Nahum 1: Enemies of God
Welcome to what I imagine has to be one of the least read books in the Bible. Nahum was a prophet, and right away we find out that he was talking to Nineveh. I did a little bit of background research online, and it appears that this was roughly one or two generations after the time of Jonah. If you recall, Nineveh had a major revival at that point, and God spared the city from destruction. It seems that the situation is a little bit different now.
Nah 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
Nah 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
This is an interesting way to begin. It seems to be of first importance here. God is not going to tolerate His enemies.
However, I think that this takes a certain level of nuance to address. It doesn’t seem that God has very much time for evil. He is not going to allow the wicked to get off the hook. However, how do we define who are these enemies of God? I bring that up because at one point in our lives, we were all enemies of God. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God, so before we received, we were in rebellion against God even if we were not actively participating in that conflict.
I think that the key here is that God is slow to anger. It does not deny the anger whatsoever. The wrath of God is certainly mighty. However, thinking through Biblical history for example, there are a lot of people who did things wrong but did not face imminent destruction. Think about Jonah again. God was patient with him, and Jonah eventually turned it around. Sure, Jonah was eaten by a fish, but it wasn’t as if he was utterly destroyed.
I point all of that out because it seems to me that there is a differentiation to be made. On some level, we all began as enemies of God, but it seems as if there is another level of enemy that we are talking about here in Nahum where judgment is coming immediately. Certainly, anyone who doesn’t receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is going to face judgment down the road, but it seems as if there is a level where earthly judgment comes into play if your actions are particularly egregious. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah. All those people will also face eternal judgment as well, but because they were particularly wicked, they experienced the power of God in a way they probably would have rather not.
Even with this differentiation, I think that we can all agree that it is better not to be an enemy of God in the first place.