AN UNCROWNED AND POWERLESS NATION

JUDGES 1:1-7 (NASB)

[1]  Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”

[2]  The LORD said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.”

[3]  Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I, in turn, will go with you into the territory allotted you.”  So Simeon went with him.  

[4]  Judah went up, and the LORD gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they defeated ten thousand men in Bezek. 

[5]  They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.

[6]  But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

[7]  Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.”  So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.

AMERICA AND ISRAEL ARE MUCH ALIKE…

They remind me of each other.  Both remind me of those 70 kings in verse 7:  UNCROWNED AND MADE POWERLESS, reduced to settling for scraps.

AMERICA used to sit feasting at the table of the KING of kings, but we are descending rapidly to the role of the beggar at the Beautiful Gate.

THE BOOK OF JUDGES is a book about incomplete VICTORY…

It stems from incomplete OBEDIENCE.

Another word for “incomplete obedience” would be DISOBEDIENCE.

Partial obedience in your MORALS is disobedience.  [I’m not so bad compared to others! / But are you still willfully choosing to do wrong in the same areas?].  If you aren’t FULLY FAITHFUL…you’re UNFAITHFUL!  If you TITHE on about half of your income, you can’t call it a TITHE.  It may be 10% of THAT paycheck but if it’s only 5% overall, it’s not credited by God as partial obedience but disobedience.  I’ll get some emails and comments on that thought.

When it comes to our COMMITMENT to God, let’s not do it halfway.

I especially like a verse in 1 Kings that illustrates that thought  (1 Kings 18:21):

[21]  Elijah came near to all the people and said,  How long will you halt and limp between opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow Him!  But if Baal, then follow him.  And the people did not answer him a word.  (AMP)

You, WE, are either committed or we’re are not!

And AMERICA cannot ride the fence.  Either we’re a Christian nation or we are not!

Yes, we have FREEDOM of religion, but many today are trying to lift freedom FROM religion, trying to tie our hands and gag our mouths in the process.

Our FREEDOM of speech is going down the toilet.

After turning an 11-day journey from Egypt to the Promised Land…

During 40 years of meandering, ISRAEL found itself IN the promised land, but not IN possession of it.  ISRAEL did things halfway.

WANTING TO BE BLESSED BUT NOT WANTING TO PAY THE PRICE.

ISRAEL was commanded by Joshua to cross the river, conquer the enemy and claim the inheritance that God had promised.

They did cross the river, conquered SOME of the enemies, and stopped well short of finishing their conquest and claiming their inheritance.

They certainly wanted the BLESSINGS of the Promised Land but didn’t want to pay the price for complete victory.

They wanted something FREE, much like most Americans today.

They demanded their rights and wanted privileges, but didn’t want to take responsibility.  They were all take and no give!

So, they went back to their old ways of going in circles in the wilderness.

Their progression was:  Sin…Suffering…Supplication…Salvation.  They would sin and naturally suffer for it, then cry out to God and He would come to their rescue.

But God isn’t bound to always be a safety net for His people.

He has come to our nation many times, but like with Israel, His patience may soon wear thin if it hasn’t already.  And He may allow us to fall in order to look up!

THE LAST WAR AMERICA WON WAS WWII.

That was back when generals fought wars to win them.  Today, Congress fights wars according to polls and popular opinion and of course, politics!  No wonder we often lose or end in a stalemate at best.

JUDGES is about a small group sent by God to reclaim a fallen nation, to speak as prophets of JUDGMENT and turning them away from backsliding to repentance, revival, and recovery.

INCOMPLETE OBEDIENCE AND INCOMPLETE VICTORY.

ISRAEL’S first instance of both is right here in chapter one.  They begin with a VICTORY in the first 7 verses, but then FAIL to continue…they stop short…and are satisfied with partial obedience.

IMPORTANT SYMBOLISM:

  • ISRAEL=God’s people and could represent America, or the Church, or us as individuals.
  • CANAAN=Christian victory.
  • Adoni-bezek=  “Lord of Lightning”= Satan.  [See footnote [i] ]

Yes, I believe the king in chapter one in the text is a picture of the DEVIL himself because of a parallel passage in the NT.

LUKE 10:1 – After this, the LORD appointed seventy-two others [Some manuscripts say seventy, also in verse 17] and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go.

LUKE 10:17-20 –

[17] The seventy-two returned with joy and said,  “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”  

[18] He replied,  “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

[19] I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  [20] However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

JESUS reminded these 70 (or “72”) followers of His that SATAN is a powerful bolt of lightning that fell from heaven, and his power is beyond our own.

JESUS teaches them that although He has given a position of POWER they should glory in the position but not in the POWER as if it were their own.

Another powerful teaching in vv. 6-7 of Judges is RETRIBUTION.

Adoni-bezek was punished for his crimes in the exact same way as he punished these 70 kings.

RETRIBUTION is an aspect of God’s character we seldom think about.  We like to focus on His LOVE and REWARDS in heaven, but we often fail to consider His holiness; His perfect nature demanding justice and a payment for all imperfection.

SATAN’S DAY IS COMING!  He may think he’s getting away with things now on earth but it’s payday someday.

God may not pay weekly, monthly, or annually, but when He pays he pays in full!

We too should take the warning…

  • Numbers 32:23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
  • Galatians 6:7  “Do not be deceived:  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.”
  • 1 Timothy 5:24  “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.”

UNCROWNED means to be knocked out of your seat–dethroned from your position of POWER.

Romans 13:1  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.

It’s like a major demotion…that hurts!

Proverbs 25:26  Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.

What a letdown!

POWERLESS means unable to accomplish work for God–DISABLED!

Some try but find themselves to be ineffective while some have been disabled to the point that they have quit trying.

WITH NO THUMBS they couldn’t hold a sword, no threat…WITH NO BIG TOES, they became unstable, couldn’t stand to fight.

Under his table = OPPRESSION.

They lived off the scraps they could gather under his table and that’s difficult with NO THUMBS!!

Satan DISABLES in many ways but seems to have the most success by using the following ‘BIG SINS’ against us:

  • Bitterness
  • Immorality
  • Greed
  • Guilt

Many Christians Are Defeated Today–

SOME HAVE BEEN OVERCOME–[Ambushed] – 1 Peter 5:8 – “…for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”

SOME HAVE BEEN OUTMANNED –  We try to go the battle alone and are no match for Satan– Ephesians 6:10 – Be strong in the Lord; draw your strength from Him.

SOME HAVE BEEN OUTGUNNED – Ephesians 6:13 – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…; 1 Corinthians 15:57 – But thanks be to God, Who gives us victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Remembering THREE THINGS About Satan:

#1.  He is not a mythological character:  Not just a force or influence, but a real person.  He has life, intelligence, a will, and feelings.

#2.  Satan is a destructive force:  He’s out to defeat you!

  • In Christianity
  • Christian America
  • Church
  • Family
  • Person

#3.  Satan is a defeated foe.

HOW DO WE THEN GAIN VICTORY?

The only true victory is COMPLETE VICTORY.

America today fights to a stalemate or a draw.

Let’s not make the same mistake in our personal lives.

 

1 John 5:4 – 

Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?

In the above verse, the Apostle John is giving his readers a testimony that in Christ there is VICTORY!

  • VICTORY doesn’t come by regretting.
  • VICTORY doesn’t come by resolving.
  • VICTORY doesn’t come by renouncing.
  • VICTORY doesn’t come by rededication.

VICTORY COMES BY RECEIVING THE VICTORY ALREADY MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH JESUS.

Outside of Christ, there is no victory.

In John 16:33 we read, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]!  For I have overcome the world.  [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

This KING is just like the devil and he wants to oppress you and rob you of the benefits of your SALVATION.

Many of God’s people live a beggar’s lifestyle while they’re the rightful heirs of the kingdom of God.

Satan is holding many of God’s people in BONDAGE to GUILT and SHAME, (slavery) while living like beggars because they don’t know what God’s COVENANT says.

The Syrophenician Woman said, just let me have the crumbs that fall from the children’s table, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs (She didn’t know or have a part in the Covenant).  [Matthew 15:21-28]

But the sad part is that when we are COVENANT sons and daughters and because of ignorance, Satan oppresses us and brings us into BONDAGE, and has us living like beggars.

LAZARUS was a son of Abraham (Yet he was living like a beggar).

HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:

You are NOT a beggar and Satan has no AUTHORITY over you if you are truly SAVED!

He has no authority to hold you in a BONDAGE of GUILT or SHAME over your past.

You are a Covenant Son or Daughter of God!

The King is calling you to the banqueting table, and at His table, no one sees what you were, only what you are!  A CHILD OF THE KING!

When you take your rightful place at the table, you RULE AND REIGN as kings!!

_____________________________________________________________________________

FOOTNOTES AND CREDITS –

Footnote [i] :  Bible Study Tools, Dictionaries – Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary:  Adoni-bezek

Photos:  Google Image Search –  Advance search setting.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! – PART 3

The Nation of Egypt And Their Judgment (Ezekiel 29)

egypt-in-the-bible

EGYPT was a large nation south of Israel.  They looked upon the land of Canaan as being part of her own territory and in doing so, she reluctantly gave the land to other nations temporarily till she could re-claim it.  And as you know, the Israelites were SLAVES.  They lived there for over 400 years and were greatly influenced by the Egyptian culture.

EGYPT never learned its lessons from the pain it received during the period of the Exodus.

The SIN of Egypt and its ACTIONS lead the Israelites away from El-Shaddai- All sufficient supply.  Bestower of power, gifts, blessings, and the One who make all of us fruitful–ALMIGHTY GOD!

Egypt’s influence had never been acceptable to Jehovah Mekkaddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies.  They led the Hebrew people into IDOL WORSHIP.

Like other nations, the king of Egypt–PHARAOH–saw himself as a god.

Over and over again, EGYPT had not left the Israelites alone.  So in order for His ELECT (His “kids”) to finally be FREE from bondage in Egypt, it was time for God to enact retribution.

DON’T MESS WITH GOD’S KIDS!

Ezekiel 29:1-3 (AMP):

[1] In the tenth year [of the captivity of Jehoiachin by the king of Babylon], in the tenth [month], on the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying,  [2] Son of man, set your face toward Pharoah king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all of Egypt.  [3] Say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I am against you, Pharoah king of Egypt, the great monster [of sluggish and unwieldy strength] that lies in the midst of his [delta] streams, [boastfully] declaring, My river Nile is my own and I have made it for myself.”

This MESSAGE Ezekiel is speaking the above verses took place a year after the siege of Jerusalem had begun.

EGYPT was partly responsible for ISRAEL’S king Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:6-15).

The king [Pharoah] of Egypt at this time was Hophra.  Like the king of Tyre, he too thought more of himself than he should.

This human trait was not exclusive to the seven nations surrounding Israel during Ezekiel’s place in history

Look at the warning the apostle Paul gives to the church in Rome – Romans 12:3 (AMP):

[3]  For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have ab exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

The NILE RIVER was the lifeblood for the Egyptians.  

Hophra started bragging that he, and he alone, was the CREATOR who formed the Nile.  He played a role of a tough guy, who like a CROCODILE dared anyone to come near him.

JEHOVAH ELYON – The Lord Most High –

The LORD announces that He will hunt down this monster dragon and dispose of him because of his claims to be a deity [“My river Nile is my own and I made it for myself” – 29:3]

Catching ‘CROC’S –

EZEKIEL 29:4:

[4]  But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.  I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales.

The River Nile Crocodile

I used to like watching the “Crocodile Hunter” on TV.  His specialty was catching crocodiles.  It was a special technique he used   He would place a lasso on the upper jaw of the reptile causing a natural instinct of the monster to spin, which would wrap the rope around its jaws.  He would then pounce on it, securing the rope around the jaws, then tie up its legs. Then he would pull it along with a bunch of other men up on the land.

These were mercenaries [“fish”] from other countries (Ezekiel 29:5):

[5] I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams.  You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up.  I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

The CROCODILE is an aquatic reptile with its home on land or in the water.  But it depends more on being in the water.

On some scientific films I’ve watched over the years, I noticed the effects of drought on this creature without a water source when a crocodile will be stranded out of its natural environment.  It will die, resulting in scavengers eating the remains.

GOD’S PROPHECY…Our Righteous God is going to do a similar fate to Pharaoh and his army.

Have you ever noticed today in Egypt the Sphinx’s and the Pyramids? The Egyptians were really into the after-life and a proper burial was a big deal.

Historic records indicate the Pharaoh [Hophra] was strangled by a rival (Jeremiah 44:29) and did not receive a proper burial and was cast aside as Scripture foretold.  [See Footnote [i] for sources]

FAMOUS WORDS that have come back to bite us over the years is when we BELIEVE someone who says to us, “You can count on me!”

Our Lord and Savior wouldn’t fall for these vain promises:

Job 15:15-16:  

[15] If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,  [16] how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!

Psalm 146:3-4:

[3] Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.  [4] When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Isaiah 30:1-3:

[1] “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;  [2] who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.  [3] But Pharaoh’s protection will be your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

PHARAOH had influenced the king of Israel by his promises to be one of his allies.  IT WAS A WORTHLESS PROMISE which wound up costing thousands of Israelite’s lives.

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!

Nebuchadnezzar went after and destroyed Egypt as he had done to Israel. Holy Adonai Yahweh had first

Holy Adonai Yahweh had first given His people a punishment as the book of 1 Peter tells us,  

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good  (1 Peter 4:17-19).

God’s people (Israelites) would be banished from their land for seventy years.   And Egypt would receive a similar judgment.  His land would be left desolate from North [Migdol] to the South [Sevench] for forty years.  

MIGDOL means “watchtower” and SYENE or Sevench means “marketplace”.

All of Egypt would be affected by this war.  The Babylonian army out of the North sweeps by the northern watchtower fortification and destroys everything in its path until it reached the most southern portion of the country.

EZEKIEL 29:13-15 (AMP):  EGYPT’S FUTURE AS A NATION.

[13] Yet thus says the Lord God: “At the end of [their] forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. [Jer. 46:25, 26.]

[14] And I will reverse the captivity of Egypt [as I will that of Israel] and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros [under Egypt], the land of their origin, and they shall be there a lowly kingdom.

[15] It shall be the lowliest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; I will diminish [the Egyptians] so they shall never again rule over the nations.

This would be the LAST TIME the Egyptian Dynasty would ever be a strong nation.  They will be a lowly [base] nation from now on!

Our Awesome and Great Jehovah Shamma (‘God is there!’ – Ezk. 48:35.), is always there to make things right!

The king of Babylon was God’s agent in dealing with the city-NATION of Tyre.  It took over 13 years for Nebuchadnezzar to ultimately defeat ‘Old Tyre’ on the mainland.

Although technically, Nebuchadnezzar WON the battle, he never was compensated for all those years.  Since the king was unknowingly acting as the Lord’s servant, God would give him EGYPT as his payment for waging war against Tyre.

Ezekiel 29:19-20:

[19] Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth.  He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.  [20] I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.

GOD GIVES STRENGTH AND HOPE TO HIS KIDS YESTERDAY AND TODAY!

God promises His children (Israel) that He will bring forth a new king and son of David to lead His people (Ezekiel 34:22-31).

And He is doing so today.  Not only the Jews but to Christians spread over the earth.

‘KNOW MY SHEEP’–know My people or My church.

John 10:14 (AMP):

[14] I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and My own know and recognize Me.

The word “KNOW” is used as an affectionate regard or love.  It implies such knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in the welfare of His ‘kids’.

So as believers in Jesus today, we should know Him as our Shepherd, our Savior, that He will defend and aid us no matter the circumstances.

I hope this three-part study in Ezekiel as not only been informative but also encouraging as we see antisemitism in the world today.  Know that God’s plans don’t change; Don’t Mess With God’s Kids yesterday and don’t mess with God’s family today!

Let me know your thoughts in the COMMENT section.

___________________________________________

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]:  Pharaoh Hophra – International Bible Encyclopedia.

VINES COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS.

Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), and the Amplified Bible (AMP).

Photos:  Google Image Search.

[NOTE:  See further resources and credits used for this 3-PART series in PART I of Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“A ONE-TRICK PONY” —

2313177576_c989d053e2

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?

7304288548_74a3704f03
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!