Handfuls on Purpose
by James Smith, 1943
GREAT IS OUR GOD. Nahum 1:1-8
The prophet is here burdened with a terrible sentence. But while the judgments recorded were against old Nineveh, they are a very solemn revelation to us of the great and terrible God with whom impenitent sinners will have to do.
I. God is Jealous (v. 2). Jealousy may be defined as an uneasy state of mind, under fear that another has engaged the affections of one you love. God is jealous of any rival for our affections and trust, just because His love is so good and true. "Love not the world, nor the things of the world," that you provoke Him not to jealousy. The world and self are His rivals.
II. The Lord's Revenge is Furious (v. 2). When God is for us His power is Almighty; when against us it is equally Almighty. When He avenges His adversaries it will be with a fury that is overwhelming. O proud man, think of the God with whom you have to do.
III. The Lord is Slow to Anger (v. 3). He is not what we say of some people, "quiet tempered." All past history is proof of this. In the days before the Flood God gave them 120 years' notice (Genesis 6:3). This longsuffering patience of God is often misconstrued as utter indifference. While His anger comes slowly, bless His Name, His love comes quickly.
IV. The Lord is Great in Power, and will not at all acquit the wicked" (v. 3) How shall we escape if we neglect His great salvation? Here is the answer. "Not at all." What a solemn and urgent truth this is for those who deny His love and ignore His offered mercy in the Gospel of His grace. "He who believes not is condemned already" (John 3:18). But the final execution of this sentence awaits the day of His great power (v. 6).
V. The Lord has His Way in the whirlwind, in the storm, the clouds, the rivers, the sea, and the fire (v. 6). We cannot imagine any of the natural forces He has created rebelling against His will. They are all weapons at His disposal. He has His way in them all. We are assured that every atom in the universe is under law. The winds are in His fist, the clouds are the dust of His feet. It is man and fallen angels who are the rebels. But "who shall stand before His indignation?" (v. 6).
VI. "The Lord is Good, a Strong Hold in the Day of Trouble" (v. 7). The Lord is great in power, but also in goodness. His goodness is a strong hold for us in the day of our trouble because of sin, or weakness, or failure. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). "By grace are you saved" (Ephesians 2:8)
VII. The Lord Knows Them that Trust in Him (v. 7). We are known unto God, not by our wisdom, not by our many works, or popularity in the eyes of men, but by our trust in Him. The Lord knows such, although the world knows nothing of them. Have faith in God, and rest assured that He knows them that trust in Him, and will surely satisfy them with His goodness. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.