Monday, April 13, 2015

The Neglected Book of Nahum

Have you ever heard a sermon on the Old Testament Book of the Bible Nahum? I have not and I have been in churches for thirty years. Why is the Book of Nahum neglected? What does he say that gives no inspiration for a sermon? Why was the Book put in the Bible if it is not worthy of a message? Well, I will give one hint. It does not end well in the Book of Nahum. How many cities today need to hear what will happen to them if they do not heed God and His Word? If you are sinner hearing the book of Nahum, it should cause you to tremble. Seeker-friendly churches don't want to give this kind of message.

Prophets were the Messengers of their time!

We all love stories that end well; And they lived happily ever after again. Whew! But is this reality? We need to tell that God will punish unrighteousness. Revelation makes it clear in the end days many will experience God's vengeance, that is, those who are not covered in the "righteousness of Christ." We live today in a period of grace. The good news of salvation through Jesus provides that grace and as many people that believe, receive God's substitutionary covering. Weaved through Nahum God speaks terror to the wicked and comfort to Judah (the believers).

Nahum does not begin his book with the history of Nineveh, so let me get you up to date. Nineveh is the capital city of the Assyrian kingdom; the very same kingdom that had the other ten tribes of Israel in captivity. A hundred years before Nahum's vision, the Bible tells us about the redemption of Nineveh when they turned to God after Jonah spoke God's message to them. However, like so many, the people of Nineveh a hundred year later (about 3 generations later) had forgotten God and His goodness. So, in the book of Nahum we read God's vision regarding His vengeance that will be taken upon Nineveh. We will look at the vision God gave to Nahum to see what gems it hold for us today.

Chapter 1 basically describes God's nature. We read in verse 2,
"God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, He reserves wrath for His enemies." 
It is not uncommon for repetition to be found in the Bible. It is there to stress a point and make an emphasis. Our take-away from knowing this about God is that we should quickly forgive those who wrong us because God will avenge all wrongdoing. Vengeance is God's job -- not ours.

The very next verse, verse 3, says, "The Lord is slow to anger and great in power." And also verse 7 says, "The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him." While God can and will avenge sin He is long-suffering so that as many people as possible can receive everlasting eternal life in heaven with Him. We have been living in a 2,000 year grace period since Jesus came to earth. Does that not show how slow to anger God is? Also, we who believe in God need to rest in the fact that He is good and He knows that we do trust in Him. That does not mean we will not suffer by the hand of evil people or destruction as diseases brought upon mankind due to sin, but it does mean we will not suffer under the hand of God's vengeance.

Can you stand before His indignation?

Verse 6 asks, "Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger?" This is NOT a rhetorical question. Clearly, the answer is anyone who repents and is covered by the blood of Jesus! In the Old Testament time, it was anyone who repented and trusted in God for protection and deliverance.

I can stand before God because He does not see my sin, but instead He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus. What peace! What Joy! It is to know this deep within my soul.

So for today this is the lesson I am sharing from the Book of Nahum. More insight will come.

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