Faithlife Sermons

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*Nahum 1**.*
*Recap intro:* Remember the introduction to Nahum – who was the prophecy against?
(clue v.1) – Nineveh, the capital of that cruel and wicked empire of Assyria that oppressed God's people for years.
Do you recall what the name "Nahum" means?
And do you remember what I said that Assyria signified?
– assertive selfish man.
So this was a message of consolation for God's people who had suffered under the hand of assertive, forceful, cruel men.
Assyria was so powerfu1!
They couldn't be stopped, who could withstand them?! What could you do against one with that power when you were so poor, small, insignificant and weak?
What can the church, God's people, do?
We are small and weak, the world is so powerful and ruthless, how can we prevail against them, how can we even survive when the forces of evil are pitted against us?
Look at Assyria, they had conquered the world!
Look at assertive man, he always prevails!
What can we do?
We look at the powerful oppressor – and there's the problem – we need to have a vision of our God!! Assyria may look powerful but it looks mighty puny when we see יהוה! Are you oppressed by the assertive powerful, do you feel overwhelmed and impotent?
Do those you contend with seem to strong?
I mean how can we prevail with the Gospel - we are a tiny fellowship in the midst of a spiritual hostile people.
We need to look to the greatness of our God!
Know who He is!
If you don't feel the powerful coming against you now there is coming a day when this prophecy will apply – powerful man is going to come with all their might against God's people, against Jerusalem.
In the days to come we have to know our God, know His surpassing greatness.
This prophecy contains a tremendous revelation of יהוה - words too awesome for mere man to expound.
They are weighty words, an "oracle" or "burden" – prophecy was not easy it came as a burden on the prophets as they had to speak of dreadful events.
They carried the weight of God's wrath and men's misdeeds on their shoulders.
In the face of an overwhelming aggressor יהוה gives His people a revelation of who He is - we all need a vision of Him.
I want to present you with a vision of God! - so let's pray.*[Read
Nahum 1]*
*What is your vision of God like?* *(v.1)*/‘/
*Jealous and avenging (v.2):*
Is your concept of God meek, mild, infinitely tolerant, or perhaps unconcerned with man’s affairs?
A different picture of God’s character is portrayed here in His Word!
He punishes, exacts retribution, takes revenge upon those who do evil and those who harm His people (cf.
*Genesis 12:3*/ And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse./).
He is jealous for His people and jealous for His honour.
His Name is bound up with His people.
Those who oppose them, oppose God - those who maltreat them are in essence doing so to יהוה Himself.
This is a statement of who God is (יהוה 3x, אֵל1x).
Three times it states that He is avenging.
Loving?
but wrathful also!
He takes vengeance upon the persecutors of His people, upon His adversaries, those who oppose Him.
He stores up wrath to be released upon His enemies in the day of His wrath.
People think that God ignores their evil ways, that they have got away with their cruelty to His people, and their opposition to God - but in fact all they are doing is causing God’s wrath against them to accumulate until it reaches such a level that it will be released in a mighty blast!
(cf.
*Romans 2:2-6** */And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.
But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds:/)./
/The jealousy of God reflects His concern that all men recognise His glory, that they recognise Him for Who He is.
It also reflects His deep concern for His people, He watches over them as a father over his children, they had been badly ill-treated by Assyria, and now God will reward those who have done it.
His vengeance and wrath will come on them.
The same will eventually happen to all who mistreat His people.
It had been delayed on Assyria.
But at last it had to come.
The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small.
‘יהוה avenges and is full of wrath.’
We like to stress God’s love and compassion.
And that is very true.
But here we have the other side of the picture.
He also takes vengeance on those who sin, and that includes those who treat His people badly.
There is coming a day when a jealous God will take vengeance – this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
*Slow to anger (v.3)*: יהוה does indeed take vengeance, but it seems that He does nothing, ignores the evil oppression of the assertive, the reason is that He is slow to become angry - for this reason we think that He doesn’t get angry - but it is slowly building up and up until the time when it is released with mighty force - for He is great in power!
יהוה only gets angry when there is overwhelming cause - for slowness to anger is an essential and intrinsic aspect of who He is (cf.
*Exodus 33:18-23**; 34:5-7* /Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”
And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of //יהוה// before you; ....... //יהוה// descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of //יהוה//.//
Then //יהוה// //passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “//יהוה//,// //יהוה// God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth”/).
יהוה does not act hastily.
He does not lose His temper.
He is ‘slow to anger’.
His wrath is revealed only when it is fully and finally deserved.
But the guilt of the Assyrians (and shortly mankind in general) had built up to such an extent that that great patience of יהוה had been exhausted - His very long fuse had been used up!
Now He would act, for He is ...
*Great in power (v.3,5)*:– יהוה Himself is coming in judgement!
The earth itself trembles at His rebuke!
It has taken a while to arouse His anger but fierce wrath is to be poured out upon Assyria.
The storm of יהוה’s wrath, the heat of His anger is released and the earth trembles - even the mighty, everlasting mountains are shaken – such is the terror and awesomeness of His judgement.
The hills dissolve, the land is upheaved – that is power to be reckoned with!
What is the might of assertive man before such power?! Assyria is puny in comparison with such might.
Are you weak, unable to withstand the forces against you – look to the might of your God! /All /those dwelling in the world are in upheaval!
יהוהּ is angry!
Who can stand it?!
It is terrifying!
A dreadful time!
יהוה is ALMIGHTY!
Who can withstand Him when His anger is poured out in power?! – and it will be!
When you are under the hand of the powerful it is good to know and consider the greatness of God's power.
Assyria should have remembered how great and powerful He was by the way that He had delivered Jerusalem (Isaiah 36 - 38).
But rather they had thought that they could mock at יהוהּ.
He is great in power.
His slowness to respond to sin is not because of weakness but because of strength.
He is powerful enough to be able to delay judgement until He Himself determines that it is necessary.
But when He does decide to judge, nothing will prevent Him and He is well able to rescue the weak from the claws of the powerful.
Did the mountains quake when Assyria was defeated?
Did the hills dissolve?
Well, is this prophecy just being poetic or is it really going to happen?
יהוה will come to judge assertive man and when He does the mountains will indeed quake at His presence and the whole world be upheaved!
There is a fulfilment yet to come.
Do you know the greatness of יהוה 's power?
It is good to meditate upon it.
*Punishing evil (v.3,4):*-
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