Old Testament passage for Tuesday, December 17, 2013: Nahum 1:1-3:19
1 The burden against Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; 3 the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. Nahum 1:1-3 (NKJV)
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (NKJV)
YOUR FAVORITE ATTRIBUTE
Which one of the attributes of God is your favorite? Is it love, mercy, truthfulness, power? Perhaps it is comfort. The name "Nahum" means "comfort" or "consolation." As a prophet, however, he brought anything but comfort.
Few people consider judgment or wrath to the their favorite attributes of God. But that is exactly what Nahum prophesied to the Ninevites. The first verses of this short book describe a side of God that many do not want to contemplate. It is just plain frightening to consider the furious wrath of the Almighty. Yet, if we would have a full view of our God, it must include His anger as well as His grace, His wrath as well as His kindness.
In the opening verses of the short book of Nahum the prophet we find six of the attributes of God.
1. The Jealousy of God (vs. 2).
A month ago, on November 19, I dealt with this topic in a blog entitled He is a Jealous God. It is hugely misunderstood by the critics of faith. His jealousy is not the desire for that which He does not have, but rather His zeal to protect and keep that which is His.
2. The Justice of God (vs. 2 & 3).
Nahum says that God "avenges". That means He will set the scales even. All sin must be paid for. He cannot allow sin or error to go unmet. One might wonder where forgiveness comes in. This is the major difference between Christian forgiveness and the weak substitute found in the world. Forgiveness for the Christian still requires that the sin be avenged. Jesus took our penalty for us! Our forgiveness is on the basis of the justice meted out to Him.
In vs. 3 we read, He "will not at all acquit the wicked." God's justice requires that we have a righteousness not our own. We need Jesus to satisfy the justice of God.
3. The Wrath or Anger of God (vss. 2 & 3).
It is not cool these days to see God as anything other than a "sugar daddy." Yet Scripture declares that our sins have so offended Him and He has every right to condemn us and banish us forever. We need yet again to understand the utter detestableness of sin to Holy God.
4. The Patience of God (vs. 3).
He is "slow to anger." This attribute is also often misunderstood. He is so patient that we can forget that He is still a God of judgment and wrath. I am so thankful for the merciful patience of God. He is by nature a redeemer who waits for us to repent and believe.
We must not, however, presume upon His patient that thereby put Him to the test.
5. The Power of God (vs. 3).
He is "great in power." We call this His omnipotence. It is wonderful to meditate on the unlimited ability of our God.
6. The Goodness of God (vs. 7).
At the core of this massively powerful and holy God is a heart of love and purity. He is goodness defined.
7. The Knowledge of God (vs. 7).
He knows us. "He knows those who trust in Him." He is omniscient. This, frankly, is beyond my ability to comprehend. He knows things that are not even important, like how many hairs are on your head (Matt. 10:30). Is that knowledge really important? For your information, blondes have an average of 140,000 hairs, brunettes 108,000, and redheads 90,000 (on average). But, who really cares? GOD DOES.
If He is interested in minute details, don't you think He cares about your pancreas or your blood pressure or your marriage?
HE IS OUR GREAT GOD
God showed Himself mighty toward Nineveh. Two books in the Old Testament dealt with that great city. Jonah preached repentance and they responded. 100 years later, God sent Nahum with the same message. This time, they did not.
All of this shows the full character of our great God.
"Lord, show us more of Who You are. We do not want to be like the Ninevites who continually invited your wrath by their rebellion and hard-headedness. Today, we submit to You. Amen."