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You Are Vile

by David Johnson

DavidJohnson(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


Good morning, listeners. The lesson is entitled, “You are Vile.” The study text for this lesson is found in the Old Testament in the book of Nahum chapter one verse 11 and following. “From you, oh Nineveh, has one come forth who plots evil against the Lord and counsels wickedness. This is what the Lord says. Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be cut off and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, oh Judah, I will afflict you no more. Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away. The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh. You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile.”

That is a scary thought to have almighty God say that of anyone of us. You are vile.
You see, in Jonah’s day God spared and forgave the Ninevites upon genuine repentance. But about 150 years later God’s judgment fell upon them because of their return and repeated cruelty and total moral corruption. Many empires and nations have had reputations for brutality. But few have been as vile and violent as the Assyrians. And Nineveh was the capital and center of that empire. And God said, “Enough. You are history. Your empire has ended.” Evil is always punished if not repented of. And there is no escaping God.

Now there is an application to us as a nation, as a people, as individuals. We must, it is mandatory that we repent, change our minds, change our ways and turn to the Lord, because there is no escaping the Lord.   God said, “I will prepare your grave.” Literally the Babylonians and the Medes dug Nineveh’s grave in 612 BC. They became dirt. Nineveh was never rebuilt. It is in the dust heap of history. It is only a has been.

God had three basic charges against Nineveh to which we will make application even to America. In Nahum chapter three listen to the first charge of God against this vile and violent people beginning in verse one of chapter three.

Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims. The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots, charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears. Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses. What a terrible picture. Nineveh was a city of blood, lies, plunder, never without victims, just a terrible vile, a vileness and violence on a level that screamed, that called out to God. Archaeologists have uncovered the dark art depicting Assyrian soldiers dismembering live captives and other vile, violent scenes, which was art to the Ninevites, but atrocities to God. They used terror tactics. They enslaved and enforced tribute and heavy taxes and otherwise they enjoyed having blood on their hands and their sins stretched to hell.

By application today in America reportedly we are among the very worst, a violent societies of the advanced nations on the earth today. Violence on the streets. I remember going to a Christian seminar some years ago and I was shocked at an announcement at the beginning of the seminar warning us not to leave any valuables in plain sight in cars, in our cars because the windows would be shattered and items stolen. And anyone trying to interfere would be attacked and the police would not arrive in time to stop it. And this could be the case in just about any major city, sad to say, in America today.

And then consider how violence sells much of our entertainment industry, from sports to videos. So do we want to be included in that number in which almighty God would say, as it were, you are vile? Violence, may that never be named among us.

The second charge is in Nahum chapter three and verse four. “All because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft or sorceries.” Here Nineveh was depicted figuratively speaking like a harlot, like a prostitute that would allure others to her sins, a wanton, lewd lust, a mistress of sorceries and witchcraft. Here the second charge was this vile, spiritual and moral filth, adultery towards God and all that is good and decent. They acted like a prostitute with pagan practices including sorcery and witchcraft, the occult. How about America today? Is immorality and the occult on the rise? Is our society becoming more and more like a harlot? Is lewd lust today hidden or paraded on the streets and on our screens and becoming part of the soul of America? Is America becoming vile? God forbid.


The third charge is found in Nahum chapter three beginning in verse eight. “Are you better than Thebes situated in the Nile with water around her? The river was her defense, the waters her wall. Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength. Put and Libya were among her allies. Yet she was taken captive and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces. At the head of every street lots were cast for her nobles and all of her great men were put in chains.” This describes the sinful pride and arrogance of pride. You see, Thebes was a great city of Egypt that was once the great capital and center. Like Nineveh it was known for its defense, its walls, its canals, its gods. But Thebes fell to the invading Assyrians.

What is the point? Well, the Ninevites also thought that their city, that their empire, that they themselves likewise were invincible, superior to all other peoples, overly and overly arrogant proud people relying on their walls.

And so we ask ourselves this morning. Is America invincible? Isn’t the enemy really within our soul? Has our economic and military strength made us overly arrogant or proud? Do we think ourselves better than other peoples? Will our oceans and missiles protect us from every enemy? God took Nineveh down. The charges were violence, vileness and pride. These were the main charges against her.   In what direction are the trends and the tendencies of violence and vileness and arrogant pride in America today regarding these three charges in more recent history? What happened, for example, to Nazi Germany, to the evil empire of the USSR, to Iraq under Saddam, to Libya under Khadafy? Were these saturated with violence, with vileness, with pride, relying on themselves without the one true God?

Sure, Russia and Germany are back, but minus millions of square miles and millions of its people. And the final history pages are still to be written yet future. God is still sovereign and in control of the nations.

Regarding what God allows and what God accomplishes, whether ancient Assyria or America today. And, yes, God is slow to anger and long suffering. But God does not abide violence and arrogant pride forever.

Today Assyria is an area only primarily of interest to archeologists who dig up the ancient empire and the destroyed city of Nineveh which is only in ruins buried under a mound of dirt, literally, as it is revealed in the Word of God in Nahum chapter one and verse 14: “In a grave because you are vile.”

Nineveh was a magnificent city located on the east bank of the Tigris River across from the modern city today of Mosul, Iraq. Nineveh was an advanced city. It maintained a library of some 22,000 clay tablets covering history and medicine, astrology, astronomy and agriculture. For its time Nineveh was a great advanced city. And, yes, it had great defenses. It had huge walls that reportedly ran over seven miles. In some places the walls were 148 feet height. That is almost 50 yards or half a football field high. But Nineveh was so completely destroyed, so utterly destroyed as prophesied by God’s Hebrew prophets. And for a long time it was thought to have actually been a myth, that Nineveh never really existed, until its discovery in the 19th century in 1847. For example, it was found that in its ruins there was a splendid royal palace. It was unearthed and it indicated that it had 71 rooms with walls lined with sculptured slabs. Today excavators have bored through 30 to 40 feet of debris before reaching the Assyrian strata, so deep is the grave God prepared for their vileness.

Today in America, for example, Las Vegas is often referred to as what? Sin city. In the book of Nahum God’s people needed to cling to Nahum chapter one and verse seven. And not only God’s people, but even those who are just decent people that would just seek to be good citizens, but especially God’s people. Nahum chapter one and verse seven says: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” And not only in times of trouble, but God is good and a refuge at all times. And we should always seek him as our refuge, as our redeemer. And he does care for those who trust in him.
In America or wherever we live, in times of trouble, many put their ultimate trust in government or these days in gold. But we must trust God and turn from all violence and know that the victory to overcome this world is our faith, our faith in the one true God of the Scripture, even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


                                       David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8