Nahum Says to Worship Our God of Judgment
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. . . . What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.
-Nahum 1:7, 9, emphasis added
Nahum (663-612 B.C.) was a contemporary with Zephaniah (640-621 B.C.). Two of the Minor Prophets, Jonah and Nahum, wrote their books totally about Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Over a century before Nahum, Jonah spoke on God's behalf to the Ninevites and, from the king on down, they repented, at least for a season. Initially, they appeared grateful for His mercy. However, not too long afterward they presumptuously began to live in even greater wickedness than before.
The Assyrian monarch may have been checked by God in 701 B.C., but these were still great days for Nineveh. Sennacherib more than doubled the city's size, making it the world's largest city at that time. "A wall surrounded the inner city eight miles in circumference. It was one hundred feet high and so wide that three chariots could race around it abreast. It had twelve hundred towers and fourteen gates. Beyond this was a much longer, outer wall. There was an inner city, an outer city, and what we would call extensive suburbs beyond that. In Jonah this wide expanse was termed a "three days" journey (Jonah 3:3)."[ii]
In their tremendous pride, wealth, and power, the Ninevites saw no need of God. They thus made a grave error in thinking of the Lord as being "slow to anger" but failing to recognize that "God is jealous" and "will take vengeance on His adversaries" (Nahum 1:2-3a). As Boice has well said, "There is one inescapable fact of the Universe: the wrath of God may not be evaded. It is so great that it hunted down and sacrificed no less than the Son of God, Christ Jesus! And if God spared not His Son, what will happen to the rebels at the Day of Judgment?"[iii]
Nahum's prophecy concerning Nineveh's doom has three main parts. In chapter 1, God's judgment on Nineveh is determined; chapter 2 describes its destruction; chapter 3 reveals that judgment is deserved. Nahum, whose name means comfort, found solace in knowing that our sovereign, righteous God of judgment is in absolute control, and that He would right all wrongs in due season. Therefore, He worshiped our perfect God of judgment's character, as reflected in these verses:
· Nahum worshiped by respecting God's vengeance:God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; ... He reserves wrath for His enemies (Nahum 1:2).
· Nahum worshiped by trusting God's patience:The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked (Nahum 1:3).
· Nahum worshiped by resting in God's omnipotence:Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? (Nahum 1:6).
· Nahum worshiped by waiting for God's good justice:The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.... Behold, ... the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! ... For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off (Nahum 1:7, 15).
That this prophecy of Nahum actually is a product of Divine inspiration, and not just a vehement thirst for human revenge, is made sure, of course, by the fact that it was fulfilled to the very letter. And in these days when monstrosities of wickedness terrorize the earth, on a scale never known before, when Christian and godly and innocent people in many lands suffer coldly calculated or brutally inflicted cruelties for the sake of upright principles, it is a thoroughly Christian attitude to pray for and to take refuge in the soon-coming final vengeance of God on the wicked, and His vindication of the upright.[iv]
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