Well, Lent is over, which means that my discipline of reading the minor prophets is finished. But my Lenten discipline included writing reflections on the minor prophets, so my discipline is not quite finished yet.
Today we come to Nahum, who writes about another one of Judah’s enemies, Nineveh. The book opens with Nahum proclaiming God’s judgement upon sinful Assyria. Nahum describes the Lord in 1:3 saying, “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.” Through the reading of the other minor prophets I have become very aware no nation or people, whether Israelite or otherwise, was innocent of sin. I have also become aware of how I, myself, am not innocent of sin and wandering after idols. We are all guilty of sin and God will not clear the guilty. So once again Nahum directs us to the question: How then are we to be saved? God certainly doesn’t clear the guilty, but rather than punish the guilty God punishes His Son on the cross. Jesus takes the punishment for our guilt and give us His righteousness in exchange.
One other part that intrigued me as I read Nahum was the mention of a wound for Nineveh (3:19). I couldn’t help but thinking that I had heard this sort of thing before. Yes, I had heard this before, it’s in Micah 1:9. Except in Micah the wound was supposed to be Judah’s wound, a wound that only the Great Physician is able to heal. It turns out that it’s not only Judah whose hurt by this wound, but those outside Judah as well. Indeed, all people are inflicted by this wound, all those affected by sin and death. And God’s healing power will be upon them as well, given first to the Jew and then to all the world (Rom 1:16).
Both Nahum and Jonah speak to Nineveh, yet they both give drastically different messages. Jonah gives a message of hope and mercy, while Nahum gives a message of judgement and impending doom. What’s going on? Apparently, the people of Nineveh are not as willing to hear and receive God’s message from Nahum as they were for Jonah. Yet they were still proclaiming the same message of repentance that God has given us, He tears us down by the threat of the Law, and shows us hope and mercy in Christ, the Messiah, who heals our wound that leads to death.