1395. How Quickly Things Change

Things can quickly change when sin goes unchecked.

 

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

The Reluctant Prophet

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and how the reluctant prophet eventually obeyed God and the entire city of Nineveh repented and avoided certain judgment. As revivals, or better, awakenings go, it appeared to be a stellar success.

But how long did the apparent change of heart last? Not very long. A mere 38 years later, Assyria, under Sargon II, destroyed Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel and scattered the ten tribes throughout the Assyrian Empire.

Only Twenty Years

Twenty years later, under the leadership of Sennacherib, Assyria nearly captured Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. God’s intervention (Isaiah 37:36) gave Judah a reprieve, but the strength and savagery of the Assyrians kept Judah in a constant state of fear.

Mighty Nineveh

Nineveh became the mightiest city on earth with walls 100 feet high and wide enough to accommodate three chariots riding abreast. Dotted around the walls were huge towers that rose an additional 100 feet above the top of the walls. Surrounding the walls was a moat 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep. Nineveh appeared impregnable and could withstand a 20-year siege.

Nahum’s Absurd Claims

This is why the claims of an obscure prophet named Nahum seemed absurd. He came on the scene in Judah about 40 years after Judah’s encounter with Sennacherib’s army. Assyria was at its peak, and Nahum was prophesying the downfall of the entire Assyrian Empire.

Nahum was Right

As unlikely as it seemed, a mere 40 years later, Nineveh fell, exactly as Nahum predicted—with on overflowing flood (Nahum 1:8). The Tigris River overflowed its banks, and the flood destroyed part of Nineveh’s wall. The Babylonians invaded through the breach, plundered the city, and set it on fire.

Nahum also predicted that the once-great city would “be hidden” (Nahum 3:11). After its destruction in 612 B.C. the site was leveled to nearly nothing. The remaining ruins were not discovered until 1842, nearly 2500 years later!  A mere 73 years after Nineveh fell, the mighty Babylonian Empire suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Persian King Cyrus who used the Euphrates River to penetrate Babylon’s massive walls.

AS I SEE IT

A Pattern Emerges

Throughout Scripture we see a pattern of unexpected decline happening quickly. The reforms and positive steps taken by Judah’s good kings were undone when their sons came to power. The reigns of Hezekiah and his son, Manasseh are prime examples. When Paul wrote his letter to the church at Ephesus, this group of believers was on fire for the Lord. Revelation 2 reveals that 30 years later the church had left its first love.

My point is that sin can spread rapidly when God is ignored or rejected. Look at what has happened to our nation. Yet, Jesus’ prophecies regarding His Church offer hope for our future, and that’s where our focus needs to be as things are crumbling around us. What’s more, the quickest change ever also awaits Christ’s followers. It will happen in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52). No matter how bad things get, remember how quickly things change.

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