I am currently reading through Nahum. As I start it opens with a description of the character of God as jealous and avenging, avenging and wrathful, and that he takes vengeance on his adversaries and has wrath for his enemies.
What do those of you within Connect think this passage is trying to communicate about the character of our God.
Thanks for your thoughts
I am currently reading through Nahum. As I start it opens with a description of the character of God as jealous and avenging, avenging and wrathful, and that he takes vengeance on his adversaries and has wrath for his enemies.
This is interesting…when i had talked at bible study about not just plainly believing in a God whois gentle kind, the leader had shared 1 John. God is love, and depending on our acceptance of him we will feel that love in different ways. reading Nahum and the way it starts out i believe those this ‘wrath’ would fall on, possibly could be stated the way my study teacher taught. It looks as though it is talking about this difference in experiences of his ‘love’ which is justice for those who do not bend their knees to the one who can extend us his great mercy and forgiveness, which then is talking about hell because it does state there the LORD is slow to anger. Thinking about it being God who is to avenge it would make hell and this ‘wrath’ the loving option.
i really dont know looking forward to seeing others responses. <3
Hey @don58.baker, Here is a video that might help a bit. I love bible project.
I hope this helps.
I love Bible project as well! I like how he brings out the point that
God’s goodness and justice compel Him to orchestrate the downfall of oppressive nations.
Our God is slow to anger, and great in power as we see in vs.3 and He’s good, our protector, and He knows them that put their trust in Him — vs.7!
You’re probably familiar with this quote, but I think its amazing every time I see it — it truly explains God in the passage of of Nahum 1.
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …"Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
My husband just reminded me of C.S.Lewis when he was asked, ‘what is the difference between Christianity and any other religion?’ He replied, ‘Grace!’
I loved your quote! @CharityLinzey
This is a great question. It really is important that we understand who God is and grow in our closeness to Him. We do this by reading and understanding His word and gaining a clearer picture of Him through that. So, allow me to just give a few thoughts from my perspective.
The truth of it is that we have gotten this perspective of God as a benevolent being who really doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, so He has given us salvation. Now, while not all entirely untrue, there is a lot left out of the character of God. I believe very assuredly that this is why so many people never truly find a relationship with Him. We have characterized God as a soft and warm teddy bear kind of person, who loves us so much that He does not want to see us get hurt. So, we don’t really fear God, not as we should. If we think of God as non-threatening, it’s harder to recognize just how much we need Him.
The truth of it is, to the unsaved and unrepentant sinner, God is the most terrifying and dangerous enemy you could ever have. The Bible gives a great deal about His love, and His desire for sinners to be saved, but the Bible also speaks a lot about His wrath and His fury with us as sinners. If we are not repentant, then His full wrath and hatred burns against us. As we see in Psalms 5:4-5, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”
We see very clearly here that God’s character is not just love, it is also wrath and hatred toward sin. Many people say that God hates sin, but loves the sinner. This verse alone says something very different. It does not say that God hates the evil that people do, it says that He hates those who do evil. Nor will it be the sin that God sends to hell, but it will be the sinner who He sends there.
We also see His wrath depicted in Isaiah 63:1-6, “Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
The reality of God is that He will not tolerate unrepentant sinners. He will pour out His wrath upon them and, as we see depicted very violently in Isaiah, His judgement will be poured out on sinners, and He will crush them in His anger. If a sinner is unrepentant, then they should be wholly terrified of God, because as Hebrews also tells us in chapter 12 verse 29, “Our God is a consuming fire”
And also in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Finally we see in Zephaniah 1:17-18, “I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.”
These are just some of the highlights of God’s wrath against the unrepentant sinner. Not mention the many other verses and chapters dedicated to it in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and the other prophets, as well as Revelations. Many people believe that punishment for sin is just separation from God, this is not true. Rather, it is eternity in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, eternally under the wrath of God that has been built up by their evil deeds. As we see in Revelations 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ preached more about hell than He did about heaven. This is because we need to be afraid. Afraid of the wrath of a thrice holy God against the wretched evil of our sin and rebellion against Him. It is also because we need to recognize what an amazing and wonderful gift of mercy and love we are turning down if we reject Him.
Jesus Christ did not simply die on the cross for sinners. He drank the fullness of the cup of God’s wrath against sin. The Bible describes three hours of darkness when Jesus was on the cross in Luke 23:44-45, “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” It was at this time that God poured out His wrath against sin upon His son, for our sins past, present, and future. The wrath of God was satisfied against Jesus until He had paid the full price of all our sin. As we see in Isaiah 53:10-12, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
This is why Christ was praying in Gethsemane that if there was any way that this cup could be passed from Him, then let it be. But yet, He said, not His will, but the will of the Father be done. This is why His sweat became as great drops of blood. He wasn’t afraid of the pain He was about to experience, He was afraid of the wrath of God He was about to suffer for our sinfulness. So that we would not have to suffer that wrath ourselves.
This is why it is such an amazing grace that we can be saved from our sins, because Jesus Christ paid the price for them in full. It is also why it is such an amazing tragedy that so many will reject that payment, and continue in rebellion against God. In the end they will realize how afraid of the fury of God against sinners they truly should have been. This is also why it is so important that we spread that good news, and share the gospel of salvation with those around us. Because Christ died for us, and made the ultimate payment for sin, so that we could be saved and free of that payment before our Holy Father.
I hope that this helps Don. If you have any other questions please ask them. I would also recommend you look up the sermon by Jonathan Edwards called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” This gives the perspective of one who was truly tormented by the thought of people suffering that wrath of God, and he preached to warn people of the coming judgement like few others have since his time.
May God grant you wisdom and understanding as you seek to know Him more. I pray His Holy Spirit will guide you to the truth of His word as only He can. God bless you and thank you.
Thanks for the video @Danageze
I really appreciate to concise overview that it gives.
Thanks for the reminder of this quote. It fits the passage well.
I really appreciate the detail that you have given here.
I do have a copy of
so I will review it again.
All of the detail that you have given will take me a while to digest…but thanks I appreciate it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. As I read some of the other ideas put forth I am wondering if it is love viewed from 2 different perspectives or is 2 distinct character traits of God that we may view as being in opposition to each other but are actually balanced within the majesty of the person-hood of God.
You are very welcome. Only God’s word can truly provide the truth that we all seek. I have not found, nor do I ever believe for a second that I will find, a situation that His word cannot provide the answers for. God bless as you continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ and His word.
@mmingus36 I have heard but not fully comprehend that it was more than just Jesus suffering for our sin, but that he endured as you put it the wrath of God. Where does a person gain more insight into this specifically? And this is new and hard to digest a bit as I could comprehend before a loving God that we are to tell the world about who wants non to perish, and would lovingly give us as we choose either an eternity with him or an eternity without him…I obviously have more room to grow in my understanding. But need a push in the right direction to understand
Yes I can understand the difficulty with processing this. I don’t think there is anyone who hears this today and has necessarily an easy time processing this. I think this is in large part due to the picture we have of God in our present day. It is so common that we are told as we grow up, and as we mature, about the love of God. We are told that it is pure love that God could not bear to see us perish, so He sent His Son. But the Bible gives us a very different picture altogether.
The truth is that God does indeed love, and He does not desire that any should perish, this is very true. But we so often skip over the other truth about God. That if He is truly holy, that if He is perfectly just, He cannot forgive us of our sins.
Imagine someone who is brought into court for the crime of murdering a family in their home. The word travels around that this family, who was perfectly innocent(by human terms) and loved by those who lived around them, was murdered violently. He is put before the judge and the evidence is mounted before him. At the end of the case, there is no question of his guilt through the eyewitnesses and the ones who arrested him in the act. But the judge looks at this guilty man and says, “You are most certainly guilty of this crime, and you deserve death. But I am benevolent, and forgiving, so you are free to go”
Now, would we all sit back and say, “That was nice. That judge is just so kind.” I imagine not. I believe this would cause an uproar. We would all see this as an outrage, and we would immediately seek higher authority to come and investigate this judge, because…he is unjust.
This is every human beings condition. We are all guilty, and dead in our trespasses as we are told in Ephesians 2:1-4, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
The truth of it all is, that if God is just, He cannot forgive us for our sins. Our sins have been committed against the thrice holy eternal God of heaven and earth. The only true justice for us to receive for this horrible crime we are guilty of, is death, and God cannot go against His own character of being just by simply forgiving us.
So then, what hope do we have? The answer to that is, Jesus Christ. It was He who entered into this world as fully man and fully God, who lived a perfect sinless life, and then was hung on the cross, not just to suffer, but to pay for our sins by taking the full payment of Gods wrath upon Himself. As we are told in Isaiah 53:5-6, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus Christ had the fullness of our iniquities placed upon Him. It was upon Him that the fullness of God’s just and holy wrath against sin was satisfied. So, we are not just forgiven, we are absolved of our debt. It was Christ who paid it all for us on the cross so that we would not have to suffer it ourselves. The result? That we now are presented before God when we accept Christ, and Christ mediates for us as the payment for our sins. His righteousness is now credited to our account for the debt that we could never pay, and before God, we are declared legally to be right with Him. Then, He treats us as such. His wrath turns from us, and we are loved as adopted children by Him, not because of our works, but because of His amazing grace through His Son Jesus Christ, who is the propitiation for our sins.
As Romans 3:21-26 tells us, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Jesus Christ died for our sins, but He also paid the full price for them. Now, we are justified, not by anything that we can do, but by everything He has done and our faith in Him alone. Just as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” That is why this grace is so amazing, and when rejected, so terribly tragic.
The reason we don’t hear the fullness of the gospel like this is sadly because many churches and teachers today pick only the parts that they think people will like to hear. It is getting rarer and rarer to find teachers who preach the fullness of the gospel. It is not simply a story of love, it is the account of how horrible our sin truly is, of how God’s righteous anger burns against us as a wicked, rebellious people. It is the account of that anger be satisfied against His Son, so that we would not have to suffer it ourselves and perish. The horrors of our desperately wicked state, and the fury of God against us as sinners, is the truth that people need to hear. Not only because it shakes people out of the complacency of believing God to be a divine teddy bear, but because it also serves to show us just how amazing His grace and love are. But only those who repent and trust in Christ through faith will ever experience that amazing love of God. Those who do not will reap the fullness of His wrath for eternity. This is why it is so desperately important that we teach the gospel in its fullness. Not just what people want to hear.
I hope that helps a bit Abby. I know this takes some processing, believe me it did for me too. But this is the truth of our condition, and of everything that God did to be both just, and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ. I want to leave a link for you that I think can help to explain this more. I will leave it below. I would also recommend looking up a sermon by Paul Washer on YouTube called “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.” It will be on a channel from his ministry, The Heart Cry Missionary Society. May God grant you wisdom and understanding as you seek to grow in your knowledge of Him. I pray His Holy Spirit will guide you to the truth as only He can. If you have any other questions please ask them. God bless you and thank you.
This is the trailer for a documentary called American Gospel: Christ Crucified. It covers a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation and their beliefs against the gospel. It also gives a detailed explanation of the gospel in more visual terms than I am able to do. The documentary is available on Amazon Prime, and iTunes. I hope it will help to further illustrate what I wrote here.
Thanks Matthew @mmingus36 for sharing those insights with us! Very well stated and something that was good for me to be refreshed on.
You are very welcome. These are issues that I always want to be refreshed on as well. It is so important that we understand the scriptures and what they say about salvation in Jesus Christ, but also why we need it. We should always strive to have it fresh in our minds and to be able to articulate it to those who so desperately need it, the unrepentant. God bless.
Thankyou very much
You are very welcome. May the Holy Spirit continue to help you grow in the truth. God bless.
I have had time to review your information and again thanks for your input. I like your point that; “It does not say that God hates the evil that people do, it says that He hates those who do evil. Nor will it be the sin that God sends to hell, but it will be the sinner who He sends there.” I think that those are important clarifications that are not usually mentioned in our current Christian communities. I also think this message was more easily accepted within society in general when Johnathan Edwards gave his famous message. Given those 2 realities; is there an approach or a method that you have used to be able to communicate this with others in a way that they will be able to hear what is being said and realize how important it is for them personally?
That’s a great question. It’s a challenge to think of how we can positively present the realities of human depravity, and not only the reality of it, but the individuals responsibility for it. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
When we present the reality of this to someone who is not a believer, it’s like we just walked into a basement full of nasty little critters, and turned on the lights. They all scatter and look for a hiding spot. That was one of the judgements that Jesus gave of the world in the Gospel of John. In chapter 3 verse 19 He said, “And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
What we have to confront is reality. Why do people sin? Because they want to, because their hearts are evil and they want to sin. Anyone who has ever walked out into bright light from a dark room has had the experience of having to shield their eyes from the light. They are blinded, in pain from the light shining into their eyes that are not adjusted to it. So what do they do? They throw on glasses that dim it down, or they retreat inside. Or…they stay outside in the pain of it all until their eyes are adjusted.
Some people in this world let just a little bit of that light in, but they dim it down just enough to where they can stand it, and they stay there. I see this as the people who will say as we saw in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
They think they have done enough, or let just enough in that they are safe, but they never actually let the light of Christ come into their hearts. They claim His name, but they do not live fully in submission to the sanctifying light He shines.
Some immediately turn back inside and stay away from the light altogether. They are like those in Revelations 6:15-17. “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Even when the final judgements come upon them, they will just look for more places to hide. They run from the light and want nothing to do with it, they continue in rebellion to the end.
Then there are those who will, as much as it hurts, stay in the light and let it hurt. They will feel the pain that we all feel, the brokenness that we all feel, and rightly should feel, before a Holy God. They will see how much they truly need His saving grace, and in their brokenness, they will repent before Him and beg for the mercy and grace He offers.
The truth of it is, that we as the church, have spent so long looking for ways to make the gospel presentable and palatable for people, that we have forgotten that people need to realize how far fallen they truly are in order to even see the need to step out into the light. Why did so many repent at the sermon that Peter gave on Pentecost? Was it because he delivered a soft and easy sermon that tickled their hearts into repentance? Absolutely not. He preached to them the direct truth in all fullness that they were not only sinners, but that they had crucified the Lord whom God had sent. And what do we see happened? Acts 2:37-41, “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”
When they heard him preach, they were cut to heart. It was as if Peter had just put a sword right into their chest, metaphorically speaking, and they sought immediately how they should be saved. They didn’t look for salvation because they were just tickled pink by what they had heard, they repented because they saw at that moment how desperately in need of salvation they were. You can’t recognize you’re need for salvation unless you first realize how bad your condition is in the first place.
People fail to seek Christ because we as the church have monumentally failed, I speak generally, at making them realize how desperate their need is for Him. You go into many churches today and it’s all playing fun music, and preachers telling funny stories, and just a general feeling of comfort. The truth in getting the gospel to people is that we need to do two things: we need to comfort the convicted, and convict the comfortable.
We must show the love and comfort and compassion of Christ to those who are broken, and we must preach the truth of the word so that people will be convicted and get to that broken point in the first place. I could walk into one of those churches I described, and not in every case but most, I would say that there is little chance I will hear the gospel, much less really, any of God’s word at all. Where are we? What is our purpose? We are supposed to be the salt and light of the world and the majority of the church today can barely even explain the gospel, let alone preach it.
Jonathan Edwards preached one sermon about God’s wrath against sin, and people were begging for the mercy of God by the end of it. Peter preached his sermon at Pentecost, and 3000 came to Christ. Many churches preach today, and people walk out of the church with a happy little tickle on their ears.
We need a right good shaking is what I think in this day and age. We need to wake up and realize that this world is going to perish, and that number whom Jesus warned us would miss the narrow gate in Matthew 7 is rapidly increasing.
Now, I realize that I have gone on a bit long there, so I suppose it would help if I actually answered the question. The three most important things that I always try my best to do, and I am a fallen sinner like any other so I do it imperfectly of course, is when I present the word…that is what I present. What we need the most in our churches today is the expository preaching of the word of God. We need to present the truth of the word of God in raw form and teach people the truth that is in Scripture.
Next, I make sure that I study the Scriptures myself and strive to learn and live more in accordance with them every day, again imperfectly as I still have a lot of growing and learning to do. But I expect this process to take the rest of my life. I do my best to always be sure that I understand and can explain the Gospel to people with the scriptures is what I really mean.
Finally, I pray. I pray for myself, and I pray for others. I think my prayer life has always been one of my biggest struggles, but I strive to spend time every day in communion with my Savior, and to seek for my own sanctification, as well as that of those who I talk with and share the word with. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can truly effect change in the heart of any man, so I do what I can to give the truth, and pray that what I have done will be used by the Holy Spirit to effect the change.
I will finish up by saying this, that what I mean in reality is that when we wish to present the truth of the gospel as it is presented in the word…there is no painless way to do that. We are all fallen and wretched sinners, who have committed the most egregious crimes against a Holy and infinite triune God. When we truly realize our standing before Him, we must be broken. As Jesus told us in Matthew 21:42-44, “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
We will ultimately fall on Christ and be broken before Him, or we will be crushed beneath Him in judgement. Either way, we are all headed for eternity one way or the other, and this is why the great commission is so vital, as is presenting the truth. No matter if it hurts, because the truth always hurts. You can’t apply antiseptic to an infected wound without it hurting, nor can you apply Christ to a wicked heart without it hurting.
Well, I think that I have rambled enough on that. I apologize if I went a bit too much there. I hope that I answered you’re questions at least, and if you have any other questions please ask them. I will do my best to be concise, I promise. We must be loving, we must be compassionate, but I cannot think of a lesser love than to not do whatever it takes to prevent someone from going to hell, even if it means that it’s going to have to hurt to hear the truth.
May God grant you wisdom and understanding you seek the truth of His word Don. God bless you and thank you.