Title: The Kindness and Severity of God

Focus: Since God is both an avenger and is good, we can take refuge in him and be reminded that he, not man, will destroy evil in his own time

Function: To remind the hearers that God is the force behind the good that overcomes evil in the world so that they will remain humble

Text: Nahum 1

1.  We are going to look at the message of a prophet to Ninevah
	a.  Most of us very familiar with Jonah
	b.  Like Jonah, it a testimony to God's mercy
2.  But Jonah not the only book with prophecy against Ninevah
	a.  Another book that is part of an ignored collection
	b.  Unlike other Minor Prophets, Nahum ends on a dismal note
	c.  It a description of celebration of fall of Ninevah - So it ignored
3.  But there is a relevant an encouraging message for us in Nahum
	a.  Keep in mind - O.T. not about humans
	b.  That mean Nahum not about human vengeance
	c.  It is about GOD - So begins with an acrostic hymn about God

I.  God is a zealous avenger (1:2)
	A.  Lit:  - "A jealous God and avenger is Yahweh.  An avenger is Yaweh, and
master/lord of wrath.  An avenger is Yahweh against his foes and a keeper of anger is he against
his enemies"
	B.  May not like to think of God as a "Master of wrather", "avenger"...
		1.  Want to comfort and strengthen, not terrify
			a.  Yet here is an ancient preacher who preserved this
			b.  How in the world would this comfort?
		2.  Nahum preached at a very turbulent time
			a.  Assyria attacked Israel and Judah
			b.  Comfort to know God would avenge his people
		3.  But is verse 3 comforting? (V.3)
			a.  Yahweh is slow to anger (patient with enemy!)
			b.  Assyria BRUTALLY dominated world for 400 years
			c.  Destroyed Israel, Sennacherib destroy 46 Judean cities
			d.  Mannaseh set up Assyrian gods/goddess in temple
			     and persecuted the priests
		4.  Why is he so patient?
			a.  He is in complete control
			b.  Weak cannot bear insults and lash back, feel out control
			c.  Strong do not retaliate immediately, they know evil fails
			d.  God is GREAT IN POWER, so he is slow to anger
	C.  (1:3b-6) Many different images to describe his power
		1.  Not have time for all, so focus on one - Earthquake
		2.  Earth upheaved by his mere presence
		3.  Imagine earthquake starts, can you stop it?  Have to ride it out
	D.  Indeed, who can stand before Him?
		1.  Rhetorical question
		2.  This not meant to terrify believers
		3.  That is why hymn goes on to extol God's goodness

II.  (1:7-8)  God is good
	A.  To describe God's goodness, image of a stronghold/ fortress
		1.  This is not a camp or tabernacle
		2.  ILL:  Dad used to work in SAC underground - well sheilded
		3.  This is Yahweh, he is our fortress, our protection
	B.  This comforting to those afflicted by Ninevah
		1.  Seemed invincible
		2.  Impregnable fortress surrounded by walls, moats and canals
		3.  It fell to Nabopolassar of Babylon after 2 1/2 month seige
	C.  This happened because God "knows" those who take refuge
		1.  To "know" not a casual aquaintance in Hebrew thought
		2.  It the idiom to express sexual intimacy where man and woman
		     become one physically, emotionally and spiritually
		3.  That's why God describe relationship with us as marriage
	D.  This mean he knows our suffering and pain
		1. He is well aquainted with out grief
		2.  As Christians, he knows us more than over before
		3.  The incarnation and cross bear witness to this
		4.  Since God is BOTH good and an avenger, he will act for us

III.  God acts on behalf of his people (1:8)
	A.  He will drown those who oppress his people as he did the Egyptians
	B.  There is a theology of history being taught here
		1.  Secular history = Rise and fallof Assyria due to human factors
		2.  According to scripture, it was God's will
			a.  Babylons defeat of Assyria at Carchemish God
			b.  See this in other books like Isaiah, Ezek, Dan,, Rev.
		3.  Rise and fall of nations do not just happen
			a.  Wicked nations fall by God's hand
			b.  Armies of nations that defeat them do not do so by their
			     own power, but by God's
		4.  (Isa 10:12-15) - This includes Assyrias rise to power
			a.  Assyria is God's intrument to punish
			b.  God punished wicked oppressive regimes
			c.  May not happen right away, he slow to anger
			d.  But time will come when he says enough is enough
	C.  (Nah 1:9-14) - God said enough is enough
		1.  Assyrias time is up because of their cruel arrogance
		2.  This pattern repeats itself with Egypt, Babylon, and Rome
	D.  We can be assured that God's purpose will stand on the earth

1.  This should stand as a reminder and challenge for our nation
	a.  Our victories not by our own might or strength
	b.  It is not just us fighting an evil regime, it is God
	c.  Let us pray that our leaders never sin as Assyria, Babylon, or Rome by
	     becoming unjust or by being arrogant, thinking we accomplish by our 
	      own righteousness and power
	d.  America has been God's instrument to accomplish his purposes
		- He not allow wicked to go unpunished
2.  Also a challenge for us individually
	a.  See 2 sides of God's character -- wrath and mercy
	b.  (Rom 11:22) - Determine to stay in the kindness of God
3.  God deals kindly with his people
	a.  No matter how bad at the moment, his will is done
	b.  If not going right, remember that he is slow to anger
	c.  The story will end on a positive note:
4  (Nah 1:15)
	a.  Someone coming to announce good news / Gospel
	b.  God's gospel a gospel of peace - Jesus the prince of peace
		- May have inner peace on the earth
		- Peace among the nations will not happen
		- Any peace is only an illusion
5.  Ultimate peace when Dragon cast away forever and God establish heavenly
kingdom - Peace and nothing take it away

Message of Nahum a positive one for thos of us who take refuge in him