By Leslie M. Grant

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”—Nahum 1:3 NKJV

Nahum, meaning “comfort,” is a vigorous prophecy of the judgment of Nineveh. Being the capital of Assyria, the city stands for that empire, the “King of the North,” in a coming day. Note that Assyria is not the same as present-day Syria. Rather, it takes its land from Iran, Iraq and Syria. While Egypt denotes for us the world in its complacent, or self-satisfied, independence of God, Assyria indicates the world’s vicious opposition to God. The prophecy was occasioned by the cruelty of Assyria when Sennacherib (meaning “He who destroys”) invaded Israel, and it was partially fulfilled when Nineveh was destroyed. Yet this prophecy looks on to God’s judgment of the King of the North in a future day. Notice that the determined ferociousness of this enemy is fully matched by the unbending rigor of the judgment of God.

Yet, while the first few verses of the book describe the indignation and fierceness of God’s anger, this is followed by the marvelous comfort of Nahum 1:7: “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” He is slow to anger and perfect in calm deliberation, for He does not desire to condemn. But He will judge evil, whether by whirlwind or storm; and in such judgments the wisdom of “His way” will be seen.

Let us learn well from this prophet both the awful strength of God’s wrath and the blessed strength of His protection.