In the book of Jonah we learned of God’s mercy to the people of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. In Nahum we find His justice coming against this same imperial power. Both the Lord’s gentleness and His vengeance are components of His good news for His covenant people. Without His righteous judgments, God’s family would face the persecutions of their oppressors forever. Without His gracious forgiveness, there could be no hope of salvation for anyone.
The Lord is a “jealous and avenging God.” He comes to the aid of all those who are called by His Name. Though He is “slow to anger,” He is also “great in power,” and He will “by no means clear the guilty.”
Who is the God of the Jews who dares to assert His dominance over all those who would threaten the well-being of His elect? Jehovah is far above all imaginary gods. “The clouds are the dust of His feet.” He created all things, and the massive formations of moisture that fill the skies and bring rain upon the earth are under His sovereign authority. He is in charge of every detail both in this fading world and in the age to come.
One further doctrine concerning God is of vital importance: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.” Here alone can mankind receive security—in the shelter of the Almighty. But for any who resist His purposes, “He will make a complete end of His adversaries.” All plots against Him must ultimately fail. Those who would threaten the weak are no match for the Lord.
Compare the God of the Jews with the supreme ruler of the Assyrian Empire. The ruthless leader who once had his throne in Nineveh was “cut down” and has passed away, but the Lord lives forever to rescue His chosen ones. All who put their trust in mortal princes will be severely disappointed, but those who live by faith in God will find His promises to be entirely true.
The destruction of every deadly menace is a vital part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There can be no assurance of eternal shalom for those who rest in Jesus Christ unless the powers of darkness are entirely cut off from the Lord’s eternal kingdom. “Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!” Christ is victorious, and the forces of evil shall be no more.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God Almighty, judgment will come upon Your enemies. You are slow to anger, but when You come in vengeance, who can stand? When Your wrath is poured out like fire, You will destroy Your adversaries. You love those who take refuge in You. Our greatest desire is to rejoice in Your protective love forever. Bring us good news of the perfect holiness of Your Son. Publish the message of Your peace to Your people throughout the world. Keep every invading foe far away from us, that Your kingdom may be utterly secure.