A WORD OF CONSOLATION TO UKRAINE & ISRAEL
(Friday, December 1)
“The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished… The Lord is good to them that wait on him in the day of affliction; and he knows them that reverence him.” (Nahum 1:3, 7)
This Friday, when NC-folks celebrate the Prophet Nahum, I’m looking at the brief, three-chapter Book of Nahum, the seventh of the twelve Minor Prophets. Throughout this fasting season that leads up to Christmas, our church calendar commemorates several of the Old Testament prophets, (e.g., tomorrow December 2 is the Prophet Habbakuk/Avvakum, and the day after December 3 is the Prophet Zephaniah/Sophonias), who don’t generally get much press the rest of the church year. This season, we are to immerse ourselves a bit more than usual in the Old Testament times, so that we get a taste of *their* anticipation of the Messiah and make it our own. The Prophet Nahum reminds us that “the Lord is good to them that wait on Him” in difficult times; in times when the bad guys seem to be winning and God seems to be looking the other way. He may be slow to anger, but “the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished,” this holy prophet consoles us.
In fact, the name *Nahum* signalizes compassion and consolation. It stems from the verb נחם (naham), to be sorry or to comfort. The Prophet Nahum is different from the other prophets in that he does not chastise or admonish his own Jewish people, for their wrongdoings. His focus is on consoling them and prophesying about the fall of the iniquitous-yet-powerful Assyrian Empire, which terrorized his people at this time, but was to collapse by the end of the 7th c. BC.
It’s a good time to remember the Prophet Nahum and to heed his voice, I think, especially in regions like Ukraine and Israel, being terrorized by iniquitous neighbors. It’s important *not* to lose faith, and to let ourselves be consoled and strengthened in faith, especially when many voices or even the majority of voices in our world (and in our heads) want to drag us down. “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished… The Lord is good to them that wait on him in the day of affliction; and he knows them that reverence him.” Holy Prophet Nahum, pray to God for us today!