Skip to content

Nahum 1:1-7 – Who can stand before the storm-riding mountains-melting God?

The book of Micah had ended by quoting Exodus 34:6-7 (the John 3:16 of the Old Testament). The first half of Exodus 34:6-7 describes God as a God of compassion who forgives sin, iniquity, and transgression. The second half of Exodus 34:6-7 describes God a jealous and avenging God who does not clear the guilty but judges their sin. Nahum is about the second half of Exodus 34:6-7. The descriptions do not contradict one another, they are complementary and depend on repentance or the lack there of).

God’s coming to judge is described as his approaching in a thunderstorm. He stirs up the clouds like a man’s footsteps stir up dust. He causes creation to disintegrate as the mountains quake and the hills melt beneath his feet. God’s coming in wrath causes even the garden-like lands of Bashan and Carmel to wither. (Unlike in Micah where these places became like as Eden-like Gardens due to God’s compassion and forgiveness).

The question presented in 1:6 is: Who can stand before this God’s indignation? Who can endure the heat of this God’s anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. We would presume no one could.

A similar description occurs in Revelation 6:12-17 where the sun and moon go dark, the stars fall from the sky, mountains and islands are removed and all people call for mountains and rocks to cover them so they will be hidden from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? The answer to this question is then revealed in Revelation 7:12 where John sees a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.

Returning to Nahum, who can stand? In 1:7 we are told that the LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. How does one stand before such an awesome God before whom creation melts? Not by running away from him as would be instinctive but rather by running to him, into the thunderstorm. For the LORD is good to those who take refuge in him. Jesus, the lamb, has taken the fearful wrath of God on himself at the cross and now united to him through repentance and faith we can stand and live in the presence of this God.