What Was I Thinking?
About a hundred years ago when I attended a Southern Baptist seminary, I remember thinking, while sitting in James Nogalski’s Old Testament survey class, “What’s the deal with this judgment against Nineveh/Assyria?” Then I remembered the Jonah narrative and reckoned Nahum only made sense in light of Jonah.
I remember asking up about this in class and getting no good response from Dr. Nogalski that I can now recall. The discussion that ensued briefly among my classmates, however, I recall pretty well. Most of those who spoke up simply made the usual thoughtless remarks about all people in all places at all times owing God fealty and worship. True but not sufficient to make sense of Nahum. As if the scribes were incapable of applying their minds and making rational sense as they recorded and organized prophecies and history.
Of course the prophets and the written narratives of their work and utterances have their origins in the mind of God and have value in a standalone sense but they have been organized and exist in history and in the canon of scripture in relationship to one another. However, to leave off thought and query out of a devotionalistic failure to apply mind to the obvious relationships between concepts, events, prophetic statements found in scripture is a kind of false worship and perceptual diminution of the mind and work of God.
So, why would YHWH judge so harshly the people of Nineveh and the nation ruled from that locale any more than any other Gentile nation? Because years before, the people of Nineveh repented and turned to YHWH at the preaching of Jonah. A different relationship had been established by YHWH with the people of Nineveh through preaching of Jonah versus, say, the Cimmerians or the Ethiopians.
What is this stuff?
The first of these is obviously an introductory outline. I don’t know where the other two fell in my series. The one entitled The Problem with the Church @ Nineveh may have been a segue between my series on Jonah and that on Nahum. The third, brief note or outline? Possibly early in the series? Dunno.
About that introductory outline – I remember saying stuff like, “We’ve got a lot material to get through, so let’s get started.” Very inspirational delivery.
I haven’t line by line gone back over these notes. That said, I know everything I wrote made perfect sense to me when I wrote it and made at least okay if maybe complicated sense when I preached from it to the congregation. Whether this will make a lick of sense to anyone reading this blog or have any beneficial effect in the lives of that population, I have no idea.