The Intensity And Finality Of God’s Awesome Wrath – Nahum 1:1-15

Nahum

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9). Make no mistake – the day of judgment is coming for the wicked. The proud Assyrians may have presumed that God was ignoring their unrighteousness (especially since God was actually using them as an instrument to temporarily discipline His own people), but the awesome all-consuming wrath of the angry avenging God was hanging over their heads about to be poured out on them in His timing. There would be no chance to escape or rise back up. God’s destruction would be intense and complete.

But God’s people can look forward to this day with anticipation of the security they will enjoy as they take refuge in the stronghold of the Good Shepherd. Some preachers today promise “No gloom and doom” in their popularized messages that have been stripped of the severity of God’s wrath and judgment. But it will be “a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Woe to those prophets who bring a message of “Peace” and “Safety” apart from the good news of the only gospel message that God has promised to honor: “Repent and turn to God” (Acts 26:20) for the forgiveness of sins and the escape from the wrath to come.

BIG IDEA:
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE AWESOME ALL-CONSUMING WRATH OF THE ANGRY AVENGING GOD (WHO PROVIDES SECURITY ONLY TO HIS OWN PEOPLE)

(:1) INTRODUCTION – NAHUM PROPHECYING AGAINST NINEVEH

  1. The Target of God’s Awesome All-Consuming Wrath – “The oracle of Nineveh.
    1. Background of Nineveh = capital of Assyria
    2. Message of Book of Jonah
    3. One Hundred Year Reprieve due to Repentance
    4. Time for Judgment
  2. The Prophet Nahum –
    The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
  3. How Do People Tend to Minimize or Underestimate God’s Wrath?
    1. Falsely dismissing wrath as an attribute only of the God of the OT
    2. Proudly imagining themselves to be untouchable and secure
    3. Confusing what seems like Delay in timeframe (from man’s perspective) with
      Avoidance (as if God will not carry out His promises)
    4. Assuming that there will always be opportunity to repent

I. (:1-6) DESCRIPTION OF THE INTENSITY OF GOD’S AWESOME WRATH – WHO CAN ENDURE THE BURNING OF HIS ANGER?

  1. (:2-3A) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Consistent With His Character
    1. (:2) Avenging and Wrathful
      1. Passionate in the Execution of Vengeance –
        A jealous and avenging God is the Lord;
        The Lord is avenging and wrathful.
      2. Purposeful in the Execution of Vengeance
        1. Purposeful in His Targets
          – “The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries,
        2. Purposeful in His Timing
          – “And He reserves wrath for His enemies.
    2. (:3A) Patient, Powerful, Punishing
      1. Patient
        – “The Lord is slow to anger
      2. Powerful –
        and great in power
      3. Punishing
        – “And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
  2. (:3B-5) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Displayed in Nature
    1. Images of a Storm
      – “In whirlwind and storm is His way,
      And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.
    2. Images of Oceans and Rivers
      – “He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;
      He dries up all the rivers.
    3. Images of Forests and Fields
      – “Bashan and Carmel wither;
      The blossoms of Lebanon wither.
    4. Images of Mountains and Hills
      – “Mountains quake because of Him,
      And the hills dissolve
    5. Overall Summary
      – “Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence,
      The world and all the inhabitants in it.
  3. (:6) Intensity of God’s Awesome Wrath Overwhelming in its Devastation
    1. (:6A) Two Rhetorical Questions
      1. Who can stand before His indignation?
      2. Who can endure the burning of His anger?
    2. (:6B) Two Images of Destructive Power
      1. Image of Ravaging Fire
        – “His wrath is poured out like fire.
      2. Image of Blasting Rocks
        – “And the rocks are broken up by Him.

(:7) APPLICATION: SECURITY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE

  1. Security Based on the Lord’s Paternal Goodness
    – “The Lord is good
  2. Security Based on the Lord’s Powerful Protection
    – “a stronghold in the day of trouble
  3. Security Based on the Lord’s Personal Shepherding
    – “And He knows those who take refuge in Him.

    1. Cf. John 10; Psalm 23

II. (:8-14) DESCRIPTION OF THE FINALITY OF GOD’S AWESOME WRATH – HE WILL MAKE A COMPLETE END OF IT

Illustration: Watching movies with my kids, whenever the bad guy was knocked down I always made a point to holler “Finish him off!” There’s nothing I hate more than seeing the bad guy inevitably rise up again to make one last attack on the good guy – especially when it would have been so easy to blast him with another couple of rounds. Here we see that God makes certain that he finishes off the wicked and allows no possibility for a second chance.

  1. (:8) Introductory Summary: God Will Make a Complete End of It
    1. Inescapable Destruction
      – “But with an overflowing flood
      He will make a complete end of its site.
    2. Unrelenting Darkness
      – “And will pursue His enemies into darkness.
  2. (:9-13) Detailed Description: God Will Make a Complete End of It
    1. (:9) No Second Chance for the Wicked to Rise Up and Attack
      – “Whatever you devise against the Lord,
      He will make a complete end of it.
      Distress will not rise up twice.
    2. (:10) Images of Destruction of the Worthless
      1. Worthless Thorns
        – “Like tangled thorns,
      2. Worthless Drunks
        – “And like those who are drunken with their drink,
      3. Worthless Stubble
        – “They are consumed as stubble completely withered.
    3. (:11-13) Deliverance of God’s People by the Destruction of Their Enemies
      1. (:11) Perversity of Wicked Adversary –
        From you has gone forth one who plotted evil against the Lord,
        A wicked counselor.

        1. Contrast: Wonderful Counselor – Is. 9:6
      2. (:12A) Impotence of Their Strength and Numbers
        – “Thus says the Lord,
        Though they are at full strength and likewise many,
        Even so, they will be cut off and pass away.
      3. (:12B) Reversal of Lord’s Discipline of His People
        – “Though I have afflicted you,
        I will afflict you no longer.
      4. (:13) Complete Deliverance from Captivity and Bondage –
        So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you,
        And I will tear off your shackles.
  3. (:14) Concluding Summary: God Will Make a Complete End of It
    1. Divine Decree
      – “The Lord has issued a command concerning you:
    2. Stripping Away Any Legacy
      – “Your name will no longer be perpetuated.
    3. Smashing All False Idols
      – “I will cut off idol and image from the house of your gods.
    4. Dooming Their Destiny
      – “I will prepare your grave,
    5. Despising Their Depravity
      – “For you are contemptible.

(:15) APPLICATION: SECURITY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE

  1. Security Needs to Be Trumpeted Throughout the World –
    Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news.
    Who announces peace!

    1. Rom. 10:15 quotes this passage
  2. Security Needs to Be Celebrated From a Heart of Thanksgiving and Obedience
    – “Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows.
  3. Security Needs to Be Confident in Eternal Security
    – “For never again will the wicked one pass through you;
    He is cut off completely.