Book Review: The Twelve (Nahum)
Welcome to our monthly book review for, The Twelve- A Transformational Journey Through The Minor Prophets, by Parker Bradley. Drawing from the insights of the Minor Prophets in the Bible, The Twelve, is an encouraging, but also challenging resource for followers of Jesus, and anyone wanting to honestly understand how God reveals Himself in Scripture.
If you haven’t heard the introduction episode, go ahead and do that - it only takes a few minutes and will explain what the plan is going forward. We covered the chapter on Micah, last month, and are covering the chapter on Nahum in this episode.
The introduction to this chapter is powerful as Bradley creates a picture of nature’s reaction to the wrath of God. He then gets right into the thick of things, by giving an overview of what seems to have changed in the last hundred years in Nineveh and the motivation behind Nahum’s message of doom from the Lord.
I was surprised to hear Bradley say that some Christian commentators wished Nahum was not included in the Bible because of what they perceive to be God’s relentless judgement, devoid of love. That’s interesting considering God’s hand guided which books were to be included in the Bible and has preserved His Word throughout the ages. It also makes me think of 2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. So when these things are taken into consideration, why would God leave Nahum’s account out of the Bible?
Bradley calls Nahum’s message to the Assyrians - blistering. I liked how Bradley delved into a bit of history between the kings of Assyria and the other prophets, like Jonah, who had given Nineveh a warning. It answers questions like:
Why did Nineveh go back to its evil ways after their repentance?
What kinds of things were the Assyrians doing to be considered vile by God?
Bradley also takes a look at the kings of Judah and how they reacted to the Assyrian kingdom. I loved revisiting the miracles that God did for King Hezekiah in his stand against the Assyrian kingdom.
Bradley poses questions that readers might think of, such as: Did God not see what was happening?
In this context, Bradley looks into greater detail of the connection in Nahum to:
The wrath of God
The defence of the downtrodden
Justice and peace
The work of Christ’s death on the cross
Bradley highlights how Nahum is not about a battle between Judah or Israel against Nineveh. It’s God versus Nineveh and Bradley shows how the scripture verses in Nahum clearly reflect this. He references:
Nahum: 2:13, 3:5 - Behold, I am against you (God)
Nahum: 1:14. I will make your grave, for you are vile (God)
Nahum: 3:19 - unceasing evil of Assyria.
I had the same experience with these verses as Bradley - they sent chills down my spine, especially 3:19. So how vile was Assyria? I had read about some of their actions but nothing prepared me for the examples Bradley gave from historic accounts.
Bradley speaks of how Assyria had been used by God to punish Israel, and how Assyria had gone way beyond the boundary God had set for them. This got me thinking about how Assyria may not have seen their rise for the oppression of God’s people as a call from God. They may have seen it as their own accomplishment, therefore, attaining a false sense of power, which was driven and escalated by their evil. So then this question popped into my head: If God is all knowing, why was Assyria given power, that they would go on to misuse? The answer for me is found in Proverbs 21:30 - There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord. So I have no idea why Assyria was given their power, but one day, we will be able to ask the Lord all the questions we have and I am 100% sure, I will be amazed and humbled at His answers.
Bradley has an informative section on:
God’s right and justice as opposed to vengeance (Bradley uses some time to effectively explain God’s justice as opposed to revenge)
Injustice and who God uses to call out social, political and religious evils
God’s character (Parker references Nahum 1:2-3, Exodus 20:5)
Justice and righteousness (references Amos 5:24)
The difference between justice and righteousness
The connection in Nahum to Christ’s sacrifice and the cleansing work of the cross
Understanding God’s wrath in the right context (through His character described in the Bible and through Jesus). Exodus 34:6-7: 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Bradley gives us a powerful personal testimony concerning his experience and understanding of God’s wrath, during his stay in Uganda - very interesting!
Bradley circles back to our need for Jesus, the meaning of God’s peace and the good news of the gospel.
He references Exodus 14:13-14 (the Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent). This is a powerful verse that has echoed throughout my life and it’s a wonderful verse to conclude this chapter on. Being silent is often difficult as the storms roar, and our hearts threaten to faint in fear. But Bradley’s review shines on the main message in Nahum (as well as the Bible in general) that may not initially be apparent but is nevertheless clear in the actions that God took, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Bradley’s study of Nahum is rich with cross references to other books and letters in scripture, in-depth discussion and a clear connection to the source of our protection against God’s just and righteous wrath - salvation through Jesus Christ.
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.
Book and thumbnail source: www.audible.com