At the close of yesterday’s reading, the Book of Nahum was covered. The messages of Nahum were specifically addressed to Judah and Nineveh. and were preached somewhere between 663 and 612 BC. In 612 BC, the city of Nineveh fell to the Babylonians, in fulfillment of Nahum’s prophesy.
What is noteworthy is that in the Book of Jonah, written some 100-120 years before Nahum, the Ninevites had responded to the preaching of Jonah, and were spared God’s judgment when they repented at his preaching. They enjoyed God’s forgiving grace for about 150 years before they experienced the devastating judgment so graphically predicted by Nahum.
When God spared Nineveh the 1st time, they experienced the truth of one of the most important verses in the Old Testament, Exodus 34:6,7a: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” This portion of Scripture is quoted often in the Old Testament. And all of God’s people rejoice in what these words say of our God. Even a pagan nation like Assyria availed itself of its truth when Jonah had preached in their capital of Nineveh.
Nahum, writing over a 100 years after Jonah, at the high point of Nineveh, vividly sets forth the precipitous downfall of a later, unrepentant generation. Nahum 1:3 quotes the 2nd half of Exodus 34:7 (“will not leave the guilty unpunished”). The point is clearly and unmistakably made that, though God is slow to anger, punishment is certain and sure for unrepentant sinners. (Austel)
We see this same point made by Habbakkuk in his prophetic messages from the LORD. God will bring judgment to an unrepentant Judah through the instrumentality of Babylon. And then, after Babylon has been used as a rod of wrath by the LORD against His people, the LORD will turn against an unrepentant Babylon. The LORD is no respecter of persons.
He will show mercy, love and forgiveness to any individual or people group that repents, but He will bring judgment to anyone or any group of people who continue in their wickedness and injustice. Let us not presume on God’s long-suffering love and let us rejoice in the truth that the the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a forgiving God. This the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pastor John