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Nahum 1:8-15 – Good news for God’s people – God’s victory

Not everyone can stand before the jealous and avenging God. Nahum speaks of the people of Nineveh. Jonah had spoken of the Exodus 34:6-7 compassion and forgiveness of God which Nineveh experienced by repenting. Now one hundred years after the story of Jonah, Nineveh experiences God’s judgment (the second half of Exodus 34:6-7) as Nineveh returns to sinful cruelty.

Nahum gives several pictures of judgment – an overflowing flood, a complete end, being pursued into the darkness, being burned like dry thorns, and falling like drunkards. What if God was not like this? What if God tolerated evil, turned a blind eye and did not seek to bring it to an end? It would be terrible.

Notice the description of Nineveh’s fall in 3:2-4: The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel, galloping horse and bounding chariot! Horsemen charging, flashing sword and glittering spear, hosts of slain, heaps of corpses, dead bodies without end— they stumble over the bodies! Why has God judged? And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms. … There is no easing your hurt; your wound is grievous. All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil?

When God bring evildoers to an end it is good news. Good news because with God’s victory over evil and evildoers, his people can live in peace. The evil doers may be many, but the LORD will have victory over them all. In his victory God’s people are no longer afflicted, their yokes are broken, and their bonds are burst. In the Old Testament, God’s victory over Nineveh brought about these things. It resulted in good news announcing the peace of God and God’s people were able to worship him freely.

Ultimately, God’s victory is not simply over Nineveh but over every principality and force of sin. This happens at the cross of Christ from which good news is proclaimed to all the nations once under oppression. We are enabled to worship God in joy and in our words. Still we look forward to the day when the God of Nahum utterly cuts off all that is opposed to God and what is worthless never again threatens us.

The book of Nahum began with the jealous and avenging God of Exodus 34:6-7 that seemed so in contrast with the compassion and forgiveness in Jonah/Micah – but by the end of Nahum, the avenging nature of God brings comfort for God’s people. Thus, the message of Nahum is the same as the meaning of the name Nahum – comfort!