Slow to Anger but Great in Power

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

It seems just a few weeks ago we were reading about Jonah and celebrating the revival of an entire city – the city of Nineveh.  But as we turn our attention to the Book of Nahum, we realize something bad has happened.

Nineveh has turned away from the Lord and returned to her old ways.  Instead of celebrating the Lord’s salvation  – we learn that Nineveh has come under judgment.

Nahum 3:3 reminds us – “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power…”

The main theme of the book is the impending judgment of Nineveh by the Lord, by which He would deliver His people – Israel. Yahweh would pay back Nineveh and the Assyrians in the same way they had mistreated their enemies.

The Book of Nahum is much like a sequel to the Book of Jonah.

As a reminder, Jonah was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 14:25-27), who received a word from the Lord to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because of their wickedness. (Jonah 1:2)

Jonah was resentful of the people of Nineveh. Nineveh was the military capital of Assyria, (modern day Iraq) a people known for its violence and evil.  Because Assyria had caused much harm to the people of Israel – Jonah was slow to forgive them.

Consequently, when the Lord commissioned Jonah to preach repentance to this bloody, brutal people, Jonah went as far as he could in the opposite direction in fear that they would receive his message and experience God’s forgiveness.

After trying to run from the Lord and His calling, Jonah begrudgingly preaches the Word – the city repents, and Jonah ends up upset that the enemy of His people have repented and turned to the Lord.

Now, one hundred fifty years or so later, we pick up the story in the Book of Nahum—a book that divides itself into three sections.

In chapter 1, Nineveh’s doom is declared.

In chapter 2, Nineveh’s doom is described.

In chapter 3, Nineveh’s doom is deserved.

The book of Nahum dramatically portrays God judgment over Assyria to relieve His oppressed people.

It was certainly a harsh message for Israel’s enemies, but for the people of Judah it was a message of hope.

Nineveh comes to stand for those who have hardened themselves to God and oppose both the Lord and His people. God’s people can rejoice in God’s justice only because they have themselves been humbled and chastened, having been brought to repentance through His great patience (v. 3).

God’s patience manifests His love and His desire that all would repent and turn to Him, but this patience should not be mistaken for approval of the unrepentant.

The book of Nahum provides a great view of a powerful, just God who maintains His absolute moral standards and offers hope to those who are despised and downtrodden.

God overthrows and destroys dominions that are opposed to His rule and oppress His people.

Judgment upon wickedness will inevitably come. All will be set right. We can be hopeful and patient.

Nahum teaches us to trust God. Even when we despair of any help, we can know that God will stand with those who belong to Him.

Amen!

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts were taken from the following sources for this blog: The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Gospel Transformation Bible, HCSB, Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2

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