ODJ: crime and punishment

September 27, 2013 

READ: Nahum 1:1-15 

The Lord is slow to get angry, but His power is great, and He never lets the guilty go unpunished (v.3).

An English media personality was highly honoured when he was alive. At his funeral someone said that, “His story was an epic of giving. Giving of time, giving of talent, giving of treasure. [He] can face eternal life with confidence.” But then the police launched a criminal investigation into more than 300 allegations of child sexual abuse and rape by the deceased.

If proven guilty, no one will be able to hold the deceased accountable for his misdeeds. He’s dead. Does that seem unfair? The prophet Nahum helps us deal with this issue, revealing a God who is both just and merciful:

• “The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage” (Nahum 1:2). God is jealous for His glory and for those He loves. It’s impossible to violate the glory and honour of God and those He loves and not face His wrath.

• “The Lord is slow to get angry, but His power is great, and He never lets the guilty go unpunished” (v.3). God is long-suffering. He stays His anger with mercy. But we must never confuse His patience with impotence. Nahum gives us a portrait of His almighty power in verses 3-6. God is not only just; He also has the power to execute justice.

• “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him” (v.7). Jonathan Edwards reminds us that we’re all sinners in the hands of an angry God. He said, “Therefore let everyone that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come.” Only those who have taken refuge in Christ will be able to face eternal life with confidence.

All of us must one day stand before God. Are you ready? —Poh Fang Chia

Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Romans 2:5 and Hebrews 9:27 and note what is said about Judgement Day.
How will Nahum’s description about God shape the way you deal with injustice today? Why is it comforting to know that God is both just and merciful?