Nahum? Who is Nahum? I remember Nahum usually when I am trying to put the books of the Old Testament in order, or remembering those twelve minor prophets. Nahum is not a book even dedicated Christians regularly frequent, let alone study. We usually find ourselves in the New Testament, or some stirring accounts in the Old.
But it is with Nahum we read, because Nahum is about justice. This is not the kind of justice that people are shouting for on the street corners, but real, genuine, fire and brimstone justice. Our culture has softened the original by turning it into some distant form of equality, of making the rich poorer and the poor richer. That is not justice. Nor is making some “races” pay for imagined slights against other “races”. Our culture has so totally ignored the real purpose of justice that we would actually see real justice as cruelty.
The justice that Nahum has in mind is for the kingdom of Assyria, a nation that had been on God’s radar for some time (remember Jonah?) and had at one point responded positively to a message of repentance. But that time had passed. Now Assyria had ransacked the northern tribes of Israel and had its sights set on southern Judah. They were a nation reknowned for their cruelty and destruction, and God had now sent a word through Nahum of judgment and justice against their crimes against His people.
As Christians we are surrounded by this culture of cruelty, and we are calling out to God for justice against it. They have slaughtered children in the name of convenience, allowed perversion to become normal, and the time-honored marriage tradition to become sullied by the same. We see honorable men and women maligned in public and our hopes dashed for Christian men to be our new political leaders. We cry out to God for justice because we see none. Does God still answer out prayers?
Nahum has much to say about God, justice, and judgment. As he writes, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in a day of distress; He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” (Nah 1:7) The call from this letter is to take refuge in God, not in parties or platforms, not in labels or associations, but in the only the sure and strong refuge of the Lord.