Three Nahum Sermon Notes/Outlines

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.

Some introductory material
Relevant to a discussion of how a congregation Gentile converts to YHWH at Nineveh posed a problem to the religious establishment at Jerusalem
From the series on Nahum

The Church of What’s Really Happening Now

For five or six months I’ve been thinking about how the salvation of the elect and its outworking affects those who are not among the elect – do they produce any benefit whatsoever for those who will never be numbered among the redeemed?  Here’s part of what I wrote and posted on a discussion forum in a thread about perceived discrepancy between experienced life of the believer and the statements contained in the first installment to the Book of Psalms:

My conclusion is this: No benefit whatsoever accrues to those who are not the elect. Every good effect is ultimately experienced by the believer, and it all ultimately glorifies God. Paul says it best when he says something like “the Gospel (and, in my thinking the effects of the Gospel) is the stench of death to those who are perishing.” The problem of the good hurts them as it hardened Pharaoh’s heart prior to the Exodus. Everything that God ordains is for our benefit and to his glory.

Then, in response to a third-party’s question to me, I wrote:

My current thinking is that yes, as believers, even (and probably we do this best and mostly) when we act out by living our life in Christ unintentionally, we should and do treat those around us with justice, kindness, mercy, which are a better measure of love, anyway, than sentiment. For one thing, we probably don’t have a clue who is and who is not among the elect in the general population, and that’s not really a matter for the believer to try to sort out, in any case. And also, I think that the effect of our Christian lives on the minds and hearts, maybe souls is a better word (?), of those who are not elect has a tormenting effect on them. Proverbs mentions that meeting the needs of an enemy heaps coals upon the head of the one who hates us.

But also, I think every interaction between God and the redeemed, whether discipline, blessings that are circumstantially easy to identify as “good,” as well as those that are not so easy to identify, galls those who are not elect.

Personally, I am not happy about this because I would hope to actually make better the lives of every one I serve as part of my work, or with whom I come in to contact during the course of my work and life.

This is pretty scary stuff that every day, if my conclusions are correct, has the effect of alienating some and restoring others to the levels of functioning associated with awareness of eternal realities.

I am annoyed that correct and effect rhymed, supra.