In the middle of June, we at Faith Baptist dived into the book of Nahum. I know, that may seem somewhat odd to some, yet the book is truly fascinating. It is spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally brimming. In the first few verses of Nahum, the prophet opens with a description I find unique. The Lord is described as jealous, avenging, wrathful, slow to anger, great in power, and serves as sovereign judge (Nah 1:2-3). Did you notice slow to anger in that list? The other attributes seem to exhibit a stark contrast, yet in the middle of such intensity God declares He is slow to anger.
While preaching through Nahum, I found God vividly portrayed as the ultimate terror and the ultimate Savior. He pursues His enemies into darkness (Nah 1:8), yet rescues His disobedient people and calls them to feast (Nah 1:15). God restores the majesty of Jacob (Nah 2:2), yet He thrusts His adversary into desolation (Nah 2:10). The three chapters of Nahum interweave between a melody of war and a song of salvation. It is fitting the book opens with such attributes mentioned. God is gracious and merciful; yet He executes judgment.
Weeks after finishing Nahum, I was reading the Confessions by Saint Augustine. The book is considered a classic, and I thought it would be great for my morning reading. Several chapters in, I found Augustine also meditates on God’s attributes. For years theologians have observed a variety of traits belonging to God’s being. His knowledge, power, love, eternity, and other qualities are central topics in theology. Augustine notices another mystery that I believe Nahum touches on. God’s being and His interaction with His creatures are both mysterious. What amazes me is how God often relates to us in a paradox. Modernizing Augustin’s wording and adding Scripture references, I want to share some of his thoughts with you:
God is ever active (Ps 121:3), yet always at rest (Heb 4:9-11). He gathers all things to Himself (Col 1:20), though He suffers not of need (Acts 17:25). God grieves for wrong (Eph 4:30), but suffers no pain (Mal 3:6). He can be angry (Isa 30:27), and yet serene (Phil 4:7). His works are varied (Ps 104:24), but His purpose is one and the same (Rom 8:28; Prov 19:21; Isa 46:10). He welcomes those who come to Him (Isa 55), though He never lost them (John 6:39; Matt 10:29-30). He is never in need (Rom 11:35-36), yet glad to gain (Ps 16:11), never covetous (Jas1:13), yet He exacts a return for your gifts (Luke 12:48). He releases us from our debts (Col 2:14), but He loses nothing thereby (Isa 57:15).
So what is the point in all this? Simple. Behold the God of the Bible! Meditate on Him, worship Him, seek after Him, surrender to Him. May our hearts be kindled and our minds sharpened. May He increase and we decrease. I pray that as we ponder on the mysteries of God, His children receive a renewed passion and vision of their Heavenly Father.
In Christ by His Grace,