Saturday, February 06, 2021

2021.02.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Nahum 1:1–8

Read Nahum 1:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What is this prophecy called (Nahum 1:1)? Against whom? What is the scroll called? Whose vision? From what place? What does God declare about Himself in Nahum 1:2? What does He say three times? What does He say twice? What fact about Yahweh makes His vengeance and fury even more notable (Nahum 1:3a)? What fact about Him makes His vengeance and fury so dangerous? What makes His vengeance and fury sure—what will He not do (verse 3b)? What indicators has He given of the greatness of His coming vengeance and fury (verse 3c through Nahum 1:5d)? What questions do Nahum 1:6a-b ask? What is the implied answer? How does  verse 6c–d illustrate that answer? What other fact about Yahweh does Nahum 1:7a introduce? What does this make Him (verse 7b)? To whom—whom does He acknowledge and with whom does He identify (verse 7c)? But what is He going to do to Nineveh, with what (Nahum 1:8a-b)? What will pursue whom (verse 8c)?

Nahum takes us from the general to specific: general facts about God’s relation to His creatures (Nahum 1:2-3) and the impact this has upon them (Nahum 1:4-5), to what this means specifically for Nineveh (Nahum 1:8) and specifically for every reader and hearer of this prophecy (Nahum 1:6-7).

God uses an instrument like Nahum (Nahum 1:1)—but the point of the passage is not Nahum but Nahum’s God (Nahum 1:2-3). Among God’s perfections, in relation to a world that includes “adversaries and enemies” (Nahum 1:2), is the perfection of His vengeance. Among God’s perfections, in relation to a world that includes “the wicked” (Nahum 1:3), is the perfection of His righteous fury. Of course, the distinction between these two is not so stark, because His enemies are the wicked, and His fury is an expression of His jealousy and vengeance.

Behold your God! We like to say, “God is love.” But this is not His only perfection. Considering the context, we may also say with Nahum 1:2, “God is jealous.” “Yahweh is fury.” “Yahweh is vengeance.” Our flesh has difficulty wrestling with such characteristics of our God. But, the Spirit boldly sets Him forth before us.

Behold His power! We’re so impressed with whirlwinds and storms, which have their way with us. But, they are at the complete whim of Him Who has His way with them (Nahum 1:3). We cannot help what the clouds do to us, but He is so far over them as we are over the dirt that we don’t even notice until mama asks who tracked in some dirt.

Behold our world! The theme here is still God, but there’s a transition in the poetry in the end of verse 3, into Nahum 1:4, where the language pays more attention to the world as He impacts it. Seas, rivers, and mountains seem very grand and stable and powerful to us, but what are they doing in Nahum 1:4-5? Drying up, withering, languishing, quaking, melting, and heaving. 

From the general to the specific, Nineveh seems so stable and proud, but Nahum 1:8 tells us that it is in the same position as the world right before the flood in Genesis 6: about to be unavoidably (verse 8a), utterly (verse 8b) and relentlessly (verse 8c) destroyed.

But that brings us to the most important specificity, which is summarized in the rhetorical questions of Nahum 1:6 and the promises/declarations of Nahum 1:7

If this is the kind of God that the true and living God is, and if this is what impact His vengeance and fury have upon the most invulnerable created things, then who can stand before His indignation and anger (Nahum 1:6). The text demands that you and I each answer for ourselves, “certainly not I! I could never stand against His wrath!”

But if this is the level of His greatness, and if the only reason the wicked aren’t already destroyed is because He has restrained that anger for a time (Nahum 1:3a), then how great is the safety and the security of those whose refuge He is (Nahum 1:7). The only possible place of safety from Yahweh is Yahweh Himself!!

Goodness is also one of His perfections (verse 7a). Trusting in Him brings being joined to Him and identified with Him (verse 7c). So that His power works for us, rather than against us (verse 7b). He is a stronghold in the day of trouble. Yes, in all our temporary days of little troubles. But most importantly, He is a stronghold in that great day of infinite and eternal trouble for those who appear before Yahweh without Yahweh Himself—our Lord Jesus Christ—as their defense.

Romans 8:31–34. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

What place do God’s vengeance and wrath have in your understanding of and adoration of Him? In what troubles is He currently your refuge? How much do you live in light of the judgment day?

Suggested songs: ARP7B “God Is My Shield” or TPH389 “Great God, What Do I See and Hear!”

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