“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” Nahum 1:3a
If God sent a message directly to you, would you listen to it? Most Christians would reply, “Of course!” Well, that’s exactly what the Lord did for the nation of Israel in much of the Old Testament. He instructed, comforted, and warned His people through the prophets. Yet, today we seldom read through the books bearing their names. Not only is prophetic wisdom still relevant, it’s essential for understanding Who God is and how He works. For instance, Nahum reveals that God is patient but He is not passive.
In order to understand God’s message through Nahum, we need to remember God’s message through the prophet Jonah. The Lord spared Nineveh after they repented under Jonah’s preaching, but Nineveh soon turned away from God and His mercy. To make matters worse, they were also wreaking havoc on Judah and it seemed like God was doing nothing. We see something similar today. Those who reject and mock God are progressing their cause and wreaking havoc on Christianity.
In the book of Nahum, we see that God can deliver the righteous and judge the unrighteous at the same time. To the righteous undergoing persecution, He said, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7). Those who opposed Him, however, needed to know that, “the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (v3).
But before believers simply pronounce God’s judgment on the lost world, we need to grasp why it hasn’t already happened. God is patient with sinners, “The Lord is slow to anger” (v3). 2 Peter 3:9 puts it this way, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Which part of Nahum’s prophetic wisdom are you in need of today? If you do not know Christ, then please know that God is not passively ignoring your sinfulness. While He is infinitely kind and merciful, He will not compromise His holiness. His promise of judgment is certain. One day, God will say, “Enough!” And it will be too late. God’s grace and mercy are available in abundance today.
If you are a follower of Christ, then take comfort in His goodness. Even in troubling times, He is a refuge for the faithful. But at the same time, pray for those who directly oppose Him. He waits patiently for their repentance.