The Description of God painted by the Prophet Nahum in the first chapter of his prophecy is one that we constantly need to be reminded of in this day and age. Whereas He is almost universally proclaimed solely as a God of love, we need to be reminded that He is also a God to whom judgment belongs.
We have gone a long way to throw a wall between God as revealed in the Old Testament and God as He is in the New. No such wall will ever stand with the truth. He is the same in every age and eternally.
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:2-3 E.S.V
The Lord God knows nothing of the petty jealousy that blights the relationships of sinful men. Rather His jealousy is for the honour and glory of his holy name, the welfare of His chosen people and just retribution against those who would strike at Him through them.
The fact that God has wrath and takes vengeance on wrongdoers and persecutors does not negate but rather illuminate His love, firstly, showing it to be a love of justice motivated by Holiness and secondly a love of mercy shown to all who genuinely seek it and are undeserving of it.
The fact that God’s vengeance is slow reveals both its mercifulness and its terror. It gives the opportunity for consideration and repentance but makes it more terrible when it finally falls.
The Lord’s anger is no impotent threat but is backed by infinite power. The unrepentant guilty will not escape judgment, neither here or hereafter, as all creation is under God’s Lordship and control ,to use both to bless and to curse.
Who would be foolish enough to be God’s adversary?
Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. Nahum 1:6 E.S.V
As it was then so it is now, many would defy God and scoff at His chosen people. They boast of their knowledge and power compared with the seeming feebleness of people of God. However every earthquake or volcanic eruption should remind them that power belongs to God alone and He will aid and rescue His people in their extremity.
The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
8 But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries, [a]
and will pursue his enemies into darkness. Nahum 1:7-8
Like the cloud described in Exodus 14:20 The Word of God has a dark side to His enemies and a gloriously bright side towards His own people. To them He is a mighty fortress giving security come what may. His eye looks with contempt on those who would oppose Him, but He looks upon His chosen with nothing but tenderness and Fatherly care.
The same Warrior who will fully and finally overthrow His enemies will defend and deliver the Church of the firstborn.
No matter how carefully and cunningly they plot, no matter how many they gather together, God will prevail and bring their work to nothing. Those who would enslave the people of God and replace Him with vile nothings will be utterly cut off.
Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him
who brings good news,
who publishes peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah;
fulfill your vows,
for never again shall the worthless pass through you;
he is utterly cut off.Nahum 1: 15
For the people of God, His victory is good news and lasting peace.
With the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the promise is sent to the entire world that they who will come to Him as Lord and Saviour, even though they were in the past his enemies, may partake in the peace and victory promised.
Beautiful indeed are the feet of those who bring such good news.
William Burkitt 1650-1703
Spurgeon says of William Burkitt the Bible commentator, whom he read as a young man, that while he no longer valued his work as highly, yet he would have been sorry not to have had his acquaintance through his work.
It is true that as we grow older and more mature in our Christian life that we sometimes part ways with the authors and guides we read and admired in our youth. Our views change and they no longer speak to us as once they did.
In my own case I was an avid reader of people like Watchman Nee and F.B. Meyer and various others but now seldom refer to or read them. Despite this I would have been sorry to have missed my period of reading their works.
Where I found them in error, I sought other sounder authors: What was useful and helpful I remain grateful for.
In whatever ways we have changed over the years in the words of Hebrews 6: 1 “Let us go on.”