Summary: How God moves in judgement
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on Sunday 23 March 2014 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey - the second in a series on the book of Nahum.
Nahum 1: 15 - 2: 13
Nahum prophesied a flood of judgement on Nineveh– judgement after revival there after the prophecy of Jonah. Nahum makes his proclamations from the safety of Judah about 713 BC.
He was not the only prophet at the time – Micah was also prophesy to Judah (the remaining southern kingdom).
Nahum begins by telling the Ninevites what God will do, how God will do it and (finally) why God will do it – then the Babylonians act in 612 BC (another century after Nahum's prophecy).
In this section, God shows how He will impose judgement
He is awesome – Psalm 97: 3 – 5: ‘Fire goes before Him and consumes His foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the world.’
Our vision of God can be too small
We will be looking at:
1. Why do God judges
2. How God judges – His methods and means
3. The outcome when God judges
In all of the passage, God’s hand print is clearly seen.
1. Why God judges
The reason is found in 2: 2, that being the restoration of Judah. God's holy presence to be felt again.
It is a reminder that God cannot stand anything that is contrary to His perfect holiness.
There is even pride in our nation when we leave God out or put Him to one side.
It is like letter in ‘The Teacher,’ which read: ‘I used to run the school football team. One Saturday we played away to the Good Shepherd Primary School. We won six-nil. The following Monday, I overheard two boys:
“Steve, how did you get on Saturday?”
“Oh, we murdered the Good Shepherd.”
In this slightly amusing story is the serious point that adults, young people and children do it daily in ignoring or opposing their Creator.
God is not random - in His judgement, we see cause and effect.
It has been recently seen when a UKIP councillor (now removed from the party) stated that the dreadful floods were result of same-sex marriage legislation. But God does not work like that – floods were more likely to the result of man’s mismanagement of the land and not acknowledging that God has ordained the boundaries (Psalm 104: 9). By contrast, the effects of same-sex relationship are manifest in matters such as domestic violence (which is greater in same-sex relationships than in heterosexual), greater instances of certain types of cancer, blood problems (e.g. NHS will not accept blood donors).
We can be In danger of categorising sins as to what we think to be important, but it has to be emphasised that same-sex sin as serious as adultery. Interestingly, Romans chapter 1 (which is often quoted in same-sex issues) ends in ‘every kind of wickedness,’ e.g. envy, gossip, boastful, arrogance, which hits closer to home.
To God, sin is sin is sin – there are no grades (such as our categorising of the 'seven cardinal sins). God hates all of them and He wants to remove sin from our lives, society, and nation.
Deuteronomy 4: 24 states: ‘For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.’ He is jealous for His holy name and the creation that belongs to Him.
God will not compromise or give in to sin. There are not be excuses (e.g. 'it was not my fault/upbringing') or comparisons (e.g. 'I am not as bad as him/her). But God will vanquish it completely at the end of time as as He is the Lord over everything.
Will you speak out against sin? Will you be God’s active witness where sin evident? (e.g. by supporting organisations (such as CARE, Tear Fund)), mentor those walking in darkness – for actions often speak louder than words.
2. How God judges
We have seen why God judges – He did not create the world and then left to own accord, but intimately involved in His creation.
Uses number of means:
· His people (1:15)
· People in general, even those who do not honour His name (2: 3 ff). The Babylonians referred to in this prophesy were not lovers of God, in fact quite the reverse as they had their own gods.
We need to be pro-active in listening to what God is saying and then following Him. Roy Comfort wrote: ‘A church that is waiting for sinners to visit their building is like the police waiting for the criminals to visit their station.’
There is the danger of not trusting God enough, to step out in faith into what He wants us to do – being the means of conviction in this neighbourhood.