AVENGING AND WRATHFUL
Vengeance On Adversaries
Nahum delivers an oracle of condemnation for Nineveh. Nineveh would receive the judgment that was postponed during the time of Jonah. God did not judge the city then, but he will not ignore sin or leave it unpunished. Nahum was a writer, and this is the only prophetic work described as a book. The book records a vision or revelation given by God to Nahum who is identified by his hometown Elkosh. Nahum means comfort, but the opening lines will not be comforting unless you are from Judah. God is jealous for his glory, and he will act in wrath as a righteous judge. Make no mistake; God is patient and slow to anger. He is not capricious, arbitrary, or impetuous in the exercise of his wrath. His wrath is thoroughly planned and carefully placed. God is powerful, and he will do just as he promises no matter how unlikely or difficult. God is just, so he cannot clear the guilty and he will not acquit the wicked. God is often depicted in the Old Testament as attended by a storm or whirlwind. Nahum sees God walking across the clouds as though they were dust beneath his feet. God can speak to the sea and the rivers to make them dry. The mountains quake before the creator and the hills melt and wither at his touch. The earth and all its myriad creatures move before him so what could a man possibly do when he comes in judgment. No one can stand before the Lord in his indignation and anger. The fierceness of his anger is irresistible, and when his wrath pours out in a fiery display, it obliterates rocks.
Nineveh had seen the goodness of God in the past so that no one could accuse him of wrongdoing. Years ago Ninevites responded to Jonah’s message with repentance and God did not destroy them, but they had forgotten his mercy. Judgment was imminent, and the only way of escape was to seek refuge in God. There was a flood of wrath approaching, and without repentance, God would make a complete end of his enemies, and they would be left in utter darkness. God’s power would be demonstrated through the total destruction of the Assyrians. Nineveh would be destroyed, never to be reoccupied. To plot against Judah, was like plotting against God which would result in their complete termination. The Assyrians would be trapped, confused until they were completely consumed because those who would have the audacity to plot evil against the Lord would be proven to be worthless and powerless. Assyria and her allies could not stop God from saving Judah or bringing judgment against Nineveh. The tyranny of Assyria would come to a complete end, a footnote in history. God had used Assyria to discipline his people, but the affliction of Judah by Nineveh would end forever. God would break the yoke of oppression. The gods of the Assyrians would not be able to save them. The news of Nineveh’s fall would be carried to Judah by messengers, and it would be received as good news. The faithful are encouraged to be obedient, keep their feasts, and fulfill their vows. Assyrian armies would never again march through Judah, for the enemy of God’s people would be destroyed.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think people struggle with God's jealousy and wrath?
- How does our corrupted experience of jealousy and wrath make it difficult to apply this to God?
- Why does God tolerate evil for a time?
- How did God's judgment bring comfort to God's people? How does God's judgment bring comfort to you?
- What do these pictures of God's power teach you?
- Do you think God acts in the same way toward the nations today?
- How can we take refuge in God?
- What makes the gospel good news?
- What enemy was defeated forever?
- How do we have peace?