April 14, 2011

Minor Prophets LXVI: A Victory Song In Search of A Victory

Nahum 1:1-6 Nahum’s prophecy/vision is directed against Nineveh, and is an ominous message of their doom. Apparently the guy swallowed by the whale (Jonah) didn’t have a lasting effect on these hammerheads. Nahum describes this message/prophecy as a burden.

The imagery and language is used to describe God in verses 1-6 is interesting to say the least.

The LORD is: Jealous, Vengeful and Angry

(v.2) A jealous avenging God
(v.2a) The LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
(v.2b) The LORD takes vengeance on his foes…vents his wrath against his enemies.

(v.3) He is slow to anger but great in power
(v.3a) The LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
(v.3b) Whirlwind and the storm, clouds are the dust of his feet (He is higher than the Creation)

(v.4) He rebukes the sea and dries it up….makes all the rivers run dry.
(v.4a) Bashan and Carmel wither…blossoms of Lebanon fade (He controls the elements)

(v.5) Mountains quake before him…hills melt…earth trembles at his presence (cosmic changes) the world and all who live in it.

(v.6) Who can endure his fierce anger? Rocks…shattered before him. (these people are in serious trouble)

I also sense an overall judicial tone in these verses. Not to mention I see what appears to be a song of praise extolling the attributes of God while simultaneously dropping bombs of apocalyptic language all over the place. I say apocalyptic because of the cataclysmic nature of some of the catastrophes to come from God's divine wrath unleashed in things such as droughts, mountains quaking, and overall scare-the-skeleton-right-out-of-your-body imagery like "hills melting". Ironically, the problem with this “song” from a human standpoint is that this seems to be premature. It is a victory song for a warrior…in search of a victory. The battle has not even been waged yet. So I guess what we really see here is God's foreknowledge and perhaps even His predestination? We also see His sovereignty and omnipotence. Nahum is creating a victory song for God because what God says will happen…can be taken to the bank as a sure thing. Its as if it already has taken place.

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