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Day 137 – Thru the Bible
Today we read Nahum and continue Psalms. Here is the overview video for Nahum.
Video – Read Scripture: Nahum
How does today’s video help you understand Nahum better?
Nahum 1 – Like Babylon, Nineveh comes to stand for those who have hardened themselves to God and oppose both the Lord and His people. God’s people can rejoice in God’s justice only because they have themselves been humbled and chastened, having been brought to repentance through His great patience. God’s patience manifests His love and His desire that all would repent and turn to Him, but this patience should not be mistaken for approval of the unrepentant (Romans 8:22; 2 Peter 3:8–10). Divine jealousy is a corollary of divine love and the complement to divine wrath. God’s justice and power are exhibited in judgment on Nineveh, but even more so in His only Son who, while we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10), bore final judgment for us (Romans 8:1), fully satisfying the penalty for our sin (John 19:30).
God is here presented in the imagery of a warrior, riding down upon the whirlwind and storm as if in a chariot. Nature’s elements as part of His weaponry strike fear and terror in His enemies (Exodus 14–15; Psalm 46:9; Isaiah 66:15; Revelation 6:2; 14:14; 19:11). The storm-like warrior God of the Old Testament is the very same one who commanded the wind and the waves to be still, instilling fear in those who witnessed it, but who united Himself to fallen humanity to bear the brunt of the storm as well (Mark 4:40–41; Hebrews 2:9–11).
God’s goodness, once known in exile (Hosea 2:14), now came in salvation. Yet His ultimate goodness is manifested in Jesus, so that we can hope in future salvation from every aspect of the fall (Romans 8:32).
God is a refuge (Psalm 46:1) who, in Jesus, bids us come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28–30). God’s kingdom has been decisively inaugurated in Jesus to save His people and overthrow His and our enemies, so that there is an end to bondage and fear (Luke 2:10, 14; Hebrews 2:14).
Judgment accompanies salvation. In Jesus we see the ultimate manifestation of this truth, as the mighty will be brought down from their thrones (Luke 2:34, 51–52) and the imperial powers will be overthrown (Colossians 2:15). Affliction by God, like Israel’s at the hands of Assyria, serves God’s gracious purpose of conquering evil (or turning His people from it) and is always under His wise control. Our affliction has fallen upon Jesus (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24), so that what we suffer is not toward final judgment but toward fatherly discipline (Hebrews 12:5–11) and for our own good (2 Corinthians 1:3–6).
The gospel is “good news” brought by One who “publishes peace” (Romans 10:15). The good news is not only peace and restoration from exile for God’s people but also judgment of oppressors. We can be patient in hope (Romans 12:12).
How have you experienced God being patient with you?
Nahum 2 – The unexpected calamity falling upon wicked Nineveh produces anguish. Such is the state of all who experience the curse of the fall—loss of hope, fear, anguish, and terror are constant companions of those who see their worldly fortresses of security melt away.
In the midst of this punishing disaster, the majesty of God’s people would be restored, a restoration that ultimately climaxes in and is secured by Jesus (Luke 2:32). The shame of exile and captivity would be borne away in the restoring work of the cross. The sudden and climactic fall of all that seemed unconquerable shocks and confuses those who put their trust in the sandy strongholds of this life for their security (Matthew 7:26–27; Luke 1:51). But the one who trusts on the foundation of God’s word in Jesus will never be put to shame (Hebrews 11:16; Romans 5:5; 9:33; 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6). God will vindicate us openly through Jesus at His second coming.
“I am against you,” God says to Nineveh. So it is for all who refuse to bow the knee in trusting contrition.
How do we know that God is no longer against us—in Jesus, He is for us? Hint: Romans 8:31.
Nahum 3 – The final list of charges against Nineveh include “whorings”. A shocking metaphor for idolatry, it is the giving away of affection that rightfully belongs to another. While literal fornication and adultery are sins in their own right, used metaphorically in this way the term reveals the deepest roots of sin, which is adulterous unfaithfulness to our Creator.
Nineveh will become a proverb for the ultimate catastrophe: human autonomy. Jesus warns us not to build on any foundation other than God’s Word, or our end will be the same (Matthew 7:24–27). Imperial power is no power before God’s, as Jesus would one day tell Pilate (John 19:11).
Throughout this passage the major theme is shame. Nineveh, famous for its brazen shaming of other nations through its might and wickedness, will have the tables turned on it. Continuing the adultery metaphor, God says He will expose Nineveh in all its shame for the whole world to see. In a fallen world, we too today know what it is to be ashamed. Sometimes it is because of our own sin. Other times we have been sinned against, causing shame. Our great Savior, however, “endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2)—so that all those who look to Him can be assured of the end, someday very soon, of all shame.
Nineveh’s fall is one of the numerous biblical witnesses to the reliability of God’s word and the certainty of His purposes (see also Zephaniah 2:13–15). Earthly powers, today as then, ignore or oppose God in various ways.
Jesus, in His death and resurrection, has brought the ultimate end of every human authority opposed to God. He conquered not by killing but by being killed. The result is that one day every knee will bow, either in worship or under His rod of iron (Philippians 2:9–10). For those who have taken refuge in Him, we don’t know the answer to how long we have to wait (Revelation 6:10), but we know that salvation has come and is coming in Jesus.
Not shame on you, but shame off you is what the Gospel declares. How do you celebrate this truth in your life?
Psalm 132 – God is a promise making and promise keeping God. There are few things taught in the Scriptures about God that are more central to His self-revelation to His people of who He is than this: God is faithful to His word, His oath, His promise, indeed, His covenant.
The background to this Psalm is 2 Samuel 7, where David expressed to Nathan his longing to build a house (i.e., temple) where the ark of the covenant would dwell. God revealed to Nathan that, while the temple would later be built, God had made a covenant with David that he would have a son (i.e., a descendant) who would sit on his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12–13). The pilgrims ascending to the temple in Jerusalem remind themselves, through this Psalm, that God had chosen to show His favor to David, and to the city of Jerusalem where the kingship of David’s Son would be manifest.
But what those pilgrims of old longed for, we now have seen! Their longings were fulfilled in Jesus! When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to reveal to her that she was chosen to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, Gabriel reminded Mary that, “the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32–33). Surely God is faithful to His promise; He keeps His word. Both in the coming of Jesus and in the gospel that announces what Jesus has accomplished, God demonstrates that He is absolutely and unequivocally faithful.
How does this truth give you peace today?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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