v. 1-5 "An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
The mountains quake before him
and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
the world and all who live in it."
We are here again in this painfully familiar place. Making the same choice and continuing down the same path that we know will only lead to discipline. Some will never make better choices, others will slowly start to make better choices so that their lives will have a vastly different outcome.
Nahum is another prophet who spoke of the problems in Nineveh. This was nearly one hundred years after Jonah's time. After an entire city turn to God they eventually started back to their old ways and are now in the same position they were when Jonah came to town. The newness wore off, the light got pushed out by bad habits and old ways. Maybe each new generation heard a little less about what God had done in the lives of their families and town until nothing was said about Him at all. There was great suffering in Judah because of the invasion by Assyria. This book is a warning to turn from sin and repent, it also gave hope to the Israelites who had been crushed by these people.
An oracle is a message from God that was given to the prophets to let the people know what the word of God was. v. 2 says that God takes vengeance and He is filled with wrath. People turn away because they see a mean God and hypocrites in His churches. Yet in every instance I can think of in the Bible, God becomes this way only after wrong choices are made by mankind. He gives free choice to all people and only after bad decisions are made does He reacts to those choices. God's vengeance and jealously are not within our understanding. When we react in the same way it is with different motives in our hearts, we get jealous out of envy, pride or selfishness. God punishes those that misbehave just as a good parent will discipline their children. These people were an enemy to God. I think a reason why this section starts off with showing God's vengeance is to grab our attention so we can focus on not making those same mistakes as the people of Nineveh and it shows His power and authority.
"When people wonder why God doesn't punish evil immediately, help them remember that if he did, none of us would be here." NIV Notes