1. GOD IS JUST
Did you know that the judges of the legal courts in India and many other countries are referred to and addressed as ‘Justice’? The reason is that justice normally comes from these judges. Similarly, God is our Justice! In fact, we can be certain that His justice will be absolute and unchanging. His justice can never be flexible, altered or manipulated in any way. Also, it would go completely against God’s nature to not be just!
Furthermore, God is our Creator! As our Creator, He is entitled to rule over His creation by establishing certain laws and principles. It’s like buying a car. We can’t run it as per our wish. It has certain basic features that have been designed and built in by the manufacturer. We have to run the car according to those instructions. We have to pour in the fuel that they have specified, and follow the air pressure for the tyres and their general instructions of maintenance, for the car to run efficiently. We can’t pour in tomato juice in to fuel tank and have half the tyre pressure and expect the car to function well. Leading our lives outside of the principles of God would be like not bothering about the manufacturer’s manual that comes with the car. Our Father God has created principles of living. He is the One who created us; His instructions and plans for our lives are just.
Let’s now analyze Nahum 1:2. It talks about three seemingly negative attitudes of God.
God is jealous, and the Lord avenges;
The Lord avenges and is furious.
a) JEALOUS GOD
If we had thought that wrath and love have no business being linked, then God’s jealousy surely has no relevance in His world, right? Well, we are in for a surprise! Jealously exists because of a love relationship. In a way, jealousy is an expression of love. It is a part of love.
God’s jealousy arises because the people that He loved got trapped in the web of sin and wickedness. They disregarded and forgot Him completely. Tamil beautifully describes God’s jealousy as ‘Erichalulavar’.
Imagine that our child sets out for school in the morning. Instead of attending class, suppose he goofs around with friends, watches a movie and returns home claiming that he was in school all day? If we get to know the truth, would we pat him on his back and applaud him or would we have ‘erichal (jealous anger)’? A good parent will be angry and rightly so!
Today, we only refer to jealousy in a negative sense like being envious of someone’s possession. That jealousy arises from our selfishness. There is on the other hand, a good jealousy too. This one arises from God’s nature reflecting in us. It is the result of our anger towards sin and its effects in our dear ones’ lives.
b) VENGEFUL GOD
Vengeance evokes in us feelings of ruthlessness. Our mind races to the proverb, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth’. But in the next breath, our heart skips a beat as we think, ‘Doesn’t Jesus say that we mustn’t resist an evil person? And that when someone slaps us on our right cheek, we should turn the other cheek to him?’
How do we reconcile this?
We have no right to be vengeful or to show vengeance. Only the Creator God has any right to show vengeance.
Vengeance, according to our understanding, is taking a situation where injustice has been done and setting it right. For e.g- Suppose a person borrows Rs. 5 lakhs from us and doesn’t repay. We take him to the court and present our case before the judge. If the judge is satisfied that our plaint has truth to it, he may order our debtor to repay the amount with interest! That’s making things right. The biblical definition of vengeance goes one step further – Making things right by God’s action.
…to be continued…