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The chief points in the opening of Nahum's prophecy, are to set forth the Lord's just judgment on his enemies, and his mercy over his Israel.
Here seems a double title to Nahum's book. It is a burthen. And it is the book of a vision. Perhaps this double title might signify ruin, and an heavy burthen upon Nineveh, and a vision of peace and glory to Israel.
The Prophet opens his sermon with the most striking text, such as the Lord himself opened his sermon with, when he preached before Moses. See Exodus 34:1-7 . It were to weaken the words of this solemn and gracious passage, to offer any comment upon them. The Lord's sovereignty, and the Lord's grace are awfully set forth. I only beg the Reader to remark how beautifully blended the one is with the other. A child of God that reads this passage, can do as David did, sing of mercy and of judgment, and direct his holy song unto the Lord. Psalms 101:1 .
It is very evident that the Prophet's whole discourse is directed to warn the Ninevites, who thought of destroying Israel, that they should thereby only hasten their own destruction. And the event in the history of that people have so proved. Reader! turn to that sweet scripture promise upon this and every other occasion, for it is a promise that never hath failed or can fail; and may be applied as opportunities need, for God's people in all ages. Isaiah 55:13 . In both spiritual concerns, and temporal, this holds good. But, Reader! do not forget to connect with it the cause, namely Christ. Connect also Psalms 72:17 . the blessing is in Him, and 2 Corinthians 1:20 . the promises. Sweet consideration to the believer!
Here is the blessed verse which throws light upon the whole Chapter, and fully explains the whole. This shows that the Prophet was not speaking of the men of Nineveh, or the Babylon of his day; but the oppressors of Jesus's Church of every day, and all the day, during a life of grace. Yea, the mystic Babylon of all ages, which joined with the powers of hell, have conspired to crush the cause of the Lord, and His Anointed. Psalms 2:1-2 ; Revelation 17:5-6 . How blessedly was the Prophet commissioned in this verse to point to Jesus. And how blessedly also was the Prophet commissioned to comfort Judah with the assurance of his coming? Reader! those are sweet feasts of our Judah in the present hour, when the presence of Jesus is seen and enjoyed in them! Ordinances are truly blessed, when they lead the heart to Christ! Lord grant that they never may be used by any of thy people to keep from Christ. For this they always do, when forgetting the end, we rest in the means; and lean upon the ordinance, instead of wholly enquiring in the ordinance for the Lord Jesus! See the Lord's solemn expostulation on this subject, by one of the Prophets. Zechariah 7:4-6 .
READER! think how gracious the Lord is in his attention to his people, even when their sins are calling forth his chastisement. The Church was now going into captivity, but still, though deserving correction, it is the correction of a father; and though the enemy be permitted to afflict, yet they shall not destroy; and in due time the Lord will reckon with them for it.
And what I beg the Reader more especially to regard in this delightful Chapter is, the method the Lord takes to comfort his people, with the tidings of salvation. It was at a period when many hundred years were to run out before the coming of Jesus. But notwithstanding this, as the glorious events of salvation, like the Almighty Author of it, was the same yesterday and today, and forever; so the Church of God shall be comforted with the assurance of it in all, ages. Reader! do not overlook this! It was this that became the joy, the comfort, the consolation of the faithful through all periods of the Church. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all alike lived in the enjoyment of it, and all died in the full assurance of it. The covenant of redemption was, and is the covenant of eternity. And consequently they are, and must be the same things with all the redeemed; in trouble or joy, in death or in life. Hence Nahum, hence Isaiah, hence Paul, yea all, both Prophets and Apostles, welcome Christ; and the very feet of the publishers of salvation are beautiful. Precious, precious Jesus! what unknown, unexplored, and ever to be admired and adored beauties, are centered in thy One glorious Person! thou altogether lovely and fairest of ten thousand!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Nahum 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany