅固的營壘,都不能使我們躲避您公義的審判。但感謝您,當我們悔改認罪時,您的名要成為堅固的塔台,義人奔入便得安穩。奉主耶穌基督的名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Nahum 1&2
Key Verse:"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked."(Nahum l:3a)
Overview

        Nahum begins his prophecy by discussing the holiness, omnipotence, and righteousness of God. As a jealous God (zealous for righteousness), He will protect His holy name, but the Assyrians in their pride had mocked Him, and because they were enemies of His people, they were also His enemies. They conspired evil against the Lord (1:9,11). Nahum describes God's furious vengeance, which will be irresistible (1:2, 6, 9). The prophet, however, does not want his readers to think that God is quick-tempered, like man, so he explains that "the Lord is slow to anger" (1:3). The actual fulfillment of this prophecy was not to happen for many years, but Nahum asserts that it would indeed come, for God's justice demands that He punish their sin.

        Nahum wants the people to understand that God is not only a God of wrath and judgment, but He is good and a tower of strength to those who trust in Him. The people of Nineveh, however, did not put their trust in the Lord. They rather trusted in their highly fortified city. A century and a half earlier, under the ministry of Jonah, the people of Nineveh had repented of their wickedness and served God, but now they had forgotten God and once again became the most wicked, cruel, and oppressive nation.

        With an amazing prophecy, Nahum predicts that God would cause an "overflowing flood" and bring Nineveh to ruin (1:8). Historical records show that the fall of Nineveh came because the Tigris River suddenly overflowed its banks ("the gates of the rivers are opened"), and this caused the walls of the city to collapse and the foundations of the palace to fall apart (2:6). At the same time, the armies of the Medes and Babylonians came against Nineveh and entered through the breach in the wall. Nineveh's walls were very high and thick, so her many citizens thought they were safe, but with the Lord's intervention, the invading army would overtake the city.

        Nahum gives an example of the wickedness of Nineveh. They had defied the God of Israel and conspired against Him by subjugating His people. The many inhabitants of Nineveh thought they were invincible, but the Lord would prevail against them. With the fall of Nineveh and their king, the Lord would break the Assyrian yoke off the necks of His people, and that nation would pass away. Although the Lord had used Assyria to chastise His people, this source of chastisement would end (1:12-13; cf. Isa. 10:5-12). The "good tidings" that would be shouted from the hilltops of Judah would be about the fall of Nineveh. At that time the rituals at the Temple in Jerusalem would be able to return to normal. This is the "excellence of Jacob" which shall be restored (2:2). The Assyrians would no longer go through Judah to collect taxes and oppress the people ("empty them out and ruin their vine branches", 2:2), for Nineveh would be "utterly cut off" (1:15). With an ironic twist, Nahum calls upon the Ninevites to prepare themselves for battle (2:1), for the great army garbed in red (Medo- Babylonian; cf. Ezek. 23:14) will come against them, and they will race through the streets of the city (2:3-4). The king will call upon his select guard (his "worthies") to defend the city, but they would "stumble in their walk" (2:5). One ancient historian tells that they were all drunk at the time the Babylonian army broke through the collapsed wall. Rather than helping to defend their city, the inhabitants would flee in fear, but they would be caught and led away captive. The very things the Ninevites had done to other peoples would be done to them. All the vast amounts of spoil they had taken from other cities would be taken from her, and Nineveh would be made desolate. The city that was once as feared as a dwelling of lions would disappear off the face of the earth. For centuries people walked over the tel of Nineveh, not even aware that the ancient and once beautiful "pool of water" was buried beneath their feet (2:8a, 11-12). Why did this happen to Nineveh? God Himself was against her because of her sinfulness against Him. Any nation that persists in wickedness is sure to face the judgment of the Lord (Amos 9:8).

Prayer

        Lord, we know that no matter how mighty a fortress or shelter we might try to build around ourselves, it cannot protect us from Your judgment of sin. But thank You that as we repent and turn to You, we are assured that Your name is a strong tower, and the righteous run into it and are safe (Pr. 18:10).


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