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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Nahum 1

Verse 2

Nahum 1:2

I. There are many terms applied to God in Scripture, which seem to anthropomorphize His character: The "angry" God; the "repenting" God; the "foreseeing" God. Now, whenever such terms are used, think of them as steps of Divine descent. Through those words, as down a stairway, Divine Majesty descends to us, and infinite relations make themselves known. "Jealous" is the same word as zealous, and both are derived from the Greek word ζῆλος , fire. Zeal is enthusiasm, moral fire; and jealousy what is jealousy, but love on fire? And is not this the representation we constantly have of God? And is it possible that to us He could be what He is love if it were not so? Jealousy is love on fire, and the jealousy of God is love on fire.

II. From our most innocent down to our most corrupt affections, there is danger that in them, in our haste, we forget God. If you love unwisely and vehemently, whatever it may be, you must accept the consequences as a proof of Divine jealousy. God is jealous of sin; and being jealous of sin, He is jealous of all aberrations from Himself. He is jealous of love, of power, of knowledge. See how He is constantly reminding man of his weakness, as He incarnates his strength. And God is constantly absorbing man's knowledge, love, and power to Himself.

III. We feel that there is no love where there is no fire; but let it burn with the white, not with the red, heat. Christ was love on fire. God so loved the world that He gave Him. The Cross illustrates the jealousy of God.

E. Paxton Hood, Dark Sayings on a Harp, p. 111.

Reference: Nahum 1:2 . Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 256.

Verse 8

Nahum 1:8

The text presents us with two great subjects of meditation: the admirable patience of the Divine Being, and the mysterious and awful character of His providential operations.

I. We believe, from the structure of the passage, that it was the Divine patience which the prophet desired to exhibit, and that he added a reference to the power of God, and His punishment of the wicked, in order to guard men against presuming on His forbearance.

The Divine patience is evidently a property which could not be displayed unless there was sin. There was abundant evidence of the Divine goodness before man transgressed; but none of the Divine patience. When our race rebelled, Divine patience instantly displayed itself. Men were not immediately punished; but, on the contrary, were allowed opportunities of repentance, so that it was evident that vengeance might be deferred, yea, finally averted, and that God was a Being who could restrain His anger, and receive back to favour the creatures by whom He had been provoked. We may safely affirm that the reason why long-suffering was exhibited in the instance of men, though not in that of angels, was that Christ had undertaken to be the surety of human kind, and that, therefore, repentance and forgiveness were possible in the case of the posterity of Adam.

II. Consider the remaining portion of the text, in which the prophet speaks of God in these sublime words: "The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet." God has everything at His disposal, and He accomplishes His purposes, and works out the counsel of His own will, through a varied instrumentality; not only through engines that seem worthy of being employed, but through others, that we might have thought unsuited to His ends; not only through the manifestations of gentleness and benevolence, but through the terrors of the hurricane; whether the hurricane that sweeps the firmament, or the far fiercer and sterner of human rebellion. It ought to come home to us as a beautiful truth that it is not in the calm of the sunshine, or in the pleasant breeze, that the Lord is said to have His way, but in those furious ebullitions, those tremendous concussions, which spread terror and ruin far and wide. It may have been a wild tempest which hath swept over you, casting down what you had been long in rearing, and blighting what you have long fondly cherished; but the Lord hath His way in that tempest. It could not have raged without His permission, and He gave that permission because He loved you and wished to do you good.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit. No. 317.

References: Nahum 1:3 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii., No. 137; vol. i., No. 36; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 53; Outline Sermons to Children, p. 113.Nahum 1:7 . Ibid., My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 345.Nahum 1:10 . G. W. McCree, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 157.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Nahum 1". "Sermon Bible Commentary".