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Dec 11, 2022

Scripture Reading: Nahum 1:7-15

The city of Nineveh was the central city of the Assyrian empire, which was one of the cruelest, vilest, most idolatrous empires of the ancient world.  Nahum's prophecy is a tribute to the justice of the wrath of God. 

We see some crucial issues regarding God's consuming justice in this little book.  First, God's wrath is right (cf. Nah 1:3).  God's wrath is not personal revenge meted out because of a temperamental outburst; it is judicial.  It is the response of the righteous Judge against evil.  If God did not punish sin, He would not be just and, therefore, He would cease to be God.

Second, God's wrath is terrible and consuming (cf. Nah 1:4-6; Mt 8:12; 2 Thes 1:9).  The Biblical accounts of the wrath of God (the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, crucifixion of Christ) remind us of the horror and magnitude of His anger.

Third, God's wrath is certain (cf. Nah 1:8,9; Deut 32:35,39-41).  God declared that He would make a "complete end" of Nineveh (Nah 1:8,9).  "No more shall your name be perpetuated" (Nah 1:14).  Though God is patient and is "slow to anger" (Nah 1:3), His judgment will surely come and there will be no hiding from it.

In 612 B. C. the Babylonians and the Medes destroyed the city of Nineveh and it was never rebuilt.  So complete was its destruction that when Greek military leader Xenophon passed by the site 200 years later, he thought the mounds were the ruins of some other city.  Alexander the Great, fighting in a battle nearby, did not realize that he was near the ruins of Nineveh.

The Almighty is a "consuming fire" (Heb 12:29), but "He knows those who take refuge in Him" (Nah 1:7).  God’s mercy in Christ is the only safety there is from His holy justice.  Let us hope in Christ with all our heart.