Summary: How God moves in judgement
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on Sunday 1 June 2014 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey - the third in a series on the book of Nahum.
Nahum chapter 3
What generation describes you? The Who reminded us that they were ‘Talking bout my generation.'
The examples of the different generations are as follows: post-war, beat, baby boomers, Generation X (after baby boom – early 1960s to early 1980s), Millennial or Generation Y (1980s to early 2000s), post- millennial. However, the passage in Nahum is talking to whatever generation we belong to.
Nahum prophesied a flood of judgement on Nineveh– the judgement that happened after the revival there since they turned their back on God. The prophet makes his proclamations from the safety of Judah about 713 BC.
He was not the only prophet at the time as Micah was prophesying to the southern kingdom of Judah.
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 acted in 612 BC (another century after Nahum).
In this section, God shows why He will impose judgement.
1. Wrong route
There is evidence in this chapter of self-gratification – a lie believed from Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden.
There is so much in this passage that can identify with this nation:
a. City of blood – murder is now commonplace, it is no longer front page news. What starts in violence will continue in that vein (e.g. nations such as Zimbabwe, religions such as Islam when Mohammed attacked those around him). Violence and murder is seen on streets of major cities as people after prestige and mistaken view of honour.
Like Cain (the first murderer, the feelings are all about 'me.'
We can see the desecration of life – the destroying of pre-born, the lack of appreciation for the people with disabilities and the mistreatment of the older generation.
Jesus (in Matthew 5: 21ff) stated that anger and slander just as bad as puts me above other people, an insult to the One who created
b. Plunder can also be translated ‘extortion’
In financial greed, we can see the get-quick schemes, exploiting the elderly and other vulnerable.
Many people want to win the lottery or raffles – but it is at the expense of others without working to get it, which we then celebrate.
c. Continuous evildoing – there is no victimless society
We need to remember the families and friends of murder victims, indeed those of the murderer; and to support the victims of scams
All of society pay for the evil – through increased insurance (fraudulent claims) and increased costs (as shops cover cost of shoplifting).
If situation is bad now, we need to think how bad it would be if God withdrew His hand completely.
The 1st half of verse 1 in the form of a lament – God is grieving over us as a nation, we will grieve if we do not turn to Him.
Although Jesus spoke of loving enemies (cf. Matthew 5: 43 – 48), He also warned strongly of inevitability of judgement when choose to walk in opposition to relationship to Him, which He called sin.
Christ stated that all who live by the sword (or scalpel in case of abortions or poison pills in case of euthanasia) will perish by the sword (Matthew 26: 52). As much as it applied to Ninevah, so it also is to be applied to our nation.
It is easy to condemn those not here this morning, but we need to be aware of what we believe.
In UK, we have a population of approximately 63 million, of which around 59 million do not know Jesus, but most know someone who does. We need to know what we believe (be informed, not reliant on hearsay) and speak sensitively.
Psalm 119: 105 says: ‘Your word is a lamp to feet and a light to my path.’ It is not possible to know what God thinks unless read what He has said.
Above all, as Jesus wept over Jerusalem, we need to pray and weep over our neighbourhood.
2. Wrong expectations
The reason for destruction was promiscuity, not necessarily of a sexual nature but the hankering after what other people had.
In verses 5 – 6, as Assyria exposed other nations, it too will be exposed. The application to the UK as a nation, for in the past we sent out missionaries but now UK is clearly a mission field – how much are you involved in this commission?
The city Thebes was given as example of what happened before – so also a lesson to us that God can deal with us.
The imagery of prostitution found in Proverbs, especially chapter 7 for people led astray. The image symbolised those who victimise others, for both witch and prostitute exert their power over the weak, vulnerable or unwary (although prostitutes themselves are the weak of society).