We tackle the book of Nahum today :)
Nahum is a judgment oracle written to proclaim absolute and irrevocable judgment against Nineveh, the great capital city of Assyria. In many ways, Nahum is a tragic sequel to Jonah, for after the Ninevites listened to Jonah’s message and repented, they reverted back to their idolatrous and violent ways – ultimately destroying the Northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. Nahum was probably written after the fall of the Northern Kingdom and during the height of the Assyrian empire. Revealing God’s absolute sovereignty, Nahum foretells Nineveh’s inevitable destruction which occurred when Nineveh fell to the Babylonians in 612 BC.
Listen to Nahum’s timeless words…
The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,
and will pursue his enemies into darkness (Nahum 1:7-8).
These words are graphically depicted in today’s reading from Revelation.
We see how the Lord protects His people as the 144,000, representing the total number of redeemed from all ages, surround the throne with loud and glorious worship. They are sealed by the name of the Father written on their foreheads, which is in direct contrast to those who have the mark of the beast (13:16-17). The redeemed are seen as being pure and celibate – but celibacy is a figurative term for not chasing after other gods (not committing adultery with idols).
Surely… The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him (Nahum 1:7).
In stark contrast to the glorious picture of the redeemed worshiping before the throne is the scene of the angels harvesting the earth. For the unrighteous are harvested and thrown into the great winepress. With gruesome imagery we read of the blood flowing from the winepress of the wrath of God.
Surely… He will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness (Nahum 1:8).
In the middle of these graphic images is a brief, but oh-so-important exhortation!
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus (Revelation 14:12).
Perseverance is the evidence of an internal saving faith. God gives us grace for both salvation and sanctification. But we must strive to enter his rest! “To be judged by the Almighty God and to be without rest for ever is a worse fate than we can imagine, and we are to be warned and to warn others. In contrast with this, how glorious is the rest and joy and blessedness of those who die in the Lord” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg. 198).
Almighty God, please grant us the strength to persevere to the end. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on the glorious rest awaiting your children. Help us “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with you, God,” with great endurance and faith!! (Micah 6:8) Amen.