Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Nahum: A Prophet of Doom (Nahum 1:15) - Good News!

15  Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him
    who brings good news,
    who publishes peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah;
    fulfill your vows,
for never again shall the worthless pass through you;
    he is utterly cut off.

There is a hospital in our area where committed medical personnel treat children who have various forms of cancer and other diseases. Happily, there are many cases when a child is cured of the ailment by God’s hand through this wonderful staff. On such an occasion, the staff throws the child a party and the child rings a bell announcing the deliverance they now have over their life-threatening illness.

What great news this is especially to those in bondage to some disease! Surely such a pronouncement is worthy of celebration. Who among us would not also rejoice over such great news?

That is what we have in verse 15 (chapter 2, verse 1 in the Hebrew Bible). Nahum has repeatedly pronounced the coming judgment upon Nineveh and the Assyrians. For centuries, this evil empire has dominated the middle east bringing destruction to many and hopelessness to others. The northern kingdom of Israel was overthrown by them. They also held sway over the southern kingdom of Judah as a constant threat of their destruction as well. But now, God, through His prophet, has announced that is about to end!

The verse begins with words almost identical to those found in Isaiah 42:7 (we aren’t sure who wrote them first). Essentially, these two verses say the same thing: a messenger has appeared on the mountains surrounding Judah and that messenger announces the “good news” that the enemy of Judah has been defeated and the people have been delivered from their bondage. Peace has come. Ring the bell!

This terrific news of peace is followed by two commands: “keep your feasts” and “fulfill your vows”. The first is likely a reference to three annual feasts of Israel: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Passover is a remembrance and celebration of God’s deliverance of the Hebrew people from their bondage to Egypt. Pentecost is a celebration of the newness of life given to God’s redeemed. Tabernacles celebrates the continual abundance of God’s provision for His people. With the defeat of the enemy, Judah may celebrate!

“Fulfill your vows” is a reminder to the people to fulfill the commitments they have made to God. To turn from your vow would be sin. In other words, Judah must consecrate themselves to serve and obey God.

Why should they celebrate? Why should they consecrate? “For never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.” Your enemy is through. Your slave master has been forever defeated! Assyria will never again trouble Judah!

But this verse not only provides good news for Judah and the Old Covenant people. It also provides good news for the Church and the New Covenant people of God. Paul quotes the similar verse from Isaiah in Romans 10:15 and interprets it has the good news proclaimed by Gospel preachers. What great news such ministers deliver! Ring the bell! We are sinners in bondage to sin and Satan. But Christ has provided the deliverance from our sin and the devil. That’s good news! So, what should we do?

First, let us celebrate our deliverance! Let us celebrate with the Lord’s Supper, the New Covenant counterpart to Passover. Let us celebrate the coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the counterpart to Pentecost. Let us celebrate the daily provision of our Lord until He comes, the counterpart to Tabernacles. Celebrate your deliverance, believer!

Second, let us consecrate our lives to serve and obey our Deliverer. What God commands us, let us do gladly. He has given us freedom and brought us peace.

And, just like Assyria, the enemy of God’s people Judah, would never defeat and control Judah again, Satan/sin will never defeat and control us again! God will preserve His people and protect them until the day He comes!

Celebrate! Consecrate! Ring the bell for deliverance provided by God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ has arrived!

Have you been delivered? Have you repented of your sins and put your trust in Christ for the keeping of your soul? The message has arrived. Have you received it?

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