The Paradox of Faith (@jhosborn)

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Nahum is a book of paradox. Nahum the prophet asserts both the goodness and mercy of God the father at the same time as describing the terrible fate which God has brought about on those who do not recognise him as God.

The basest of all human interaction and intent has eventually caught up with the people of Nineveh. With the sheer disregard they have for human life and the intent to do others harm, all that is despicable about our own humanity has been on display in the lives of those who populated Nineveh for many years, both before and after the intervention of Jonah which took place about 100 years before Nahum entered the picture. These people of Assyria had been perpetrating all kinds of evil on each other and on the peoples surrounding them and God called time on it.

To  understand this paradox more clearly I would strongly suggest you read Krish Kandiah’s book ‘Paradoxology’. It is extremely helpful, explaining many of the paradoxes we find throughout the Bible by giving food for thought rather than telling the reader what to think.

The message of Nahum for me is hope. God is the God of second chances, He waits patiently (ch 1 v 3) and He protects those who trust him (ch 1 v 7). When we make mistakes He is waiting for us to confess, apologise, and begin again. The fact that this book marks the end for Nineveh shows just how awful the behaviour of the people had become. It also shows us the lengths God went to in order to protect his people from another people on the rampage.

That God would intervene gives me hope. Not that those I dislike will be obliterated by God! But that His justice will always catch up with those who repeatedly treat others with contempt or violence, who take every opportunity to oppress and disempower individuals or people groups, who carry out the basest most despicable acts imaginable to humanity, there will be nowhere to hide from the God of the universe.

Let’s show kindness, compassion and mercy in our digital lives as well as every other sphere, let’s not use our online presence to oppress or disempower, to disenfranchise or to treat others with contempt.

And in the meantime I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of my faith. I will put my trust in the God of second chances and keep pursuing this life that He is guiding me through, listening to His voice rather than my own.

About Jenni Osborn