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August 17, 2023 - Nahum 1-3

Another prophecy concerning Nineveh (see Jonah). This time, not such good news. Nahum preached several decades before Jonah, and the outcome for the people of Nineveh was not looking good: “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is fierce in wrath. The Lord takes vengeance against His foes; He is furious with His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power” (1:2-3). This, of course, is Nineveh’s hope, i.e., that the Lord will be slow to execute his judgment. And, indeed, he showed great patience, even sending Jonah, several decades later, to preach and to call for repentance from the city.

Eventually, the city was destroyed by the Babylonians. The verdict must be that the city and its nation, Assyria, were wicked and, thus, judged. But even then, there were those in Jonah’s day who turned to the Lord. “Who can withstand His indignation? Who can endure His burning anger?” (1:6) Well, certainly not Nineveh, which was destroyed. But, “The lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress; He cares for those who take refuge in Him” (1:7), even those among the Ninevites who take refuge in him. When all others are turning away, let us always turn to God.

Ye humble souls, approach your God

With songs of sacred praise;

For He is good, immensely good,

And kind are all His ways.

He gave His Son, His only Son

To ransom us from sin:

‘Tis thus He makes His goodness known,--

Where shall our praise begin!

To this dear refuge, Lord we come;

On this our hope relies;

A safe defense, a peaceful home,

When storms of trouble rise. -- Anne Steele (1760)

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