Americans use a phrase when they are particularly delighted: this is too good to be true! While shopping we find just what we’re looking for and it’s on sale! Our daughter is finally dating someone and he has a job! I think you get the picture. Sometimes the news is so good that we’re even afraid that it’s too good to really be true. The prophetic book of Nahum is like that. In three short chapters God reminds us of His all-powerful character and yet His love and mercy.
Nahum’s name means comfort and consolation, however, as we read his message he uses words like vengeance and desolation. God declares the future destruction of the Assyrian Empire but promises restoration for Israel. This a book of contrast: Assyria has no comfort, no relief, no easing of the grief that is coming. Israel, on the other hand, is given good news: too good to be true news. That’s where we find Jesus.
Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news! He is bringing a message of peace. Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah, and fulfill all your vows, for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again. They will be completely destroyed! (Nahum 1:15 NLT)
In the New Testament we read about the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1). The word gospel means literal good news, so good in fact, it seems ‘too good to be true’. Jesus is that messenger that Nahum spoke of. His offer of eternal life, unconditional love, and forgiveness of sin seemed, and still does, too good to be true. Nahum’s name reminds us that the Holy Spirit was sent by Christ to serve as a source of comfort in our disappointment, loss, or grief. He’ll alleviate our emotional ups and downs in life by the constant encouragement in His Word. Read Psalm 3, 31, or 96 as a few examples of God’s message of encouragement.
While reading Nahum we also don’t want to miss the command to ‘celebrate your festivals’ as previously read. Every time the Jewish people celebrated Passover, (we know it as Holy Communion), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and Tabernacles (the future, final gathering of the nations) the reminder was present and should be for us as well. He is returning to fulfill every word He has spoken through the prophets.
Nahum’s message therefore is one of destruction as well as hope; it just depends on which side you’re on. If you’re reading this then I’m guessing that you are interested in the Word of God or at least sense His drawing to know Him better. Similarly, you may have been a Christian your whole life but sense that same magnetic draw to better understand His ways. I encourage you to open the Bible and spend some time reading the book of Nahum. It’ll take you about six minutes but now you have a good reason to read it: it’s almost too good to be true news.