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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner

By Horatius Bonar


      "Darkness shall pursue his enemies." -- Nahum 1:8

      IT is of Nineveh and Assyria that this prophet utters his fearful burden. That city and its inhabitants were to bear the judgments of Jehovah. It was to be swept from the earth, and they were to be driven out, pursued by destruction from the Lord. "The Assyrian" was Israel's great enemy, God's great enemy; type of the Church's great enemy in the last days. The capital city had been warned, had repented, and had returned like the dog to its vomit. Now the last blast of the prophetic trumpet is sounded; a warning to Nineveh, a consolation to Israel. Darkness has settled down on Nineveh from that day to this, and has pursued its dwellers,--a type and earnest of the blackness of darkness forever.

      Let us take Assyria as a specimen of sinners; and this prediction as a declaration of God's way of dealing with them.

      I. A sinner is an enemy to God. This is a strong word, and worthy of solemn thought. It means much. Scripture speaks of the sinner as, (1.) not loving God; (2.) forgetting God; (3.) disobeying God; (4.) departing from God. But this is more than all these; stronger, more decided, more terrible. It means such things as the following:--

      (1.) He hates God. Hater of God is his name; hater of Christ also,-- hater of his whole being, his righteousness, his truth, his holiness, his power, his sovereignty, nay, his love.

      (2.) He tries to injure God. He would fain carry his hatred into effect by injury, in every way; he robs God, he mocks God, he tries to dethrone Him, and to oppose Him.

      (3.) He tries to make away with God. Enmity, when it runs its course, ends in murder. So man, if he could, would take the life of God. When the fool says in his heart there is no God, he speaks as a murderer. When the Son of God came to earth, they rested not till they had slain him. Crucify him, crucify him, was a cry, the intensity of whose bitterness and malignity arose from the suspicion in the hearts of the Jews that he was really the Son of God.

      Thus every sinner is an enemy of God, an injurer, a rebel, a robber, a murderer. All sin is the indication of this, and when fully carried out ends in this. And all unbelief is crucifixion of the Son of God.

      II. God means to deal with these his enemies. He is not indifferent to their enmity, he is not blind to it, he does not mean to overlook it. But he is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. He wishes to give them time to repent; he tries by this love of his to melt them, but, if all fail, he will at length arise and deal with them. They shall know his power and righteousness, his wrath and vengeance. Darkness shall pursue his enemies. He does not use many words, nor strong language; the threat here is very decided no doubt, but it is very calm; all the more terrible and certain from being so calm. It refers both to time and eternity; present darkness, eternal darkness.

      (1.) There is darkness in store for the sinner. It is not fire or torment that is here spoken of, it is simply darkness. As such it is, (1.) The absence of all that gives health, and gladness, and life; for without light there is no life, no verdure, no bloom, either for man or man's earth. A world without a sun! How dismal! (2.) The presence of that which produces gloom, uncertainty, perplexity, terror, despair. How cheerless is a cloudy day; how much more days of never-ending cloud and darkness. No knowledge of the way, groping perpetually, exposure to dangers and enemies. How dismal would life be with nothing but darkness! Yet such is the portion of God's enemies! They have rejected the light of the world, and darkness must be their lot, a common lot with him who is the prince of darkness.

      (2.) This darkness is from God. It does not come by chance, nor from man, nor from natural causes. It is produced and sent by Him who has both light and darkness at disposal. It comes as punishment,--specially for their rejection of the light. Darkness coming in any way is sad, but coming from God it is infinitely terrible. We must go astray, we must stumble, we must wander forever. O enemy of God, think what it will be to be enveloped in darkness and followed by darkness forever.

      (3.) This darkness shall pursue them. It shall be to them as an enemy, or as a beast of prey,--ever following them, seeking their destruction. Wherever they go this darkness shall be upon their heels, and they shall not escape. In vain shall they seek for light, gross darkness shall compass them about. Eternal darkness shall be their portion, the blackness of darkness forever. Darkness like a rushing whirlwind shall sweep them before it,--"they shall be driven to darkness."

      (4.) Every enemy of God must expect this. It is a certainty. It is not possible to be an enemy of God and yet escape the darkness. However swiftly they may flee, the darkness shall overtake them like a tempest. Their enmity to God must be avenged! For the darkness does not come at random; it follows in the track of the enmity. It marks the enemy, and follows him; it finds him and pursues him.

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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