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God is Patient. Slow to Anger. (Nahum 1:7)

Sermon on 17 July 2022 by Ps Justin

Introduction

The book of Nahum is the eighth instalment of the series of the 12 minor prophets. The key messages in these 12 books are behavioural change, judgement, instruction and the hope of salvation. The emphasis is on sin, punishment and restoration. There are four fundamentals: (a) the holiness of God, (b) the sinfulness of man, (c) the righteousness, judgements and mercy of God, and (d) the sovereignty of God over the nations.


Message


The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. – Nahum 1:7


God is good. He is our refuge. All we need to do is to be silent (Exodus 14:14). He knows all those who trust in Him and depend on Him, those who are faithful, those who are righteous. The Lord knows those who are wicked – they will be destroyed. Turn to Him and turn away from unprofitable lives (2 Peter 3:9).


The prophet Nahum was one of the two prophets who were sent to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to deliver the message of judgement. The other prophet was Jonah, who was called to preach to Nineveh. Nineveh repented immediately and God was merciful. However, the repentance was short-lived. 150 years after Jonah’s preaching, God now called Nahum to preach the judgement oracle to the same city which was wicked. They had forgotten the compassion of the Lord, and the revival. They went back to violence, idolatry and arrogance (Nahum 1:8). This time, when Nahum preached to them, the people of Nineveh did not heed his warnings. Nahum prophesized how Nineveh would fall.


But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, and darkness will pursue His enemies. – Nahum 1:8


The gates of the rivers are opened, And the palace is dissolved. – Nahum 2:6


You also will be drunk; You will be hidden; You also will seek refuge from the enemy. – Nahum 3:11


All the prophecies were fulfilled. The Babylonians entered Nineveh and destroyed the city in 612 B.C. The city became hidden, just as it was prophesized, until 1842 A.D. Whatever God has spoken through the prophets, will be accomplished. We will have to stand before God and account for what we have done (Romans 14:12; Matthew 12:36; 1 Peter 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The truth will only set us free if we abide in Him. The test of genuine faith is in our everyday living.


For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. - 2 Corinthians 5:10

The name of Nahum means “comfort” or “consolation”. Jesus, before His crucifixion, said that He would give another helper (John 14:26). We can see the divine work of Jesus Christ in this book. The Christ of Nahum is found in Nahum 1:2-8. He carried the same divine attitude of Christ, in judging the nation. Matthew 25:31-33 preaches the gospel of judgement. God’s long-suffering and patience is real, but His wrath is just as real. He will judge.


God’s holiness, patience, power and justice


Nahum 1:2 and 6 tells us about God’s holiness, patience, power and justice. Verse 2 says that God is jealous (Exodus 34:14); He is so holy that He cannot tolerate us worshipping any other god. He is avenging, furious, and has vengeance and wrath against His enemies (Nahum 1:2). There is indignation and fire (Nahum 1:6).


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 whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet. – Nahum 1:3


Clouds, storms and whirlwinds were symbols of paganism, as the people worshipped gods of nature. God is merciful but He will judge. What does God hate? He hates pride and hardness of heart (Genesis 3:4). The Assyrians were prideful and cruel towards others. When we hurt someone, this is not pleasing to God. We need to reconcile with that person. Let us love what God loves and hate what God hates. In Genesis, Cain’s sin (in murdering Abel) caused him to be cursed. 1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.


God’s attitude towards friends and enemies


The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies. – Nahum 1:7-8


If we continue to live according to the flesh, it is not pleasing to God. We will one day cross the line and have no desire to repent. This was what happened to Nineveh. The devil will keep planting dark thoughts in our minds. Check our thoughts.


He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. – Proverbs 29:1


God’s judgement


God is righteous. He is a God of vengeance. He is characterized by patience and power (Nahum 1:7-8). God’s judgement is decree!


Because of the multitude of harlotries of the seductive harlot, The mistress of sorceries, Who sells nations through her harlotries, And families through her sorceries. - Nahum 3:4


Harlotries here means paganism. James 4:4 tells us clearly that one who is friends with the world will be an enemy of God. The ‘world’ refers to the system of carnal minds. Matthew 6:24 tells us that no one can serve two masters. No one can love God and at the same time love the world. The world will attract and destroy the people (1 John 2:16-17; 1 John 5:19; Matthew 4:9). The devil wants to pull you away from God; temptation is real. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil (Matthew chapter 4). The world will continue to tempt us. Let us stand firm, remember not to love the world and bow down to Satan. Nineveh thought they were invincible. However, there is no resource that can deter the divine the judgement of God.


Closing


Revelation 20:11-12 tells us we all have to stand before the Lord one day and be judged. Let us live every day pleasing Him, spreading the gospel. Watch our thoughts. The book of Nahum reminds us of the patience of God, His righteousness, and also His wrath, for He is holy.







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