Next up in our look at the so-called “Minor Prophets” is Nahum. And an interesting book it is! The name “Nahum” means “comfort” or “consolation” — it is related to the name “Nehemiah” (another Old Testament book, from the name of its central figure, the godly man Nehemiah who led the Jews back home after their Babylonian exile), which means “the Lord comforts”. So, you would obviously expect to find a lot of comforting words in Nahum’s prophecy, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, there IS comfort there if you are an enemy of the Assyrians. But, no, there is NO comfort if you are one of those Assyrians. For the entire book is about how God will punish and destroy and blot out the Assyrians for their sins.
The Assyrians were wicked people. My college professor used to call them the Nazis of the ancient world. They were bloody and warlike. They bragged about their violence and ferocity. They boasted of the torture, the mutilation, the terror they employed. Stacks of hacked off limbs. Piles of skulls. Entire peoples and nations uprooted and forcibly resettled in far-off lands. And one of their special targets was Israel. God’s people. You may remember the prophet Jonah and his mission to go to Nineveh (the capital of Assyria), and how he initially refused due to his extreme horror and hatred of the Assyrians.
Well, in this book these evil people are warned by Nahum that God will soon repay them for their wickedness, for their attacks against His people. Of course, God had only allowed Assyria to do those things because Israel had rebelled against God, and refused to heed His warnings to repent. But still, Israel WAS God’s people, and Assyria would pay for their sins.
So, what does all that mean for us? Well, sometimes we feel the wrath of our own brand of Assyrians — those who attack and torment us. And, like the Israelites, we wonder when (or even, if!) God will save us. Nahum reminds us to trust in the Lord. He WILL protect us. He WILL punish Satan and all those who attack God’s own. And so, Nahum gives us comfort too today. God is in control. He will save us. He has promised. As Nahum says: “The Lord is good, a Refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him”. As we begin a New Year, that is a message we need to hear and take to heart. God has bought us at the great price of His own dear Son, Jesus Christ. He will not forget us. Ever.