Reading: Nahum Chapter 1
By Pastor Alex
As we launch into the book of Nahum, we are gazing into God’s prophetic judgment of the nation of Assyria and its capital Nineveh, as Nahum prophesies the overthrow of that nation. The Holy Spirit is using this pivotal moment in history to reveal to us His very nature and character. As we read chapter one, I want us to focus on what it says about who God is.
We are in desperate need to know the true and living God, as He has revealed Himself – the full picture in scripture, and we should avoid quick, easy answers. I find it interesting that most Christian songs would never begin with, “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful,” but that is exactly the attribute of God that Nahum was inspired to begin this book with (v. 2). When we read, “He reserves wrath for His enemies,” it may not sound pretty, but imagine for a moment if God didn’t reserve that wrath! All the demons in hell could continue all their vile evil, without any judgment; every 9-11 terrorist, ISIS member, sex trafficker, or common criminal could continue on with no reason to change. Ultimately, Hitler would be no better off than the Apostle Paul at the judgment! Naturally, we shudder to even think of such a universe.
But the most key statements about God here are the ones that capture the full picture. Nahum reminds us in the language of Exodus, “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (v. 3). Let’s marvel at the good news that God is great in power – we know He is even Almighty – but He doesn’t use His power to be harsh or to vent His frustration toward us because He is having a bad day. He is patient with us; He is slow to anger. That doesn’t mean He winks at sin, however. We know that those who refuse to repent and believe will face eternal judgment. But think about your walk with Jesus for a moment… Let’s think, for a moment, of the times when we have stepped outside the bounds of God’s love, whether speaking hurtful angry words, or lying in order to protect ourselves, or even doing something more shameful than that. If you have been born again, you cannot feel content or happy after doing something like this. There is misery and even a torment that comes over us if we commit sin, and it only lifts when we repent. But imagine if God hadn’t allowed any consequences into our lives when we sinned against Him? Where would we be now? In that sense, we really have reason to rejoice when He disciplines us!
But don't miss this revelation of God: “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him” (v. 7). This is a trustworthy promise: God is good to you. You can rely on Him. If you take that promise by faith and actually believe He is good, you will naturally take refuge in Him. And in that place of hiding yourself in God’s presence, God takes note. He will know you personally there. He will be a stronghold to you there.
God is always faithful to show us the place of safety and blessing, and it is found in taking refuge in Him.
As verse 15 speaks about, that is good news for us today; that is an announcement of peace made to us today. I pray we will be people who believe it, then go and tell it on the mountain.