July 8, 2016
Nahum prophesied about 150 years after Jonah. The book is written to describe the character and power of God and the fall of Nineveh (a picture of the world) Jonah was sent to prophesy and preach
“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD has his way in the tornado and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers: Bashan is feeble, and Carmel and the flower of Lebanon droop. The mountains shake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? And who can stand in the heat of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of distress; and he knows them seek refuge in him.”
The Lord is exceedingly merciful to men everywhere. Nahum says, “The LORD is slow to anger”. Mercy can be defined as “God holding back that which we deserve” or have earned by our actions and intents. But because God is merciful does not mean that man can ignore the God of this universe and go on in the pursuits of their own desires. Nahum goes on to emphasize the surety of God’s judgment on all men. “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked:”
We as men, look to excuse ourselves in many ways and even go so far as to try and change the character of God to suit our own designs and purposes. But He is rightly described and defined in this short statement by the prophet, “the LORD has his way in the tornado and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers: Bashan is feeble, and Carmel and the flower of Lebanon droop. The mountains shake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? And who can stand in the heat of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.”
Men are constantly surprised by activity that seems to randomly “happen” on the earth. Earthquakes, storms, excessive rain and periods of drought reoccur on the earth and surprise mankind in spite of all their academics and claims of great knowledge. But to God, there are no surprises. His hand alone directs the winds and storms. It is by His design that the mountains shake as He chooses. All are but a small token of the judgment to come. They are just a hint of His power and the wicked will not be missed or acquitted. Yet many go on with little notice or concern.
David writes about this them and his prayer concerning his life. “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is there strength, labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of thy anger? Your rage is awesome. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10-12)
Teach us to count our days so that we might gain wisdom rather than the triviality of the world. All that is world offers and that we work so hard to gather is nothing compared to the knowledge and understanding that God will give us if we seek Him. One thing is sure. He is coming and will bring His judgment on this world and those that live apart from Him.
“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad.” (Matthew 12:30)
“Who shall stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:2-3)
John describes the last day as Jesus Christ comes. “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:14-17)
The common thread among all that write of the day when God will bring judgment on the earth is, “Who shall stand?”
What hope is there for those of us who are alive on this earth as His judgment is poured out? Nahum includes the answer as he wrote, “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of distress; and he knows them seek refuge in him.” We may be terrified by the quaking of the earth. We may look for shelter as the storms and the winds cross our lands. BUT He is our refuge. He alone keeps us day by day. And He is personally acquainted with the circumstances we face no matter how great or how insignificant they may be.
God sent forth His Son to be a propitiation for sinners. (1 John 4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Propitiation is God satisfying the demands of His own righteousness. It is God’s looking upon the sinner in loving kindness because of the substitution of death of Jesus Christ on behalf of the sinner. Paul describes this and emphasizes that it is for the sinner. (Romans 3:23-25) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
All men are sinners no matter how we might justify or excuse ourselves. We may claim any status that would attempt to exempt us from God’s judgment, but there is none. We may be better than many others but we are not good enough. We may claim our good works but God condemns the best of our works as filthy rags before Him. We make look to what someone has told us in the past, but God’s Word supersedes all other words. We make look to the fact that someone has asked you to say a prayer, walk an aisle, be baptized, and join a church. But it is still not enough. Nahum asked, “Who can stand before his indignation? And who can stand in the heat of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.” Malachi echoed this same sentiment “Who shall stand when he appears?
Dear friend, God’s judgment is sure but His mercy and grace is plenteous to those who by genuine faith have cried out for His mercy and trusted His work on the cross as the only claim for the payment of all sin. Do you trust Him by faith in His Son? If so you may say with Nahum and all who truly believe, “The LORD is gracious, a strong hold and fortress in the day of distress, adversity, affliction, tribulation, and death; and He intimately and continually knows them seek refuge in him.”