The above two words are the last words in the short prophecy of Nahum we read this morning. His three chapters are “an oracle concerning Nineveh” (1:1). You will remember that Jonah reluctantly went there, but they responded to his preaching of warning that in “forty days” they would be destroyed because of their wickedness, but later they failed to maintain their repentance.
We know very little of Nahum, but his knowledge of Nineveh leads us to think he was probably one of those taken there when they overthrew the northern kingdom. He writes out this vision he has from God of his coming judgements on Nineveh.
“the LORD is a jealous and avenging God” (1:2)
Nahum describes Nineveh as a city of blood (3:1)
“and I will make nations look at your nakedness … I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt … and say, wasted is Nineveh” (verses 5-7)
culminating in his final words about the “unceasing evil” there.
The history of the world over the last 2,000 years is rather like Nineveh. It at first repented and turned from idols to serve the living God and accept the message of Christ, a message that came to dominant human thought in the first three centuries.
“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power”
“will by no means clear the guilty” (1:3).
That has been the experience of Christianity, and for nearly 2,000 years God has been slow to anger, but now, what “faith” is left in the earth? Jesus questioned whether there would be any (Luke 18:8)!
Finally, Nahum also received a more distant vision. He wrote
“Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him (Jesus and his followers) who bring good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts O Judah; fulfil your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you” (1:15).
When these days of “unceasing evil” finally bring God’s judgements, then those who look for hope in God’s word will have their belief and faith rewarded; may we, by God’s grace, be there!