When a pagan and vile nation that boasts in its own strength, blasphemes against God and afflicts you, the commanded practices of worshipping God gets hindered and this was the case with Judah as the Assyrians were oppressing them. In this midst of this affliction, the prophet Nahum counsels the people of Judah to keep their solemn feasts, which may seem absurd at first glance, since feasts are usually associated with rejoicing and victory, and not oppression and/or affliction. So why would God ask the people to do such a thing through his prophet? To understand this, we need to first know what the solemn feast is and why it was commanded? Deuteronomy 16:13-17 gives us the answer.
Deuteronomy 16:13-17 speaks of the feast of tabernacles that should be observed for seven days, and during this time, the people are commanded to rejoice. They are to keep this solemn feast in a place which the Lord shall choose, because the Lord God shall bless them in all their increase and works. Herein lies the answer – the solemn feasts are to be kept in a place which the Lord God shall choose, meaning that while the Assyrians and their vile king Sennacherib, thought that the land of Judah was their place to conquer, this land was chosen by God, for only in the land which the Lord God chooses, were the people commanded to keep their solemn feasts. Additionally, God would bless them in spite of their affliction which gives all the reason to rejoice and hence the prophet Nahum brings not just the message of comfort to God’s people, but a message of choosing – of God’s choosing.
Points to ponder:
We did not choose God first, but God chose us first and loved us (1 John 4:19). Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). We are a chosen generation (1 Peter 2:9). A tabernacle is a place of sanctuary or temple and we are the temple (tabernacle) of the Holy Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 6:16). When we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit of God comes into our life to in dwell in us, God’s tabernacle, and that gives us all the reason to rejoice and keep the solemn feast, in spite of any affliction we may be facing or shall face. People of God, rejoice and keep your solemn feast for God has chosen you.
Nahum 1:15 (KJV)
15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
Deuteronomy 16:13-17 (KJV)
13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:
14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty:
17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.