Nahum 1:1 (NIV) 1 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
On verse 1: Here is some background info on the book of Nahum that you may find helpful:
According to many scholars, the book of Nahum was written between approximately 663 and 612 B.C.
Not much is known about Nahum. Nahum was a prophet who came from the village of Elkosh. The whereabouts of the village of Elkosh are not known, although some scholars suggest that it is actually in Capernaum where Jesus would begin his ministry. Capernaum literally means
village of Nahum”.
Nahum’s name means “comforter”. This may seem odd given the doomy and gloomy message Nahum has here for the city of Nineveh. That said, the book of Nahum also contains important words of comfort for Nahum’s own people of Judah.
The purpose of Nahum’s message was to foretell the fall of Nineveh, the most important city in the Assyrian empire. For those of you who studied the book of Jonah (written probably between 793 to 753 B.C.), you will recall that God had sent a prophet Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach a message of repentance to that city. As a result everyone in Nineveh, including the king, repented. The book of Nahum was written about 100 years after this. Although the Ninevites in Jonah’s time turned back to God, the later Ninevites in Nahum’s time did not. Thus the book of Nahum is a message of warning for a new generation of Ninevites.
Nahum 1:2-6 (NIV) 2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORDtakes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished…
On verses 2-3a: God is passionate about you and jealous for you. But isn’t jealousy a sin? Unlike a lot of us when we get jealous, God’s jealousy is not born out of insecurity or fear. Rather, God’s jealousy is based in His justice. God alone is deserving of the throne in our lives. Knowing this, God is jealous in that He refuses to share His rightful place as King in our lives with anyone else. As He says in Isaiah 48:11, “I will not yield my glory to another”. He is jealous for your love.
Also, God knows that we are at our best and most blessed when we give God His rightful place on the throne of our hearts. God is jealous in that He is fiercely protective of you and me.
Nahum 1:3-5 (NIV) 3 …His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade. 5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.
On verses 3b-5: God is sovereign over all creation. The biggest mountains are no match for Him. God is awesome in His power.
Nahum 1:6-8 (NIV) 6 Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. 7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, 8 but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of [Nineveh]; he will pursue his foes into darkness.
On verses 6-8: On one hand, God is just and full of unyielding wrath against sin. On the other hand, God is also a good refuge for those who trust in Him. How can sinners like us who deserve God’s wrath have God as our refuge? It’s only through Jesus Christ. Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross we are no longer targets of God’s wrath but objects of God’s mercy. Instead of running from God in fear, we can run to Him in faith and experience Him as our refuge. It’s all because of Jesus.
Nahum 1:9-11 (NIV) 9 Whatever they plot against the LORD he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time. 10 They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble. 11 From you, [O Nineveh,] has one come forth who plots evil against the LORD and counsels wickedness.
On verses 9-11: Nahum perceives that people in Nineveh are plotting against the Lord (v9), that is, rebelling against God and perhaps plotting against God’s people. However, God is committed to making sure their plans do not ultimately succeed. What can we learn from this? You can never fight God and win. In the end God will have His way. The question is: will we humbly submit to His way and be saved, or will we pridefully rebel and be run over?
Nahum 1:12-15 (NIV) 12 This is what the LORD says: “Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be cut off and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, [O Judah,] I will afflict you no more. 13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.” 14 The LORD has given a command concerning you, [Nineveh]: “You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile.” 15 Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
On verses 12-15: God promises to bring comfort, relief and rescue to the people of Judah, who have apparently been suffering at the hands of the Ninevites. In particular, Nahum sees a vision of the beautiful feet of someone on the mountains bringing good news and proclaiming peace. The prophet Isaiah would see a similar vision (see Isaiah 52:7). For us there is One who is beautiful beyond compare, who brings good news and who proclaims peace. He is the one who brings comfort, relief and rescue like nothing and no one else can. His name is Jesus.
Heavenly Father, thank You are being jealous for my love. Thank You for being both full of justice and full of mercy, both expressed through Your Son Jesus Christ when He died on the cross. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!