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 explored in great detail the contrasting truths of the above verses.
God is love.
God is angry.
Let’s reiterate this profound truth yet again.
God views sin only with pure wrath and abhorrence. He views the sinner also with wrath yet tempers it with love, mercy, longsuffering and loving kindness.
A terrific example of this convergence was God’s love towards the Ninevites. The reluctant prophet Jonah first preached God’s Word to these wicked people. He forgave them their sins when they repented and wrapped them with His tender arms. But before long, they struggled out of his loving embrace and crept back to sin’s devious clutches.
Their arrogance bloomed to preposterous heights. In fact, the Assyrian King Sennacherib challenged the Israelites asking if there was any God who could save them from him!
In effect, he was saying that he was bigger than God!
Angry and saddened by their rebellion, God sent Prophet Nahum to prophesy destruction and doom on them. Last week, we saw the holistic picture of God’s love that Prophet Nahum painted as part of his prophecy. He said that God is –
c) Love and mercy
We have already analyzed God’s ‘just’ character. Today, let’s look at the second one.
GOD IS POWERFUL
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.
4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry,
And dries up all the rivers.
Bashan and Carmel wither,
And the flower of Lebanon wilts.
5 The mountains quake before Him,
The hills melt,
And the earth heaves at His presence,
Yes, the world and all who dwell in it.
Did you notice the choice of words in verse 3? ‘The Lord is slow to anger and great in power’. This implies that even though He is all powerful, God will not hastily act or withhold His goodness. It also implies that even though sin and wickedness abound in the world, God won’t wipe out the earth in anger. God is powerful. Yet He is kind and full of love.
Through the above verse, Prophet Nahum warns the Ninevites that God’s refrain from destroying them is not an indication of His impotency. He points them to three things that demonstrate God’s power:-
1) WIND AND STORM
…The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm,
And the clouds are the dust of His feet
Nahum calls out attention to the whirlwind, the storms and the clouds. He says that these powerful elements are in fact putty in the hands of the all-powerful Creator God!!
2) RIVERS AND SEAS
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers.
Bashan and Carmel wither, and the flower of Lebanon wilts
Next, Nahum reminds them from history at God’s wonders over the seas and rivers. On numerous occasions, God dried up the water bodies! He has even caused the lush greenery around us to wilt and dry up.
3) HILLS AND MOUNTAINS
The mountains quake before Him, the hills melt, and the earth heaves at His presence, yes, the world and all who dwell in it.
Finally, Nahum talks about the towering, majestic hills and mountains. He says that even they quake and shake before God! So powerful is this God of ours!
…to be continued…