This week we will study the book of Nahum.  It is a small, 3 chapter prophetic book written probably sometime between 663 BC and 612 BC.  The author is Nahum, the prophet.  We don’t know much about this man.  Even the town mentioned as his home town is not easily identifiable.  The book’s purpose is to pronounce God’s judgment on Assyria and its capital, Nineveh.  And that pronouncement would bring comfort to the people of Judah - for Assyria was a potent and violent threat.

Warren Wiersbe tells us:  “Assyria was a ruthless enemy that practiced brutality on men, women, and children.  Their armies destroyed and looted; they buried their enemies alive and even skinned them alive; they impaled people on sharp poles and left them to burn in the sun.  Assyria had been used of God to chasten the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  Every nation feared Assyria and tried to win her approval.  Finally in 612 BC, Nineveh was destroyed by the Medes and the Babylonians; and so complete was their conquest that the ruins of the city remained undiscovered until 1842.”  (Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament.)

Nations trembled with fear because of Assyria.  Judah was afraid.  So God sends this message to His frightened people through Nahum.  Remember, this message is going to Judah – not Assyria!  Nineveh had already received warning from God through Jonah the prophet.  (If you need to refresh your memory, read Jonah before you move into Nahum.)  So this prophecy, written to Judah, is announcing God’s judgment … the time for repentance is over. 

As you read … look for what you learn about God.  You may want to begin another list of things that you learn about Jehovah. 

Read Nahum 1.

Two things stand out to me from this chapter:

1.  We get a view of the character and nature of our God.  And it is both splendid and sobering.  Are these things on your list?

There are things here that cause us to tremble.  And there are things that give us comfort.  In the face of the vengeance and wrath of God against sin … never forget that GOD IS GOOD.  “Good” is an interesting word.  In our humanness … we see “good” as something that is pleasant and beneficial for me or something that I want.  In God’s economy, “good” has infinitely broader strokes and purposes.  And God knows those who take refuge in Him.  Do I?  Is God my refuge or do I keep thinking that things in this world, somehow, will give me security?  Today … I recommit to taking refuge in my God alone.  God is our fortress – our place of safety – only God.

2.  The second thing that jumped at me was the very last phrase in the chapter:  “he is cut off completely.”  Who is this “he”?  Look at the beginning of the sentence – “the wicked one”.  The New Living Translation uses “your wicked enemies”.  That was indeed good news for Judah.  And it is good news for us.  Nahum tells the people of Judah to go ahead and celebrate the feasts.  Continue with your service.  The people of Judah were going to endure about 50 more years of threat from Assyria … but they were not to live in fear because they knew the outcome!  I wonder if they did.  I wonder if some of them trusted the word from God through Micah. 

Is there application for you and I?  Look to John 16.  Jesus is preparing His disciples for His imminent departure.  He promises the Holy Spirit.  He warns them of hard times ahead.  And He concludes the discussion with:

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” 

Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4: 9 – 11:

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you doing.”

You see, the fact that God will avenge His character and will deal with wickedness and evil is not a source of fear for those who belong to Him.  Build each other up with that reality. 

Lord, our God, there is none like You.  Your faithfulness and purity, Your righteousness and goodness, are our security and our hope.  We place our trust in You.  We take refuge in You.

 


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