Scarlet Men and Raging Chariots

“The shields of his mighty men are made red, the valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the spears are brandished. The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; They seem like torches, they run like lightning.” – Nahum 2:3-4

The mighty men and raging chariots are but a part of the continued scene of the coming of the Lord’s army in judgment that Nahum described in great detail to Nineveh. Mighty men, the choicest men of the Medo-Babylonian army, blood stained, battle worn, skilled and ready men. Swift war chariots, those ancient mobile firing platforms, racing through the fields, plains, and streets of Nineveh, whose riders would drive them like madmen against King Sennacharib’s forces. This was a fear inducing threat for the proud Sennacharib. Remember, that this Assyrian king had seen many opposing forces during his reign, but none of them were like this one would be.

Sennacharib found victory to be his trend and forte against all others. So much so that his mantra through his mouthpiece, Rabshakeh, was along the lines of “The great Assyria has come to you and will conquer you. Prepare to be plundered. Prepare to die.” Yet, he and his forces never had the Lord of hosts against them in judgment. Nebuchadnezzar’s war chariots would come with torches to light their path at night, to ignite structures on fire, to conceal their numbers. They would be fast and quick, like lightning. Though, Sennarcharib’s men would race to their defenses and try to prepare, it wouldn’t and couldn’t be enough.

It’s true that God is longsuffering, even with His wicked enemies. It’s true that God used raised up Assyria to afflict and chasten His people. However, it’s also true that the living God also brings His enemies down in His perfect timing, according to His perfect will. When God brings judgment against sinners and their sin, He often does so with decisive, powerful, and swift action. Take this with you today as you consider the mighty and valiant soldiers, their chariots and success we see in this text.

Never forget that God always has the victory, even over and against foes we would consider formidable from our human perspective. Jesus Christ has the victory as is abundantly evident in His decisive and finished work of conquering of sin, death, and the Devil. In the movie-like scene of Nahum’s words in these verses, we should be reminded and filled with joy that Jesus took the judgment due to us, so that we would live and not endure the eternal wrath of God ourselves, like those who are apart from Christ will.

Like the Assyrians, God’s enemies will be conquered, plundered, and laid empty and desolate as they are brought under the feet of Christ. Jesus is the victor who is stronger than the strong man in Mark 3:27. The strong man is bound. Satan’s house is being plundered. Like Assyria, this will be the cause of God’s enemies’ great mourning and weeping. And Christ’s people shall praise Him and give Him all glory forever and ever. Amen.