God proclaims the surety of judgment on the city of Nineveh. He begins by calling them out for their sins. They were an incredibly violent people (comparable today to ISIS). God calls them a city of blood – or a blood-thirsty city. He speaks about their victims, their lies, and even the plunder that testified to God of their violence. He predicts the terror in the city and the devastation that would come. Finally, God points out that all of this was due to the unbridled lust of the city and its association with the occult. He uses vivid imagery to tell them just how bad things were going to be.
God next pointed their attention to Thebes (a city Assyria destroyed). The judgment of Nineveh was sure because of what God had done to Thebes. In his sovereignty, God can use anyone to accomplish his purposes. God’s point is that Thebes had every conceivable advantage, and yet the city fell. In like fashion, God was about to bring down the city of Nineveh.
The surety of Nineveh’s judgement was despite her strength. There is no stopping God from what he intends to do. They may make many preparations to last out a siege, but God is in control! Nothing can stay his hand. Their strength would melt away; their leaders would flee; even their many numbers would disappear. When God was through, Nineveh would be no more.
God is angry against sin. Nineveh had repented in the days of Jonah and God spared the city. Yet, in the days of Nahum, there would be no salvation for the city. Today, God is likewise angry against human sin. Jesus told the people of his day that it would be more tolerable in the day of judgment of the people of Nineveh than for them. The people in Jonah’s day repented, but when Jesus came (though he is greater than Jonah), the people refused to repent (Matthew 12:41).
God hates sin and will punish it in his time. People have an opportunity to repent. God doesn’t want to punish people, he wants them to trust in his son, Jesus. In speaking of the surety of Nineveh’s judgment, God not only encourages his people, but challenges them (and us) to repent of their (and our) sin, before it is too late.