The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. (Nahum 1:7-8 ESV)
On 1st August Edward Snowden left Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport having been granted asylum by the Russian government. The move brought to an end the United States's pursuit of the intelligence whistle-blower. For all their military and economic power, the Americans in the end failed to catch Snowden and bring him to justice.
It turns out that Snowden is not the only one on the run! The Bible says that we are all on the run. As the Prophet Isaiah said "we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way". We are all running away from God our true Owner of our souls! And consequently we have created for ourselves a community of runaways.
Nearly everywhere we look we are surrounded by fugitives. The global superpower seeking to rule the world is a fugitive from fairness. The greedy politician with a corrupt heart is a fugitive from justice. Pastors championing a gospel of money are fugitives from biblical teaching. The husband doubling in pornography is a fugitive from faithfulness and purity.
Nahum reminds us that we are actually not the only ones running. God himself is on the run. He is running to chase "his enemies into darkness". The enemy in Nahum's time was Nineveh, an empire that had oppressed God's people and turned itself against God. God declares that he successfully pursues his enemies wherever they may hide. The blackest of darkness is not enough to prevent God from accomplishing his purposes.
And we must not think God chasing his enemies is somehow inconsistent with His goodness. Nahum makes it clear that it is precisely because God is a good God that he successfully pursues those who do wrong. His goodness demands that He ultimately acts to end their running! And when He acts, it is overwhelming like an overflowing flood - a bit like Asian Tsunami.
But someone will say, but I am here! I don't see any evidence of God chasing me into darkness! Just because God has not judged his enemies yet does not mean they are right before Him. God is patient (long suffering). He acts at the time of his choosing. Justice is certain and unavoidable for those who refuse to repent and turn to Him.
And yet others will say, but I am not Morsi or Gaddafi or Assad. Why must God chase me down? The truth is deep down our hearts we are no different from the worst dictators. It is only by the grace of God that we ourselves have not done the crimes that fill us with disgust when we read about them or watch on television.
Jim Andrews in his excellent book Polishing God’s Monuments pointedly observes :
The breast of every child harbors a potential beast. Those who were once precious infants have perpetuated all the inhumanities of man on other men. The awful reality is that all human beings are bankrupt from birth; it’s just that in babies that spiritual condition is temporarily latent rather than active.
The truth is that we are fugitives from God's justice. We are on the run and running from light into darkness. So Nahum rightly warns that all enemies of God shall be pursued even into these dark places. We must stop running to the darkness and run to God instead! And we can do that because the Prophet Isaiah ends by saying "and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all...".
In Jesus Christ God has overcome the ultimate darkness of sin and death. He has successfully pursued death on the cross and conquered it. The Bible says :
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Because God's goodness and His justice have embraced on the cross of Jesus Christ, all who have repented now live in the light – under the protection from his enemies in this life and beyond! No longer needing to run from God. As Paul writes to the church at Ephesus : "For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord.."
And yet many Christians live not different from a fugitive. In our hearts we still long for the darkness. God is asking : Where are you running to? Turn round, running to me, my arms are ready for your embrace.
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013