God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. (Nahum 1:2-3)
The Way Of The Lord
There is no more clear evidence of the character of the Lord God than what is revealed in the Old Testament. When Moses began the book of Genesis, he declared that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. What follows after that is the unfolding of the nature of God in His severity and His goodness. Men attempted to trifle with God and found Him unyielding. The story of Noah and the flood that destroyed all that had the breath of life save eight souls reminds man early on that God means what He says and demands obedience. Reading the history of the nation of Israel from deliverance out of Egypt to the days of Jesus establishes how jealous and powerful the Lord God shows Himself. There can be no question of who God is. His character is fully revealed in the Old Testament so that man can know how to worship Him, honor His name and give glory to the unchanging nature of the Creator. No one will stand before God in judgment and say they could not know who God is. The scriptures reveal Him in every detail.
Nahum the prophet was tasked with declaring the end of the great city of Nineveh. As capital of the Assyrian empire, Nineveh was the center of one of the great kingdoms of the world. The Lord used the Assyrians to punish His own people because of their rebellion against His word. When God used other nations to inflict judgment upon His people He was not suggesting they were more righteous. While the Assyrians were able to destroy the northern ten tribes of Israel they would not go unscathed from the wrath of God. The book of Nahum is the testimony of the final decimation of the Assyrian empire by the hand of the Ruler of all the heavens and earth. There is no doubt who brought the judgment upon the city of Nineveh and from this text we learn about the character of the God. It should be noted that God does not change and what Nahum declared so many generations ago is still true today.
God is a jealous God. He demands complete allegiance and nothing less will be accepted. Man has struggled with this because he will resist the authority of anyone higher than himself. The Lord is unmoving in this part of his character. If God is not first there is nothing else. He will not accept anything but complete and absolute rule in the life of all those who come to Him. It is unquestioned loyalty. The history of Israel is a powerful example of how often they tried to walk away from God and serve other gods; only to find the wrath of God avenging their disobedience. His jealousy is served by His avenging those who disobey His will. The law of the Lord is perfect demanding complete obedience. He will take vengeance on all those who ignore Him, despise Him and try to replace Him with the gods of self. His severity is real. Nahum will show the love of God because the Lord is slow to anger. It is not easy to rouse the fury of the Lord. When the Bible tells the story of God’s wrath upon men, it is because the final straw of mercy has been given and there is no more hope. Why did He destroy the world in the days of Noah or the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? The patience of the Lord had come to an end. He did not act hastily in their destruction. His anger was slowing brought to the judgment He pronounced and carried out by His will. Nineveh had received the blessing of God’s mercy with the preaching of Jonah. The whole city repented and turned to God. By the time of Nahum’s vision there was little hope remaining.
God is love and for that all men should be thankful. This should not dissuade the heart from acknowledging that He is still a jealous God and will avenge those who disregard His word. Too many people have fashioned the Lord God into an image of kindness that would never punish anyone for whatever lifestyle they choose to live. Believing the Lord is only a loving God and that man can do whatever he desires because God will understand – will find a horrible reality in judgment when they feel the vengeance and wrath of His jealousy. He will not exonerate the wicked. Blessed is the man who obeys the will of the Father. Let those who refuse to obey God be warned of the wrath to come.