Does Nahum have any lessons for us today that could be considered profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete equipped for every good work? (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Lets find out.
Nahum 1:1 “An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.” (ESV) also “The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.” (KJV)
When I compare translations the first thing I notice is – the difference. Profound, right? The very first word in the opening line of the Hebrew word Massa’. Is this book God has given to Nahum, an oracle or a burden? The word has both meanings.
The message Nahum has been given concerning Nineveh is a message from God. It is also a heavy load for Nahum to carry to Nineveh. God’s word is sometimes uplifting and a joy to carry. Love everyone. Love is patient. Love is kind. (1 Corinthian’s 13) The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc. (Galatians 5)
But sometimes it is very hard to even repeat. Revelation 21:8 “but as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerer’s, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake of fire in sulfur.” This kind of news, though absolutely true, must never be a joy for us to deliver. God has no pleasure delivering such warnings.
“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23, ESV)
Nahum had such judgment to deliver to Nineveh. It was a heavy burden, though true.
How do we deliver hard warnings to those who are headed for judgment? Do we ignore the message and allow them to perish without warning them? Nahum did not.
We are told elsewhere God’s warning to us if we do not give a clear warning. “If I say to the wicked, ‘you shall surely die’, and you give him no warning, nor speak a warning to the wicked for his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood will be required at your hand. (Ezekiel 3:18)
If we know God’s warnings we must deliver the burden. But we are not to deliver it as a joyful or spiteful message. We get no glee from delivering Gods warnings. The glee comes when someone heeds the warning! But not until then.
God will judge harshly those he judges, with a perfect attitude, because he is perfect. We are not perfect and must deliver the message of impending judgment with a proper attitude. We deliver it with compassion. With a heavy heart. And with love. “Love is patient and kind”. The news that We are actually doomed to hell is hard to take, be patient with your hearer as you deliver this news. But please be kind. If you don’t tell them the deep trouble I am in, how is that a kindness?
“Love does not envy or boast” How can you possibly deliver such bad news with a sneer or a smile, as some twisted ‘Christians’ who deliver judgment against abortionists and homosexuals seem to do. Their warnings are true but they appear positively giddy when they give the message. That is wrong! Deliver bad news and a dire warnings as what they are – dire warnings!
“Love is not arrogant or rude” Again, bad news is bad news. Deliver it appropriately.
Many of the things we see in Scripture are not fun. In today’s culture, fun is the ultimate goal. The attitude is that “if I don’t enjoy it I am not going to do it. I’ll do what I want. I’ll do whatever makes me happy.”
First, God your creator knows what will truly make you happy and fulfilled. These are the things he has chosen for you. (See Exodus 20). Second, your immediate happiness is a very unworthwhile goal. The thrill of the endorphin rush wears off quickly. And the emptiness returns, often along with shame and guilt, as well as the physical and emotional consequences that result from living life against your creators instructions.
Applying Gods precepts in our lives can often be a burden at the time. Delivering the dire warnings to others who are ignorant of them, or who are ignoring them, is very much a burden. But as faithful followers of Christ we must do it.
Living a godly life and carrying the burdens God has given us is definitely not easy because, left on our own, we always assume we know better. Left on our own, we always choose easy, now, and fun. But he has not left us on our own. And he has promised that doing things his way is always worth the effort.