Nahum Part 2
So last week we continued on with our series on the minor prophets by beginning a look at the book of Nahum
Now unlike what we have done in some of the earlier books, for decided to look less at the sum of his message and instead to read between the lines of what he said
Just to bring you up to speed in case you weren’t here last week, the book of Nahum is a message of judgement to the city of Nineveh
Nineveh was a city of the Assyrians and its reputation as a cruel and ruthless city was well founded and well known around the world
But unlike Jonah, Nahum never took his message to Nineveh itself
Instead his message was spoken only in the southern kingdom of Judah and we have no proof that it ever even made it to that wicked city
But I don’t think that this is really all that important because although his message was about Nineveh I don’t believe that Nahum ever expected them to hear it
In fact I believe that his message was really to the people of Judah who were under constant threat and persecution by the Assyrians
When you read between the lines of Nahum’s message you realize that he spends a lot of time proclaiming the positive characteristics of Yahweh
This I believe was an attempt to encourage the people of Judah and give them hope in the face of their hardships and I believe that we can receive the same thing
Last week we went over the first 7 characteristics that Nahum talks about
God is the Avenger
God is Patient
God is Powerful
God is in Control
God is Good
God is our Refuge
God Cares for us
And so now we move on to characteristic # 8 which is found in verse 9
Whatever they plot against the Lord he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time.
Don’t allow the current state of things to fool you, God IS and WILL BE the ultimate VICTOR
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
NIVFor in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Oh could I preach on that for the next hour but we still have 4 more hidden characteristics to look for and the next one is in verse 13
Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.”
This was spoken to Judah not Nineveh and it shows us that #9 God sets us FREE!
I was raised on the music of the gospel quartets with groups like Nations and I still have some of their albums which I listen to from time to time
On their live album the tenor singer, Dan Tomen Jr. is introducing a song and he refers to God as “the setter freer” and that term has always stuck with me since my childhood
That’s why I love to sing that song “I Am Free” because He is the setter freer no matter what it is you are in bondage or captivity to, He is the setter freer
Bondage to sin, bondage to generational curse, bondage to habits, bondage to emotions/feelings, bondage to whatever, it doesn’t matter, Christ has come so that we might be free
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Likewise characteristic #10 is that He gives PEACE
Likewise characteristic #10 is that He gives PEACE
Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
Life is more hectic and stressful and worrisome than it has ever before
And just a couple of weeks ago we had our own experience with terrorism as 2 young lives were snuffed out while eating supper at restaurants on a street in Toronto
How do you find peace when the world is coming apart at the seems
Or forget for a second about the world at large, How do you find peace when your own personal world is coming apart at the seems?
When nothing is what it is supposed to be,and everything seems upside down.
Simple that kind of peace can only be found in one place, in one person, in Jesus Christ
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
We also find our 11th characteristic at the end of that same verse as God promise to protect His people,
“Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.”
Of course this speaks of the day when God will put all things under His rule but even in the meantime we can count on His PROTECTION
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Because He has overcome the world we can have the confidence that there is nothing that this world can do to us, that there is nothing that can take place in our life that doesn’t first have to go through Him and He has our back as it were
Okay now for our 12th and final characteristic and for this one we have to go to chapter 2:2
The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines.
He is the God who RESTORES
Make no mistake that enemy kills, steals, and destroys as tells us and he is very good at his job and I am certain that at some point he has done that to you and if not he will
But we can rest in the assurance that God is still that God that restores
No matter what the enemy has taken from you God can and will restore it to you if you will look to Him to do so
In the 51st Psalm David confesses his sins to God and cries out for forgiveness and mercy and then in verse 12 asks this
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
What is it you are missing? What has God’s Word promised you that you no longer have? What has the enemy stolen from you?
Like David confess your sin to God, trust in His forgiveness and mercy and ask Him to restore that which is missing
It may be something from this list like peace or comfort or maybe it’s from the fruit of the Spirit like joy or maybe it’s something a lot more personal like your health
Whatever it may be, if the enemy has stolen it from you, I know for a fact that God wants to restore it to you if you will allow Him to
In the closing of his first epistle, Peter says this,
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Did you catch that?
He Himself will restore you
He won’t send an angel, He won’t send a Pastor or an evangelist, He’ll do it Himself so that it is done wholly, completely and the way that He wants it to be
Don’t miss out on
So there you have it, the book of Nahum, a book of judgement and wrath but when you read between the lines it is a book of hope and encouragement revealing a God who we can call upon rely upon