Nahum comforts God’s people by pronouncing serious judgment on His enemies. Nahum 1:3 says, “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” God’s “slow to anger” nature is the subject of a lot of different passages in the Bible. I did a search on “slow to anger” and found that this exact phrase shows up 16 times. Fifteen times it’s in the Old Testament. The only time it shows up in the New Testament is in James 1:29 where we are exhorted, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” But the idea of God’s patience with sinners is not absent in the New Testament.  Peter tells us about this disposition of God toward sinful man in both of his letters. The idea is that God is patient, and slow to anger, with sinners. In 1 Peter 3:20 he says, “They formerly did not obey when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah.” In 2 Peter 3:15, as he closes his letter says (New Living Translation), “And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.”

Nahum wants us to know that there is another truth regarding God. He will not let the guilty go unpunished. I wish the district attorneys of many of the large cities in America would get this message. Nahum seems to be referring to Exodus 34:6-7 which tells us, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” God was patient with the world of sinners at the time of Noah, but finally, because of his love for his chosen people, He destroyed the world. I think Noah’s use of the natural weather events of whirlwinds, storms, and clouds shows us that God is greater than any of the storm gods worshipped by Israel’s enemies. Just as God acted against all the Egyptian false gods in the ten plaques, so too will he act against the false gods of Israel’s enemies. God is the real warrior who rides on storm clouds into battle. The clouds are the dust of His feet as he roars into battle against his enemies.

The point of Nahum’s prophecy was to comfort those who are suffering at the hands of evil people. It also warned the persecutors that God will eventually bring judgment like He did in the days of Noah. To believers, this is comfort knowing that God will bring judgment on the wicked one day. To unbelievers, what are you waiting for? God’s patience, and His “slow to anger” nature will not last forever. He sent another ark into the world. It’s his one and only son, Jesus. The Psalmist prophesied this in Psalm 103:8-12. It says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” In Christ, we find this forgiveness along with eternal life. Christ is the “Ark of God” for you and me. Paul addresses this issue regarding his own conversion to Christ. In Philippians 3:8-11 he says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”