He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:8
God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Last week, we looked at the amazing contrast between God’s love and wrath. Their existence is as real as their difference!
We briefly looked at Jonah’s adventurous journey to Nineveh. Nineveh, as we saw was the capital of every possible evil! Evil in capital E! The Ninevites were famous for chopping people up and decorating their walls with bones and limbs! They were Israel’s arch enemies and Jonah wished for nothing but their destruction and punishment. However, through a dramatic set of incidents, God sent Jonah to Nineveh. He preached God’s Word to them and wonder of wonders, the Ninevites repented!
As Jonah elaborated (in Jonah 4:2), God who is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abundant in loving kindness and One who relents from doing harm, refrained from destroying them. If their life depended on it, they wouldn’t have been able to by their human effort muster up genuine repentance. Their repentance was a complete demonstration of God’s grace and love. Lamentations 5:21 says, ‘Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored; renew our days as of old’. God had given the Ninevites the gift of repentance!
Time flew by.
Fast forward 100 years.
The people of Nineveh went back to their evil, wicked ways! Their erstwhile repentance was now a distant memory. That’s not to say their initial repentance wasn’t genuine. In fact, Jesus Himself affirmed their genuineness in Matthew 12:41, saying, ‘The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.’ Sadly though, they didn’t stick with their changed heart for too long. Within a period of 100 years, they had done a complete about-turn! They waltzed back to their depraved lifestyles!
Into this setting, God sent Prophet Nahum! He came prophesying about Nineveh’s final doom! Here’s what he declared!
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
Nahum’s prophesy characterized four attributes of God. Each of them blends beautifully with God’s wonderful character of love! We can never ever look at God’s love independent of these characteristics. The four attributes of God are:-
1. He is just
2. He is powerful
3. He is loving
4. He is righteous
Let’s examine them one by one.
…to be continued…