“A ONE-TRICK PONY” —
I was watching an advertisement on television this past week, regarding people who had gathered at a church wedding where the atmosphere gets out of control. Someone shouts at a person in the second row holding a popular smart phone, “You’re just a ‘One-trick pony!’ and the chaos continues from there.
Being the Word detective that I am, I decided to investigate the background behind the EXPRESSION: “one-trick pony”– which so happens to fit in nicely with Scripture found in the Book of Nahum 1:1-3:
 “THE BURDEN of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked; the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet”
Where did the expression “One-Trick Pony” come from and what is the implication?”
Merriam-Webster explains: “One that is skilled in only one area; one that has success only once.”
Paul Simon wrote the lyrics to a 1980 song entitled, One-Trick Pony:
He’s a one-trick pony
One trick is all that horse can do
He does one trick only
It’s the principal source of his revenue
And when he steps into the spotlight You can feel the heat of his heart Come rising through.
So, whether it be written on the front of a cereal box or the title of a tune, I think by now you get the idea of what it means of JUST A “One-Trick Pony”.
NOW, the “One-Trick Prophet” Comparison:
THE BOOK OF NAHUM–THE PROPHET:
Announcing God’s impending destruction on the city of “Nineveh”–
The Book of Nahum has one theme, and one theme only–God’s impending destruction on the city of “Nineveh”:
“THE BURDEN or oracle (the thing to be lifted up) concerning Nineveh [the capital of Assyria]” ~ Nahum 1:1 AMP.
#1. Described in detail in Chapter 3, verse 1—“A bloody city”.
#2. At the same time, God is going to destroy the “wicked” (Nahum 1:15) in the Assyrian Empire.
THE LARGER LESSON TO BE LEARNED IN THIS BOOK–
GOD is going to take vengeance (Nahum 1:2), whether immoral nations, pagan cities or corrupted individuals. Sound vaguely familiar in the area where you are residing? You’re NOT alone!
As verse three says “the Lord IS slow to anger”–and at the same time, He “will by no means clear the guilty” (Nahum 1:3).
Verse 8 goes on to say, “He will make a full end [of Nineveh]”. There’s an image that flooded my spirit here; both the severity and certainty of God’s coming wrath on ALL those who do not “take refuge and trust Him” (Nahum 1:7).
During The Time Nahum Received His “VISION”–
Nineveh’s approaching destruction must have seemed like wishful thinking. The Assyrian Empire was still “at full strength” (verse 12); “safe” (as the NKJV puts it).
While verse 8 states “with an overrunning flood He will make a full end of [Nineveh”s very] site…” (which history tells us literally came true!).
KNOWING THAT ONE OF GOD’S ATTRIBUTES IS HIS WRATH (JOHN 3:36):
“And he who believes in the son has eternal life. BUT whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides to him.”
Scripture says the Lord will pour out His WRATH on those who do not REPENT their sins, and profess (DECLARE) THEIR FAITH in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15). And then (by His enabling Grace), start imitating their Savior’s example (1 Peter 2:21-23; 1 Timothy 4:12).
Most Christians Know That Scripture Tells US–
We, as believers. are “not to take our own revenge”–but, ‘leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
What we’d rather hear in church or Bible Studies is about God’s LOVE for sinners (Romans 5:8). To tell us about His mercy and compassion (James 5:11) regarding sinful people–tell us please about His saving peace (Ephesians 2:8). And lets don’t dwell on His vengeance, His wrath, and His anger (Nahum 1:2-3), because a little goes a long way, right?
The message I found in the Book of Nahum, enables us to better understand what we’ve been saved from (Romans 5:9); also helps us to more deeply appreciate what Christ did for us on the cross (Isaiah 53:3-8).
ABOUT THE MAN AND HIS MESSAGE:
NAHUM’S NAME means “comforter”, “counselor”. Sounds odd, given the severe tone of his book and his surrounding WORLD. And to expand this further, it was obvious that the Assyrians found little comfort in Nahum’s prophecy–JUST A “ONE-TRICK PROPHET” as far as they were concerned.
A Day of Troubled Times–
Beyond the reference in verse seven, of God being “…a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge and trust in Him (Nahum 1:7), can we in our modern society, learn the lesson the Assyrians didn’t?
While it is certainly possible individual Assyrians may have found COMFORT in Nahum’s words–there was no hope for the city (or nation) as a whole. The impending disaster prophesied by Nahum wasn’t going to be averted, like the one in Jonah’s day had been (Jonah 3:9-10).
God was going to “…make a full end of [Nineveh’s very] site” (Nahum 1:8); Nineveh as a city, Assyria as a nation–even if some of the people living there believed God and repent (Jonah 3:5-8; Daniel 1:1-7).
Nahum’s Name Implies a Measure of “Comfort” or “Consolation”…primarily for God’s covenant people–in this instance, the people of Judah.
In the midst of all the BAD NEWS in the land, on how God was going to pour out His wrath upon the people of Nineveh– also find some words of “comfort” directed to the people of Judah (and by extension, all God’s covenant people living in every nation and every generation)–like chapter one, verse 13, where God said “…I will break his yoke from off you and will burst your bonds asunder–verse fifteen “…Celebrate your fests, O Judah; perform your vows”–and chapter two, verse two, where the prophet said “…For the Lord restores the excellency of Jacob.”
Scripture as a whole, repeatedly offers God’s elect covenant people “comfort” and “consolation”, even in the midst of moral and social, political and spiritual decay–
One example can be found in PSALM 94:2-3, 14, 22-23:
“Rise up, O Judge of the earth; render to the proud a fit compensation! Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall wicked triumph and exult?” (verses 2 and 3).
“For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage.” (verse 14).
“But the Lord has become my High Tower and defense, and my God the Rock of my refuge. And He will turn back upon them their own iniquity and will wipe them out by means of their own wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out.” (verses 22-23).
Another example is found in The Book of Revelation (Revelation 6:9-11):
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed” (NIV).
I DON’T WANT TO “BEAT A DEAD HORSE”:
I know, another cliché to ponder. BUT, I want you to see the THEME–God’s retribution is not unique in the Book of Nahum–nor confined to the Old Testament.
Scripture does NOT present GOD as a God of wrath and vengeance in the Old Testament and a GOD of love and grace in the New Testament–He’s EXACTLY THE SAME IN BOTH (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).
It is the Old testament that describes Him in several places as “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and One who relents concerning calamity” (Jonah 4:2; SEE Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 103:8; 145:8; Nehemiah 9:17).
On the other hand…
It’s the New Testament that says:
“it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, DEALING OUT RETRIBUTION to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8).
Here’s the point–
There is NO “comfort” or “consolation” in the Book of Nahum (or anywhere else in Scripture) for those who “trample under foot the Son of God, regard the blood of the covenant unclean, and insult the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29-31). For then, the Lord IS “an avenging and wrathful God, who will not let the guilty go unpunished” (Nahum 1:2-3).
LOVE, GRACE and FORGIVENESS PREACHED…BUT, HAS SOMETHING BEEN MISSED, SOMETHING SET-ASIDE?
Those three words, “LOVE, GRACE and FORGIVENESS” are paramount in preaching the Gospel in a “non-believing world”–but we must not put aside Declaring the Whole Counsel of God at the same time. I know, that message isn’t popular in today’s churches. But if we set aside the WHOLE TRUTH of Scripture because of our fears to offend someone, then only a few will walk down that aisle on Sunday mornings, if any. And if you are satisfied with that approach, that’s okay too. But if you are going to emphasize only ‘half-truths”, then you are NOT declaring the whole truth.
The New King James Version says it this way:
“For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27 NKJV).
Here is but another translation of the same verse:
“I have not FEARED to tell you ALL that God wants you to know” (Acts 20:27 WE).
GOD’S WRATH REMAINS WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT!
The same wrath envisioned by Nahum remains over every nation today…where God and His laws are rejected or ignored. And that would include are own (Nahum 1:1-3).
These nations may or may not fall as dramatically as Nineveh did, but fall they will! UNLESS, we take heed to the words of John the Baptist “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he [John the Baptist] said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the WRATH and INDIGNATION [of God against disobedience] that is coming? (Matthew 3:7 AMP).
–by fleeing to JESUS who bore the full brunt of the WRATH on the cross for our sake, GOD’S ELECT. And because he did, you and I can take “COMFORT” in passages of Scripture like these:
 “For God has NOT APPOINTED US to [incur His] WRATH [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)  Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ’s appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 AMP).
“…JESUS, Who personally RESCUES and DELIVERS us out of and from the WRATH [bringing punishment] which is coming…” (1 Thessalonians 1:10 AMP).
and one more,
“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Therefore, since we are now JUSTIFIED (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be SAVED by Him from indignation and wrath of God” (Romans 5:8-9).
And, aren’t you glad that we who are Believers are…?
Not because we are so worthy, or better than the Assyrians living in Nahum’s day–but because our God and Savior has chosen us to be gracious to?
My next POST will spring off these thoughts concerning our DECLARING in a non-believing world. Keep watching!