Is It Time For A New Wardrobe?

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE – Colossians 3:1-17

There seems to be trending on cable television several SELF-IMPROVEMENT shows. Some of the appeal I think is the DESIRE to make some changes in our own lives.   Also, some of the appeal is seeing others being able to make the needed changes.

There’s a show called What Not To Wear on TLC.  It’s interesting to watch friends and family rat out a loved one as one who has no style and then the show secretly films the offender.  Then the offender is confronted by the hosts of the show with the chance to change what they wear and given a $5000 pre-paid Visa Card to get a new wardrobe.

I’m certainly NOT a fashionista, but really, you should see some folks sense of style. Almost always it’s a lady who needs to make a change.  I guess us men have an instinctive sense of style  (NOT!).

I’m thinking that most who are reading this have something you would like to change about yourself.  I would like to lose 10-15 pounds myself.

Let’s consider our life with Christ for a moment,

How many of us are totally happy with where we are in our RELATIONSHIP with Jesus?

When we give our lives to Christ, we hear about this NEW LIFE God wants us to have.

John 10:10, Jesus tells us that “I came that they [you] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  

But it doesn’t seem to be happening the way we think it should be.

You’re going to have to realize that in order to be able to make those changes about yourself, you actually have to change some things in your life!

For instance, if I want to lose weight, I have to change my eating habits, my exercise habits (currently, no habits here!), along with my attitudes concerning food.

Without CHANGING these specific areas of my life, the weight is not coming off.  No miracle cure is going to change my weight without me changing some things.

THERE IS NO NEED FOR “WHAT NOT TO WEAR” POLICE…the truth is, what we WEAR daily will have an effect on our lives.  

What we WEAR can help us or hinder us.

For one to grow in Christ we need to realize there are some things we ought NOT to WEAR in a figurative sense.  We all need to rid ourselves of some or our entire current wardrobe so that we can really TRANSFORM our image of Christ.

Colossians 3:5-7 (PHILLIPS):

On so far, then, as you have to live upon this earth, consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts: have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty mindedness, uncontrolled passion, evil desire, and the lust for other peoples’ goods, which last, remember, is as serious a sin as idolatry.  It is because of these very things that the holy anger of God falls upon those who refuse to obey him.  And, never forget that you had your part in those dreadful things when you lived that old life.

FIRST, WE NEED TO CLOSELY EXAMINE WHAT’S IN OUR CLOSET

One of the most difficult things for people on the TV show to do is get rid of the old wardrobe…snake skin tights and pink boots.  They gotta go!

They need a wakeup call, and the wakeup call on the show is a 360-degree mirror, a truth teller.  It helps make the fashion offender realize that they need to look at changing what they wear.

After the view in the mirror, the hosts of the show go through their closet and throws almost everything in a nearby trash can.

Well, the Apostle Paul gives us a list of items that need to be taken out of our closet and throw in the trash can.

  • WE NEED to throw out the old clothing that no longer fits
  • WE NEED to realize that we are DEAD to the old life; we’ve outgrown many of the items hanging in our closet.

In VERSE 5, we are told literally “put to death” these things.

To consider DEAD means we’re to hold these items in check, restrain them.  Left unrestrained, they will lead us in the wrong direction.

If you look at VERSE 3 casually, we are told that we have DIED with Christ Jesus…BUT here we are told to consider our members of our earthly body as DEAD!  Remember, someone who is DEAD is no longer aroused by the world around them.

This VERSE should remind us that WE have a part to play in our WALK with God.

We need to toss out the clothing that no longer reflects who we are in Christ.

In VERSE 5 we are given a LIST of things that we are to consider ourselves DEAD too.

IMMORALITY deals predominantly with sexual sin.  The word is the same word we get “pornography” from.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (GNT)

[3] “God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality.”

This list includes impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed.  All of these deal with getting what we want.

The list is actually in reverse order…the root of all these issues is GREED!

GREED is the overmastering desire for what belongs to another; it includes the breaking of the laws of right and justice in order to obtain them for oneself. 

It’s the relentless urge to get more.  This is really the ROOT of the rest.

We must move in the direction of pleasing our heavenly Father rather than ourselves.

God isn’t against SEX, but SEX outside of MARRIAGE is wrong, no exceptions!

As long as we live in a fallen world, we’ll struggle with these issues.  The last part of VERSE 5 tells us that these things amount to IDOLATRY.

When we REJECT the true and living God of the Bible, we make up one of our own imagination, and we make our desires, appetites, and lusts our god by the deification of them.

WE NEED TO THROW OUT THE OLD CLOTHING that hampers our growth!

The THINGS listed in VERSE 5 are to be a part of the OLD LIFE.  This is the reason for us to put SIN to death in our lives.

We now walk with God and what WE WEAR should reflect that!

Colossians 3:8-9 (NIV)

WE NEED TO DEVELOP A NEW ATTITUDE ABOUT WHO WE ARE IN JESUS.

VERSES 8-9 really deal with issues that have their roots placed in our attitudes.

We are told that we are in need of putting some old attitudes in the “trash can.” And don’t worry, there’s plenty of room in the can!

To put aside, or rid yourselves means to take off–like taking off clothing.

Each of these ATTITUDES if left unchecked will build upon one another.

ANGER is a deep smoldering bitterness…leads to REVENGE by which being bent on causing injury to another either physically or to their reputation.

ALL these things can lead to SLANDER and FILTHY SPEECH.  We need to rid ourselves of these things.

There are many Christians who still to this day struggle with these attitudes.

Ephesians 4:29 The Message (MSG)

“Watch the way you talk.  Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.  Say only what helps, each word a gift.”

It’s easy to focus on the EVILS of verse 5 and then forget about the EVILS in verse 8.  It may be more difficult for us to deal with BECAUSE…WE can always rationalize our corresponding actions.  “THEY MADE ME MAD!”

Bad ATTITUDES lead to bad actions!

VERSE 9 encourages us not to LIE to one another.

When we harbor bad things in the heart, they will come out in our actions.

If you find yourself struggling with ANGER issues, don’t just sweep them under the carpet.  Don’t rationalize your ANGER.

Our ATTITUDE towards others needs to reflect who we are in Christ Jesus.

We are called and obligated to treat others in a Christ-like manner, even if they don’t deserve it!

Colossians 3:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

 

We need to rid our closets of things that don’t line up with who we are in Christ.

If you go from digging ditches to being a salesman, be wise to get rid of the work clothing that you used to wear daily as a ditch digger and replace it with clothing that matches up with the new job.

I remember when I went from driving a plumbing supply truck to working in the sales office and I had to do the same thing.

Our new purpose in Christ is to be RENEWED to the true knowledge of Christ.

We can’t be RENEWED to the true knowledge of Him if we don’t know anything about Him.

We need to rid ourselves of the CLOTHING that doesn’t reflect our RENEWED PURPOSE.  By obtaining knowledge of Christ and His will through His Word found in the Bible, our spiritual being is being changed into the likeness of Jesus.

We learn to feel, act and think like Christ!

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

[2] Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  [Capitalization for emphasis by the Word Detective]

Our ultimate purpose in life is to be TRANSFORMED into the IMAGE of Jesus!

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being TRANSFORMED into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

That is our calling!  Anything that we figuratively WEAR that hinders, THAT needs to be thrown out!

The way some of the people on the TV Show would dress often hindered their advancement chances at their job.  IF we choose to WEAR the STUFF from our old life as described in our passage of Scripture; we will be severely hindered in our TRANSFORMATION.

TACKY IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER.

It amazes me what some people will wear and thinks looks great.  It seems as though they are the ONLY ones in the room who cannot see it.

Are you one of those TACKY DRESSERS who wear things such as:

  • Sexual immorality,
  • Impurity,
  • Passion,
  • Evil desire,
  • Covetousness.

DO you wear things such as…

  • Anger,
  • Wrath,
  • Malice,
  • Slander,
  • Obscene talk (dirty talk) coming from your mouth?

IF you do, others can see and hear it and it’s time to put on some NEW clothing.

 

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CREDITS –

Wikipedia What Not to Wear (U.S. TV series); http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/what-not-to-wear

Photos:  Google Image Search/Advance settings.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) except where noted.

Drinking the Cup of Wine, Top to Bottom!

Psalm 75:8-10:

[8]   For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine foams and is red, well mixed; and He pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth must drain it and drink its dregs.

[9]   BUT I will declare and rejoice forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

[10] All the horns of the ungodly also will I cut off [says the Lord], but the horns of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be exalted.

JOHN 3:16:

For God so greatly LOVED and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life  (Amplified Bible).

Most people recognize this Bible verse.  I remember a few years back when watching a football game on television, in the end zone crowds, someone would hold up a banner reading….JOHN 3:16.

I’m not sure why so much attention is given to John 3:16 and not so much to John 3:36:

“And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) 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 on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]”

Here is one idea.  It is much more palpable and sweet to discuss God’s LOVE and MERCY for sinners.  We appreciate sermons on heaven and what it might be like, but we don’t want our minds to dwell on HELL, at least not very long.

BUT what we need to get straight in our thinking about who GOD is…where there is LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and MERCY….there’s also anger and judgement.

I am not, in this POST, going to write for your reading all the aspects of hell.  But I am going to give some healthy attention to the judgement nature of GOD.

Psalm 75:8:  “For in the hand of the Lord there is a CUP…”

There are some 32 cups mentioned in the Bible, and 12 of these are symbolic:

4 deal with GOD’s JUDGEMENT…

4 deal with BLESSING and FELLOWSHIP…

And the others deal with…

REWARD or PUNISHMENT to those who side with the enemy (the devil).

Personally, I like to hang my hat, so to speak, on the idea that GOD is a GOD of LOVE, GOD is LOVE (1 John 4:8).  He would rather SAVE than JUDGE.

But to prove His love and mercy, He demands and carries out justice against sin.

THREE OF THE CUPS:

CUP OF WRATH
CUP OF WRATH

The CUP of WRATH:  “Upon the wicked He will rain quick burning coals or snares; fire, brimstone, and a [dreadful] scorching wind shall be the portion of their CUP”  (Psalm 11:6 AMP).

In my spirit, I’ve often asked in conversational prayer the question,  “With all that is going on around us Lord, what would cause Your judgement to be poured out on the disobedient, the ungodly?”  And as I patiently waited for answer, I was prompted by this thought; “when the innocent come under attack, God always responds”–when babies are killed by the millions in the name of abortion, GOD will respond!  When the aged are a “problem to society” and euthanasia becomes a solution, GOD will respond!

What is the SIGN of a Wicked Generation? 

Is it Drugs?  Is it Gang Violence?  Homosexuality, perversion?  It begins when the sign of a people, moving toward judgment of GOD has no ability to defend themselves.

GOD will pour out the Cup of Wrath–

If we listen carefully, we just might hear the blinded mob from Sodom and Gomorrah crying out from the pit of Hell,  “America Repent!”  

GOD IS a GOD of JUDGEMENT! 

His WRATH on Display:

God is a just God,   And God is angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11, NKJV

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath ~ Psalm 2:4, NIV.

Arouse yourself, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, who have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath, who have drunk the cup of intoxication and staggering to the dregs. ~ Isaiah 51:17, AMP.

Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord sent me. ~ Jeremiah 25:17, NAS.

…to make her drain the cup of His furious wrath and indignation. ~ Revelation 16:19 b.  AMP.

And the RECIPIENTS of God’s Wrath:

For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against ALL UNGODLINESS and UNRIGHTEOUSNESS of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. ~ Romans 1:18, AMP.

Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. ~ Romans 1:32.

The Cup of SALVATION:  “I will lift up the cup of salvation and deliverance and call on the name of the Lord”  (Psalm 116:13).

The BLESSINGS Salvation brings…

Assurance –  (John 6:37-40).

Joy – (Matt. 18:13; John 1:45).

Seasons of Refreshment – (Acts 3:19).

SALVATION CAUSES…

Heavenly beings to stand in amazement – (Ephesians 3:10-12).

SALVATION CHANGES THINGS…

Not just behavior but… (Romans 6:17-18).

SALVATION GIVES YOU…

A position of authority – (Luke 15:22-24).

An Abundant life…”I came that they [YOU] may have and enjoy life, and have it in ABUNDANCE (to the FULL, till it OVERFLOWS)”  (John 10:10 AMP).

Salvation gives you the PRIVILEGE of being chosen and appointed by GOD Himself ~ (1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13).

SALVATION MAKES ONE WHOLE...Gives meaning.

“If we are being put on trial [here] today and examined concerning a good deed done to benefit a feeble (helpless) cripple, by what means this man has been restored to health”  (Acts 4:9).

Opens one;s eyes – (John 9:1-7).

Saves and hides a multitude of sins – (James 5:19-20).

Saves one to the “uttermost”  [completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity] – (Hebrews 7:25).

The Cup of BLESSING:

Psalm 16:5:  “The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion,  my cup;  You hold and maintain my lot.”

Psalm 23:5:  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.”

1 Corinthians 10:16:  “The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ  (the Messiah)? “ 

So there you have it.  THREE CUPS mentioned in God’s Word and the significance they have to all mankind.

BIBLICAL WINE DESCRIPTIONS AND THEIR MEANING:

Several years ago, my wife and I traveled to Central Texas to visit family and get my 98-year-old dad resettled in an assisted care facility.  And while we were there,  my niece’s husband Marc, took us to his place of employment at Inwood Estates Winery where they make wine from Texas grown grapes.

Texas Thanksgiving  trip 2010 Diannes camera 101

Marc took us all on a tour through the winery, explaining technical terms to wine making (storage at the right temperature, aging, color, fermentation process, etc.).  At the end of the tour, we all enjoyed a sampling from a wine storage tank.

And the wine is RED–Psalm 75:8–

The Hebrew word used here -chamar-may mean either to “boil up,” or to be red; from the idea of boiling or becoming heated.

The Septuagint (GREEK translation of the Old Testament); “and He pours out from it and all the earth must drain it”–describing that He draws it off, as is done with wine.

The true picture being revealed here is probably the fermentation process; that the meaning may be, the WRATH of GOD seems to boil, fermenting the liquor.

It’s full of mixture–verse 8–“well mixed”.

It was quite common in wine making of old, to mixed the wine with spices, increasing its strength…or as we might say, drugged.  This was done frequently to increase the intoxicating quality of the WINE presented.

So the Psalmist is giving us the idea of the WRATH of GOD, being poured out like WINE, whose strength or power of intoxication was increased in effect by DRUGS.

And He pours it out of a CUP, in order that His enemies may drink it, then stagger under the demonstration of HIS WRATH; as men stagger and pass out under the influence of spiced or drugged wine.

BUT the dregs–the “lees”–the settling s–

The “dregs”– is what remains after the WINE is racked off (Isaiah 25:6).  This would contain the strongest part of the mixture, the idea being, they would drink the WRATH OF GOD from the top to the very bottom of the glass.  To the very last drop!

Drinking from Wineskin        The Montreal Gazette

“drain it” or “wring them out” (AMP & KJV):

In Biblical times, WINE was poured out and kept in skins.  The picture, they would ring out these skins to get out “ALL” that was in them, leaving nothing remaining.  Then DRINK…not merely the WINE, but the “dregs”, the “lee”…all that there was!

Who are the “they s” in the verse?

All the Wicked of the Earth–

WICKED PEOPLE everywhere.  The expression, “The Wrath of God” is not confined to one nation, or one people, but where ever wicked people are found, He will punish them.

God is just in His dealings… to ALL PEOPLE.

Who are “ALL PEOPLE” the psalmist talking about?

The reference isn’t talking about Christian “backsliders”; believers who don’t go to church every week, drink a glass of wine, slip on spiritual banana peels on occasions.  Asaph [A Psalm of Asaph] is referring to the unrighteous, the non-believers, the ungodly in the world.

GOD “EXALTS” THE RIGHTEOUS  (Verse 9-10):

“…the righteous shall be exalted.”

Notice the language here.  It is the testimony of the singer (Asaph).  He is making a VOW…to testify forever…what God has done!  He is singing with JOY in the midst of what’s going on around him–“When the earth totters, and all the inhabitants of it, it is I Who will poise and keep steady its pillars.  Selah  [pause, and calmly think of that]!”  (Psalm 75:3).  

Who is the “I” referring to?  Not Asaph, but JESUS!  Remembering who is in control of what’s going on, certainly brings JOY to my singing!

The word DECLARE in verse 9, means to make oneself conspicuous of the message heard.

John the Baptist was very conspicuous; in his diet of bugs and honey; he wore a leather suit and his MESSAGE was simple and consistent. Because of whom he was, what he did, the world stirred.  Roman kings and religious priests came to him, confessing and repenting of their sin.

Cutting Off the Horns…(Verse 10).

Now the next phrase is really important.  God is going to break or cut off the horns of the wicked.  In my detective work this week, the description given certainly grabbed my attention.

I found in research, that dehorning animals is a tough process and it’s much easier to accomplish when the animal is very small.  Waiting until it’s older, the job is more difficult and risky to the life of the animal.  The animal has to be immobilized, holding the head very carefully.

Now on a younger animal that’s just beginning to grow horn buds, a hot iron is pressed around the buds, and the skin and cells are singed.  With the older animal the horns are carefully cut away and then cauterizing the exposed blood vessels.  Have you got a vivid picture with expression on your face?  I did while researching the process and the Spirit wants to make things clear to the reader.

So the term of DEHORNING is used in verse 10 because it is the ending of the wild nature of the people we are entrusted.  It means they will have to TRUST their care-giver for protection and not to be able to use deadly force on others.  It means that they will have to submit and not fight their shepherd.

On the other hand, the RIGHTEOUS will have their horns EXALTED.  If they have horns, they can keep them because they will be given the responsibilities of watching the flock.  When the horns grow, they are honored.  This demonstrates what’s happening in our lives today.

“WE GIVE praise and thanks to You, O God, we praise and give thanks; Your wondrous works declare the Your Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehears Your wonders”  (Psalm 75:1 AMP).

Just A “One-Trick Prophet” In A Non-Believing World

“A ONE-TRICK PONY” —

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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:

[1] “THE BURDEN of Nineveh.  The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

[2]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.

[3]  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?

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Not Hearing, Seeing or Speaking the Truth

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:

[9] “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)  [10] 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). 

and again,

“…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.  [9] 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!