A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.Nahum 1:2(NASB)
Throughout the Bible, the character of God is gradually unveiled to different people. His names and His attributes are revealed to us, little by little, in the writings of various biblical authors. To David, He is revealed as our Shepherd... and to Gideon, we discover that God is our Peace.
To Abraham, the Lord unveils Himself as our Provider while here in the book of Nahum, the character of God is described as jealous. But the jealousy of God is never a resentful, envious, or suspicious type of jealousy which is too often displayed by fallen man. The jealousy of God can be likened to the righteous jealousy of a husband's sacred love for His precious wife.
In his writings, Nahum identifies two contrasting sides of the Lord's character. On the one hand, he is a jealous, avenging, wrathful God Who is protective for the well-being of the ones He loves, while on the other hand He is shown to be long suffering and of great goodness.
Nahum shows that the Lord is gracious and full of compassion and gives plenty of time for those that commit evil, to repent of their sins. Repenting of one's sins is not displaying some emotional reaction to one's own wrongdoing - but is changing from doing wrong to believing what is right and trusting God. It is to change from believing something that is untrue to believing the truth.
The Lord patiently waits to see if an evil doer will change their mind and look to Him before punishing them. However, when the wicked refuse to repent of their evil, the wrath of God is eventually poured out upon them and when the time for the punishment of the wicked arrives - none can withstand Him, for the Lord is a jealous and avenging God Who is angry over sin. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries who sin against Him. He reserves wrath for His enemies who blaspheme His holy name: "Vengeance is mine," says the Lord, "I will repay."
The Lord was long-suffering with the antediluvian population of the earth, but the wickedness of pre-flood people became so intense that the Lord finally poured out His judgement on a God-hating, evil world - but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and He protected Noah and his family with a godly jealousy.
The Lord was long-suffering with the city of Nineveh, and 100 years before Nahum pronounced God's vengeance and wrath over the wicked city of Nineveh, God had sent Jonah to preach the gospel of salvation to the evil men of that nation. At that time, they repented of their ungodly ways and for 100 years the grace of God was shown within the gates of this pagan city. But godly ways were soon forgotten by the citizens of Nineveh and evil idolatry in the city quickly returned... and the people plotted against the Lord.
But the Lord is jealous for His own people and He is jealous for His holy name... and Nahum, the prophet, declared that the city of Nineveh would be captured, her gates would be destroyed, flood and fire would engulf the nation, plundering and pillage would accompany Nineveh's fall, and its ultimate destruction would be full and final: "For God is a jealous and an avenging God. The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies."
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your written Word and the truth that it contains. Thank You that You are a righteous and holy God Who punishes evil and avenges the righteous. Thank You that You jealously care for Your people and that the day is coming when righteousness and peace will flood the earth - when Christ returns to set up His earthly kingdom. Thank You, in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.