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Our Great and Awesome God

White cherry blossoms reflecting God's holiness
Photo Credit: Benjamin Joyce

May 10, 2023

Praying Friends,

Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival. As you pray today, remember the greatness and awesomeness of your God.

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays,” said Søren Kierkegaard.

Have you ever heard of the prophet Nahum? We hardly know any details about this man of God other than the fact that he came from Elkosh, and scholars cannot agree as to its location. Because of his concern for Judah, some put the unknown city in southern Judah.

He was an unknown man from an unknown place with a message from God. Never underestimate the value of one person with words from God.

The name Nahum means “comfort” or “consolation.” This is very appropriate since his message of judgment upon the mighty, cruel nation of Assyria and its capital, Nineveh, would bring comfort to God’s people.

Assyria was the intimidating, invincible, tyrant nation to the north that terrorized the people of God and surrounding areas. God’s people would have readily welcomed Nahum’s message of freedom from the Assyrian stranglehold.

The history of Nineveh, ancient capital of the Assyrian empire, is well documented. It was built by Nimrod and first mentioned in Genesis (Genesis 10:11-12). The Assyrian empire was one of the most ruthless, inhumane, powerful, and idolatrous empires in the world. Its kings boasted of their barbarous and merciless battle campaigns in history.

No wonder Jonah didn’t want to go there some 150 years prior to Nahum. The book of Jonah revealed the love, kindness, and forgiveness of God, and the book of Nahum revealed the holiness and righteousness of God. Jonah’s message was a call to repentance and Nahum was a prophecy of final judgment and doom on a people who resolutely turned away from God and embraced wickedness and rebellion, mocking God (2 Kings 18).

What Nahum did in his book was to bring the focus of God’s people back to God Himself. He opens by saying, “The LORD is jealous” (Nahum 1:2 ESV). What does that mean? Jealousy is most often taken as a negative trait, but God is only good. In this context, God’s jealousy means that He is zealous to protect what belongs to Him (Deuteronomy 6:15). He is righteous in relation to His covenant people (Judah) and towards His wicked oppressors.

Nahum goes a step further to say that, “the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries and keeps wrath for His enemies” (Nahum 1:2). This may be difficult for us to fully grasp, but it is evidence of the justice of God’s heart. He is a God who in His time and in His way will put everything right. Elliot E. Johnson says, “God avenges His people in the sense that He champions their cause against their enemies.”

Nahum goes on to say, “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty” (Nahum 1:3). Slow to anger means that He withholds His judgment for as long as He can. His power is great and He could judge immediately, but He compassionately waits for repentance. When there is no repentance, there is no escape. This happened to the Assyrians in 612 BC when the city of Nineveh was destroyed by the Babylonians.

Nahum’s oracles are a warning to the enemies of God, but also a great comfort to His people. “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him” (Nahum 1:7).

The LORD is good. This is at the core of His eternal nature. The psalmist said this as well, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:1-2).

God’s goodness is why we can have such confidence in our God. He is good and will therefore do what is good in every situation. Whether it is back in the days of Nahum or today, the LORD is good and we can trust Him fully.

“He is a stronghold in the day of trouble,” meaning He is a place of safety and fortification to those who trust in Him. Judah was able to rest in this blessed security and so can God’s people today.

The Hebrew word for refuge is mā ôz. It means a strong fortified place.

Find in Him your source of comfort.

Find in Him your source of shelter.

Find in Him the assurance you need for this present day with all its trials and troubles.

Nahum says, “The LORD is good…he knows those who take refuge in him.” Just as Judah was known by the LORD, so are you. You are not a number to God. You are not lost in the masses of humanity. Your needs are not being overlooked. You belong to Him and He knows you in the deepest of ways.

Don’t allow the enemy to frighten or paralyze you today. The LORD is your refuge and He will be your protection.

Nahum had a challenge for Judah. He said, “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). God was faithful to His promises as He always is, and it elicited the devotion and commitment of His people.

Basically, God was telling them not to give up.

I am sovereign.

I am in control.

I will deal with your enemies.

You Judah, you brother, you sister keep living in obedience to Me.

God was doing something great in Judah. “For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty of Israel,” (Nahum 2:2). He was bringing back the glory of His great name.

Ultimately, the glory and majesty of God is all that matters. All who resist Him will be judged, and all who trust in Him will find blessing.

May God encourage us to live for Him today.

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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