What sorrow awaits Nineveh, the city of murder and lies! She is crammed with wealth and is never without victims. Hear the crack of whips, the rumble of wheels! Horses’ hooves pound, and chariots clatter wildly. See the flashing swords and glittering spears as the charioteers charge past! There are countless casualties, heaps of bodies—so many bodies that people stumble over them. All this 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.
“I am your enemy!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “And now I will lift your skirts and show all the earth your nakedness and shame. I will cover you with filth and show the world how vile you really are. All who see you will shrink back and say, ‘Nineveh lies in ruins. Where are the mourners?’ Does anyone regret your destruction?”
Are you any better than the city of Thebes, situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water? She was protected by the river on all sides, walled in by water. Ethiopia and the land of Egypt gave unlimited assistance. The nations of Put and Libya were among her allies. Yet Thebes fell, and her people were led away as captives. (Nahum 3:1-10a)
Nineveh had used her beauty, prestige, and power to seduce other nations. Like a harlot, she had enticed them into false friendships. Then when the other nations relaxed, thinking Assyria was a friend, Assyria destroyed and plundered them. Beautiful and impressive on the outside, Nineveh was vicious and deceitful on the inside.
Thebes was a city in Egypt, the previous world power, which stood in the path of Assyria’s expansion in the south. The Assyrians conquered Thebes 51 years before this prophecy was given. To Judah, surrounded to the north and south by Assyria, the situation appeared hopeless. But God said that the same atrocities committed in Thebes would happen in Nineveh.
No power on earth can protect us from God’s judgment or be a suitable substitute for his power in our lives. Thebes and Assyria put their trust in alliances and military power, but history would show that these were inadequate.
Beneath beautiful facades sometimes lie seduction and death. Don’t let an attractive institution, company, movement, or person seduce you into compromising your moral principles. Ask God for the wisdom to stand for truth.