Summary: In Nahum, God says, "I am against you." We like to emphasize one of the verses of Nahum: "God is slow to anger..." but there is a limit to God’s patience. What happens when we continually turn our backs on God?
IF GOD IS AGAINST US
By Maynard Pittendreigh
1 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.
6 Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.
7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
8 but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of; he will pursue his foes into darkness.
9 Whatever they plot against the LORD he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time.
10 They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble.
11 From you, has one come forth who plots evil against the LORD and counsels wickedness.
12 This is what the LORD says: "Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be cut off and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.
13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away."
14 The LORD has given a command concerning you,: "You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile."
15 Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
Nahum is one of the Twelve Minor Prophets, a group of books we have been studying in recent weeks. He has a very sober message of judgment to Nineveh.
Read through this little book and it is easy to see lots of doom and gloom. Sprinkled here and there, we do find a few brief rays of hope in this harsh prophecy. Such a ray of hope is found in verse 7 of our Scripture lesson: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”
God knows us and wants to protect us.
This is consistent with all of Scripture. In fact, Nahum’s name means “comfort” or “consolation”.
But you cannot ignore the fact that most of Nahum’s message is doom and gloom, and little of it seems very comforting or consoling. The reason is that Nahum wants to make very clear his message of what happens to those who reject God.
Beyond our Scripture reading for this morning, in chapter two, verse 13, Nahum quotes God as saying, “I am against you.” God repeats this same statement in chapter three.
What a terrible thing to think of God as being against us!
Nahum wrote 150 years after the time of Jonah.
We looked at Jonah’s message a few weeks ago.
Both Jonah and Nahum preach to the people of Nineveh.
Jonah doesn’t want to go to Nineveh. He hates the Ninevites. He wants God to destroy them. But eventually, as you may recall, Jonah, after trying to escape from God and hide from God, and after enduring being swallowed by a giant fish, finally preaches to the people of Nineveh – and the people of Nineveh repent.
God has mercy.
After all, Nahum begins our Scripture lesson with the wonderful promise, “God is slow to anger.”
But the successful preaching of Jonah is 150 years in the past.
That is like relating our day to what this country was like ten years before the Civil War.
Jonah got the people of Nineveh to repent, but that generation has all died away. Nineveh is back to its evil ways, and now it is Nahum’s turn to preach to them.
Through Nahum, God makes it plain that He is angry at Nineveh.
We don’t like to think of God as being angry, yet the Bible is clear that He hates sin.
Jonah is a message of what happens when people turn back to God.