Nahum 1:2-3 “God is jealous, and the Lord avenges;
The Lord avenges and is furious.
The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries,
And He reserves wrath for His enemies;
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.”
How is it that a God of Love can be so vengeful?
We can see the gentleness and meekness of the Messiah, the patience of the Father in the wilderness and the quiet voice of the Spirit with Elijah in the cave and know that God is merciful.
What is it that stirs Him up to such awesome wrath where His fury will not subside until His enemies are brought to justice?
The answer is found in His name.
God’s Holy Name
The reminder in Ezekiel comes on the heels of God’s wrath brought upon Gog and the nations that will attack Israel in the last days. The alliance of Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, and Sudan is currently forming in the Middle East. This alliance will be the army that gets annihilated in Ezekiel 38.
Ezekiel 38:23 “Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”
The defiance of the nations is a defiance against God’s name. He associates His name with the nation of Israel. Those who bless Israel, He blesses but those who curse Israel, He will bring upon them the full measure of their defiance.
Today, Israel has ventured off course, they no longer honor God as a nation and have allowed western influences to corrupt their people into following after everything else but God.
Why is there such significance attributed to this tiny nation?
Ezekiel 37:24-26 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.”
For those who think Israel is a non-entity in God’s plans, they are sorely mistaken. The covenant God made with them during the time of Abraham is a covenant that will never be broken.
The spiritual significance of this reality is one that is applicable to the nation of Israel in end time prophecy as well as the spiritual Israel individually.
Galatians 3:29 “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
We who have been grafted into the vine of Christ Jesus, are now heirs according to the promise, heirs collectively as the church. These may be Messianic Jews or believers in Africa, Europe, Asia, or the America’s, the narrative is the same….those who are redeemed by the blood of the lamb are the people of promise. Every tribe, nation, and tongue will be represented in God’s Kingdom.
The Lord not only takes special care of Israel as a nation, He is particularly focused on His church. The promises of God are manifold——protection, healing, purpose, love, the attributes of God’s goodness are too many to mention.
Why is the church special?
As spiritual heirs of Abraham, the church bears His name.
As the church has no glory of its own, the nation of Israel bears no glory of their own either. The only goodness and glory is what the Lord imparts to His people.
Ezekiel 36:23 “And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”
Sin is an affront to God’s name.
The character of God is offended when a person sins…..regardless of your affiliation to any religion. You don’t have to be a christian to offend God, you can also live like there is no God, claim science is your system and think you will move on into oblivion after your death, it really doesn’t matter. Your belief system has no bearing on God’s truth.
Psalm 102:15 “So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth Your glory.”
God’s name, His glory, and His goodness are synonymous. It is the goodness of God that leads us to salvation. It is by His goodness He showed us His mercy on the cross and it was through His goodness that He delivered us from sin. When someone rejects His goodness, they reject His grace and then stand condemned. For those who have accepted His grace, there is now no condemnation for they have been sealed by His Spirit.
Exodus 33:19 “Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
The vengeance of God is ultimately directed towards those who have defiled His name. For those who have stepped over His goodness and the love that Jesus offered on the cross, the rock of Christ became a stumbling stone. His wrath is for these alone, who have forsaken the promise and removed themselves from any hope of salvation.
Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
As God did not spare His Son upon the cross, so the wrath of God will not be spared against those who forsake His Son. The cross became the symbol of God’s hatred for sin, it also became the measure of His love.
How great was the act of grace that Jesus bore our sin, He carried our shame, and took our stripes upon His back.
How can someone reject so great of a salvation?
When someone does you wrong the first instinct is to either repay the evil or flee. Either way, evil leaves wounds and bitterness that causes a hardness of heart for those who let the pain remain.
Romans 12:19 “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Vengeance to God is an act of judgement but with a motive to restore. We have not been given enough knowledge to exact vengeance on another, nor are we in a place to usurp God’s authority, so it’s best to leave this to God.
Psalm 109:21 “But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for the sake of Your name; deliver me by the goodness of Your loving devotion.”
God’s people deserve God’s judgement but by His mercy have been spared.
Judgement is given by God through His Word. To the world it is condemnation, to His people it is a call to holiness. When we share the Word of God to the world, we admonish those living in sin to repent. If we correct a brother or sister in Christ, the Word brings judgment against their sin but not condemnation.
The magnitude of God’s glory is woven into the fabric of His Creation and it is revealed through His Word. When we live according to His purposes, we live according to His Word and in the fullness of Him.
God’s justice is always Good!
His justice is a revelation of His Holiness, it is a reminder of the greatness of His name, and it will reveal His glory when it is completed at the end of the age.
As God’s people, we must learn His ways and walk in His Word, then our ways will be well ordered and we will rejoice when God’s justice is finally revealed.