12 Thus says the Lord,
“Though they are at full strength and many,
they will be cut down and pass away.
Though I have afflicted you,
I will afflict you no more.
13 And now I will break his yoke from off you
and will burst your bonds apart.”
Often we feel as though we are slaves of others. Individuals working for an unreasonable employer has that sense. Students in a class taught by a fearful instructor also has the sense. People living under the political rule of a corrupt monarchy are in a similar position. Each of us, at one time or another and to one degree or another, feel as though we are slaves of someone or something. We long for freedom from our bondage and judgment against our oppressor.
Assyria has been a powerful nation in the Middle East for some time. They have fought against the Hebrews, defeated the northern Kingdom of Israel, and scattered many of them across their empire. Even at the time of Nahum’s prophecy, they were a great, powerful nation, full of strength, with no end in sight. No end except that foretold by Nahum in this proclamation against the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh. Assyria, though powerful and many, will be cut down. They will pass away. And, indeed, this came true.
Now Yahweh enters the picture for the first and only time in the prophecy: “Thus says Yahweh”. The creator, sovereign ruler of the universe confirms the words of His prophet.
The Lord had used the Assyrians to afflict His people just as He had used the Egyptians during the time of Moses. Israel had sinned against Him with their idol worship and God’s punishment was provided through the Assyrians. Now God assures His people this affliction has come to an end. No more will the Assyrians be His instrument for disciplining His people.
And, by defeating this powerful nation, Yahweh breaks the bondage of His people (including those in the southern Kingdom) and has set them free. God and God alone delivers them from their servitude.
You are I are also in bondage and under affliction due to sin. We are captives of our nature and our own disobedience. We are slaves to sin. Sin must be punished, and it will be. God will judge and punish the sinner with eternal judgment and that judgment will place Him in Hell forever. Unless God delivers you from your sin, this is your fate. You will forever be sin’s slave.
Jesus Christ lived without sin and sacrificed His life to ransom those whom God had given to Him. In a sense, God has defeated the enemy (sin) and we can escape eternal affliction by trusting Christ. Will you turn from your sin today and trust the Lord for the salvation of your soul?
If you will then God will deliver you. He will break the yoke and burst the bonds of sin just as He delivered His people.