The Kindness and the Severity of God
Topic: AM Service Passage: Nahum 1:1–1:15
Many of the Old Testament prophets spoke and wrote messages of God’s judgment that was to come upon his people because of their idolatry and covenant unfaithfulness. However, in a few cases, God’s stern warnings of judgment came against another nation. The Book of Nahum is one such book. Nahum’s prophecy comes in vivid and colorful language that God’s judgment is sure and that it is coming against the wicked nation of Assyria. This nation had become a bloodthirsty super-power in its day. They had killed countless Israelites and oppressed the people of God for many years. Nahum’s sobering words help us to see that God is the righteous and just Judge of all the earth. All have sinned, and there is no escaping His wrath, save in the mercy that is shown to us in Jesus Christ. Nahum brings us to the brink of God’s dreadful, yet righteous indignation against every violation of His holiness. But he also shows us how God is good, “a stronghold in the day of trouble, He knows those who take refuge in Him.” This is helpful for us, for we can tend to think that we are safe just because of who we are and because we see God as a mild-mannered grandfather instead of the King of all. We need the mercy of the Lord to escape His wrath. The first chapter of Nahum helps us to see "The Kindness and Severity of God."
I. The Vengeance of a Just God
A. His Character as Judge
B. His Action as Judge
C. Guilty man before God the Judge
II. The Mercy of a Longsuffering God
A. God’s Goodness is not negated by His wrath
B. God’s Goodness provides a refuge
C. God’s Goodness is shown in His Judgement
III. The Destruction of the Enemies of God
A. God’s Judgment is coming to Assyria
B. God’s Judgment is sure, despite Assyria’s strength
C. God’s Judgment and Mercy reconciled
Questions for consideration: (1) Is the Jealousy of God a positive or a negative thing? Why?
(2) How is God’s goodness shown in His justice? (3) How can a just God who always punishes sin show any mercy to sinful man?