The prophetic book of Nahum is interesting for a number of reasons.
1. Its structure is more poetic than the others.
2. Its intent seems to one of gloating and glee over the misfortune and total destruction of Nineveh. I believe there are a few angles to explore as to the whys.
• He is picking up on Jonahs experience and anger about Gods care for Nineveh. Nahum’s rejoicing in their subsequent destruction is a celebration of Jonahs vindication in the apparent loss of face and shame…giving strength to the ongoing prophetic function of the Hebrew nation.
• The prophetic rejoicing is speaking forth for the Judean celebration of God being with them once again…A command to remember God in how he released them from the bondage of Egypt is a theme throughout the previous prophets…the theme to remember is not of something that happened in the past…but rather to remember God’s presence is with them in the now… Jesus spoke of God being the God of Abraham, Israel and Isaac in the present tense and we too need to know God is continually present and working in our lives also and isn’t just a God of the past who acted and we are to just remember the facts of the past.
• The poetic nature of Nahum shows the poetic licence of all poets to get away with exploring emotional historical themes in which societal niceties don’t allow other literature / means for us to explore. He reflects our inner outrage towards atrocious acts in which we restrain ourselves from voicing and in which we silently celebrate and rejoice within our hearts when we see, hear of or experience the destruction or punishment of the wicked. On a pastoral basis this gives us freedom to honestly explore and release our own emotions before God and others in the face of hardship and trials…instead of being shut down, told to suck it in and have faith…..
• I disagree with Wood’s political take on Nahum and its polarising of the West and the East, using her recent example of the Western torture of captives; the activities in which we can rightly be aghast at. It also has to be said the third world countries also are guilty at social injustices which arise out of cultural, traditional and spiritual tensions which have nothing to do with Western values or actions.
• This then raises a second question about her proposal in that God is more interested in nations then He is for individuals. Nations are made up of societies which are made up of communities, which are made up of families which are made up of individuals. God brings His charges time and time again because of the injustices against the poor and I believe has the personal well being of every individual in mind. Certainly it’s the leaders who are to set in motion the social justice and create a national atmosphere of right judgement.
• As Christians we need to not only humbly accept God is for us and not against us…He is also for all…hence the Gospel inclusiveness for all and this inclusiveness binds us together for the greater good of all mankind. Therefore I propose that through the eyes of Christ; within the story of Nahum we celebrate the destruction of darkness, the defeat of all evil, the judgement of the devil and the complete restitution and recreation of new heavens and earth.