Consolation

Following on the heels of the Feast of St Andrew (especially as it is combined with that of St Tudwal), it is probably easy to skip over commemorating the Prophet Nahum. Nahum begins a triduum of so-called Minor Prophets followed by Habakkuk and Zephaniah. It is probably not coincidental that their feasts in the church calendar follow the order of their prophecies in the Bible.

Nahum means “full of consolation” and his prophesy was just that. At least to those who heard it. As Fr Patrick Reardon notes in Christ in His Saints, “In at least one respect, Nahum is unique in all the Bible — what he announced was exactly what his contemporaries most wanted to hear!”

It wasn’t good news for those to whom it was addressed. It told of the impending destruction of the Assyrian empire. Assyria was, again to use Fr Pat’s words, “roughly the ancient world’s equivalent of the Third Reich,” so it needed a bit of destroying.

For someone not under the oppression of either Berlin or Nineveh, Nahum gives great hope. If God can destroy great empires, surely He call deal with the lesser oppressors that we face, even when we seem most under attack.

On the other hand, those that are given to oppression and persecution ought to be very concerned about God’s attitude toward such behaviour. Of course those who exhibit such behaviour these days often find comfort in not believing in God. Too bad for them that not believing in Someone doesn’t actual cause Him to go away. “Who can endure the fierceness of His anger?”

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