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Book of Nahum Summary

Main Idea

Nahum warns the wicked city of Nineveh that although God is good (Nahum 1:7), He will punish them for their evil ways (Nahum 1:14). 

Explanation of Main Idea

God is a god of vengeance and wrath, visiting wickedness upon His enemies (Nahum 1:2). He is all-powerful and able to command the mountains and seas to melt away at His word (Nahum 1:4-5). This is not in conflict with His goodness shown to all who trust in him (Nahum 1:7). 

Because the city of Nineveh “plots evil against the LORD” (Nahum 1:11) and is a “city of blood, full of lies” (Nahum 3:1), violence, and murder, God is against them and will send attackers (Nahum 2:1), and bring shame and death upon them. They were strong and proud, with great allies (Nahum 3:9), but this will end at God’s hand.

Purpose

The purpose of the book of Nahum is to show that in spite of God’s goodness and compassion, He will not leave the guilty unpunished. He is both an avenging God and a merciful God; He is slow to anger, but when He decides to execute judgment, His “wrath is poured out like fire” (Nahum 1:6). 

God is good, “a refuge in times of trouble” (Nahum 1:7), but for those who do not trust in Him, they will come to a troubled end and nothing they do will succeed (Nahum 1:9). For the city that has been the source of violence and pride, violence will be visited back upon it (Nahum 2). Although Nineveh is strong, God is stronger.

Leading Themes

1. Wickedness will be judged.

God judges evil. He is against those who do not trust Him and are full of violence, lies, lust and stealing (Nahum 3:1-6). His longsuffering has limits.

2. God is both good and full of wrath.

Although the Lord is slow to anger, He is still angry! For those who trust in Him, He is a refuge; for those who are evil, He is a source of vengeance and wrath. 

3. People and nations can become extremely vile.

Nineveh was a wicked place; sin was running rampant. Their hearts were hard, they showed no evidence of remorse, even priding themselves on how evil they were.

How Does This Relate To Us?

As New Testament believers we often lose sight of the wrath and vengeance of God. We hold onto sin too easily, not recognizing that God is not pleased. It would be wise to spend some time thinking about God’s message to Nineveh through Nahum and repent of any ungodliness with which we might be struggling.

The message of Nahum may also bring us comfort knowing that one day God will punish wickedness. The world today is full of evil people and evil actions. While God is merciful and compassionate, it brings us great consolation to know that one day, all evil will be punished and righteousness will prevail.

Study Questions

Textual Questions

  1. Read through Nahum. Are you able to find any indication that they might repent?
  2. What does this book teach about the limits of God’s patience with evil?
  3. Read Nahum 1:7. Why do you think this positive message is included in the middle of what is otherwise a very negative message?

Life Application Questions

  1. Have you ever felt like you did something against the Lord? How has His patience been a comfort to you?
  2. In Nahum 2:13, God declares, “I am against you.” Do you think God says that about any country or city today? Which one? Why or why not?
  3. Read the last verse of the book. It says that everyone who hears that news about Nineveh’s fall will rejoice. What evil would you like to see eradicated from the face of the earth today? How do you think this could happen?

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