Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news,
who proclaims peace!
Celebrate your festivals, Judah, and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
This is the end of a prophecy against Nineveh, for the Lord was angry and considered them as an enemy. “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished… The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away.”
These images of power and judgment are not ones we want to hear. In the midst of the prophecy against Nineveh, Nahum writes that, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.” Isn’t that more what we want to hear – the comfort and the grace?
But we cannot separate out the power and judgment from the love and mercy, as if God cannot be both. God has the right to ask us to give him all praise and obedience, for God made us and we are his. God has the right to judge us for our faults and intentional acts of wrongdoing. Yet God also provides what God demands, and that’s where our last verse comes in. Look! There on the mountains! See the one coming who brings good news, who proclaims peace! In the time of Nahum, the people were given the grace to look ahead to what God was planning, but its time had not yet come. We, looking back on Nahum’s words, may see that Jesus is the one who brought us good news. Jesus offers peace. Jesus died to take upon himself all our wrongs that separate us from our righteous God.
The Lord is good; the Lord is righteous. And the Lord is right to demand from us behavior that match the faith we profess.
Lord, may we fulfill our vows to you. May we give you thanks for all that Jesus has done on our behalf, making us a new creation in him. Let us not forget that you are in charge and expect of us good things. We pray that by your Holy Spirit, we may give you honor and praise, today and every day, and live according to your word. In Jesus Christ, Amen.