TEACHER: Ken Hicks
This Letter is so important, that God initially sent this message through the Prophet Jonah, and felt the message was so important we needed Part II, so Nahum is actually the continuation of Jonah’s Letter.
On to the scene arrives Nahum … 100-150 years later … the repentance of the Assyrian people that Jonah recorded in his 3rd chapter apparently was short-lived. Nineveh is back to the oppression of their enemies. They are now attacking Israel in the Northern Kingdom … and Judah in the Southern Kingdom …and they laid siege to Jerusalem. So Nahum arrives to the people of Nineveh w/ another message of Divine Retribution from God.
ONE: Judgment for One can Mean Comfort for Others.
When Romania was still under the Communist rule, a Christian Pastor mentioned the Letter of Revelation. He referred to it as the favorite book of the Bible for his people. He said they loved the book of Revelation because it was written by John … the pastor of the Church in Ephesus, when he was exiled.
Romanian Christians know what it’s like to be exiled and imprisoned. They suffer as the early Christians suffer, desperately abused and subjected to cruelty. They read Revelation and hear the clear message: God is God, and He judges the good and the bad. He is personally committed to seeing that evil does not triumph.
This, said the Romanian Pastor, is very different from how you North American Christians look at Revelation. You’re fascinated w/ historical details, trying to work out precise future plans and speculations. You wonder about Rapture, and hope you will never suffer. We … he said … suffer, and in that suffering hear God speak to us through the Prophet.
The way the Romanians today look at Revelation is how the Jews heard Nahum … It was a message of comfort in the midst of their suffering … a Word in a dark time of Evil … a message that ALL is not LOST!
TWO: God’s Power will Punish the Wrong!
Nahum’s Prophecy is directed directly towards Nineveh … they had returned to their wicked & evil ways … they were treating nations as objects of commerce to be bought & sold … then discarding them w/ literally zero value … And Nahum speaks this Oracle … this Divine Word pronouncing JUDGMENT!
THREE: The GOD OF LOVE is also THE GOD of JUDGMENT.
Here’s where it often gets cloudy … because the idea of Judgment doesn’t fit w/ the picture we often have and want of a Loving God … in fact … sometimes it’s really difficult to wrap our minds around this picture of a God of Judgment.
How could a GOOD GOD allow Evil to exist? How could a LOVING GOD not punish an Evil Doer? As 1 commentator wrote, God’s Judgment is an inevitable expression of His Goodness on behalf of the victims of Evil.
FOUR: The God of SALVATION is also the God of JUDGMENT.
Here’s the reality … truth is … a lot of people in culture today … we simply struggle w/ God’s Role as JUDGE … we prefer this Lens of God as this Meek & Mild Savior.
Many times … sometimes it’s a conscious thing that we’re aware of … and sometimes it’s actually in our blind spot … but many times we desire the Love & Forgiveness of God … but we’re not so keen on the Accountability & Judgmentpart of the character of God too.