Jealous, Avenging, Wrathful, or Good? Yes!

They’re not side-by-side, but pretty close. Not much distance between Nahum 1:2 and Nahum 1:7 (maybe 3 inches). But, at first glance, they seem worlds apart.

The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful . . .

The LORD is good . . .

Okay. Which is it? Jealous, avenging, and wrathful? Or good? Short answer: Yes.

Okay. Which should I expect on any given day? Uh, wrong question. God is unchanging. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. So, it’s not about what kind of “mood” God is in that determines jealousy, avenging wrath, or goodness. He is always jealous, in essence righteously predisposed to justice, and is the source of all that is good. The difference lies not in God arbitrarily taking up a posture concerning us, but in the posture we determine to adopt towards Him.

The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries and keeps wrath for His enemies.

(Nahum 1:2 ESV)

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.

(Nahum 1:7 ESV)

Adversary and enemy vs. those who take refuge. How one chooses to position themselves before God ultimately determines how God, “with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:7 NKJV), will respond to them.

Cross your arms, think to stare Him in the eyes, mock His ways, defy His commands, and persecute His people? And you’re gonna find out He is jealous for His glory, jealous for His people, and unwaveringly faithful to His purposes and promises. Choose the way of rebellion? Know the consequences of retribution.

Acknowledge Him as Creator, confess your need of a Savior, by faith flee to Him as Redeemer? Then know a stronghold for the day of trouble. Know refuge founded on a solid rock. Know that God is good.

But there’s a third statement of God’s unchanging, eternal nature in these opening verses of Nahum:

The LORD is slow to anger . . .

(Nahum 1:3a ESV)

God is good, even to His enemies, in that He is slow to anger. He is patient, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2Pet. 3:9). To loosely quote Dane Ortlund, He is abounding in love, but has to be provoked to anger. (I highly recommend Ortlunds, “Gentle and Lowly”).

Having provided a way for all sin to be atoned for, He will demand an accounting for its payment. If the payment for one’s sins are not appropriated through the finished work of the cross, then the sinner will pay the price themselves — a debt they are unable to pay.

God is jealous. God will avenge. God is good.

Good to me as a refuge-seeker in Him. Good to His enemies even as He patiently calls them to also become refuge-seekers through His Son.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.

(Romans 5:10 ESV)

The LORD is good.

Known daily by His grace. To be declared eternally for His glory.

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