2 The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
If his readers were expecting the prophet to begin his message with some modern-day teaching on the love of God, they would have been greatly disappointed. Too often in our society, we think of God only in terms of His love or His grace. There is much more to God than those two attributes.
As a husband, I am jealous for my wife. I want to be her one and only. I do not want her desiring other men, only me. I want her to obey my words, not the words of others. God’s jealousy is much like that. He desires we worship Him and Him alone. He calls on His to obey His voice, not the voice of the world, flesh, or devil. He is righteous and His commands are righteous. He is a jealous God, jealous for people to exalt and follow only Him.
To those who discard God and follow the ways of the world, God is not pleased. The citizens of Nineveh have displayed their unrighteousness by flaunting the Word of God given to them by Jonah and afflicting His people, Judah. Nahum proclaims the jealous God will avenge. Such individuals will not go unpunished for Yahweh is also an avenging God, demanding justice for His enemies. That justice will come by His wrath, His righteous anger reserved for those who live in unrighteousness.
God’s wrath is not an attribute of our great Sovereign we enjoy discussing. Love is much more appealing. But God’s love of Himself and His holy character must be expressed by His wrath against those who do not love Him or heed Him. John 3:36 tells us that each of us, born in sin, are under God’s wrath while we do not surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. His wrath presently abides upon us. We are but one breath, one heartbeat from experiencing that infinite wrath!
We live in a world where evil abounds and where justice appears thwarted. Why do the evil flourish? Why do they get away with their wickedness? Why doesn’t God do something? Make no mistake, Nahum says. Yahweh takes vengeance on His enemies. He guards or keeps His wrath reserved for them.
Judgment is coming, Nineveh! You have turned from God. You have ignored His Word. You have trespassed His law. You have rejected your Creator. God is a jealous God, an avenging God. Your unrighteousness must be punished. His wrath is coming!
But the same must be said to each of us born of woman. Our natures are corrupted by sin and we are conceived under condemnation resulting from Adam’s sin. His wrath is upon us, being kept there until the hour He chooses to exact vengeance upon us.
Oh, sinner, turn to Christ while you may! Now is the time while God’s hand is stayed! Repent of your sins and trust Jesus for your salvation. He has fulfilled the righteous demands of God. Only He provides our redemption from and our propitiation for our sin. Salvation is found in Him alone!