God’s Character Revealed

And the journey continues…Nahum. This short book in the Old Testament was written by Nahum the prophet. Like Jonah he was called to give a message from God to Assyria. Years earlier God sent Jonah to call the people of Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, to repentance. They had repented and God had postponed their destruction. They had been an evil people practicing extreme cruelty towards others and had taken the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity. God had promised revenge upon those who used and abused His people. So the time for their downfall has arrived and Nahum tells how God will destroy them because of their sinful ways. In the midst of these 3 short chapters there are some nuggets that speak of God’s great character and promises of hope in the future for those who trust in Him.

Nahum 1:2-7 The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
    the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
    and keeps wrath for his enemies.
God does not allow those who love Him to be taken advantage of and not avenged. He is the one who will right wrongs and take care of our enemies. This biblical truth is given many other places in scripture. See Deuteronomy 32:41-43,Isaiah 35:4, Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30.

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
    and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
    and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;
    he dries up all the rivers;
Bashan and Carmel wither;
    the bloom of Lebanon withers.
The mountains quake before him;
    the hills melt;
the earth heaves before him,
    the world and all who dwell in it.
Here Nahum speaks of the sovereign control God has over His creation. He describes God’s character as being longsuffering, patient but just in the face of sin.

Who can stand before his indignation?
    Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
    and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
The Lord is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him
. God is God and no one can stand against Him and His power. Verse 7 is one of my favorites as it extols the goodness of God for all who believe and take refuge in Him!

In 1:15 Nahum tells of good news to come. The coming destruction of Assyria was good news to the people of Judah who had been threatened and abused by them. The good news also foreshadows the coming of Jesus who brought good news for all mankind. Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him
    who brings good news,
    who publishes peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah;
    fulfill your vows,
for never again shall the worthless pass through you;
    he is utterly cut off.

What can we learn from this ancient prophesy? We know that the destruction of the Assyrian empire was historically accomplished at the hands of the Babylonians years after this prophesy was written. God’s word was true and accurate and shows how God’s will will be accomplished as He says. The words within Nahum show us more about God’s holy character and how He is mighty, sovereign, holy and all powerful. It also gives us assurance that God will avenge wrongs done towards those who follow Him in faith and shows His love and care for each believer. I cling to the truth of verse 7- God is good and in Him I will find refuge as He cares for me! Amidst the destruction and unleashing of God’s wrath towards their unrepentant sin, we see hope and restoration for those who believe in Him– Jesus. He is the ultimate good news of God that brings love, peace, hope, forgiveness and life eternal in Him. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Thank you Jesus.

May you have a clearer vision of who God is and what He has done for you through Jesus.

Linda

Choosing to Trust

And the journey continues…Habakkuk. I love this short book written by a prophet that lived in the time of Jeremiah and probably lived to see the Babylonians invade Jerusalem, and the people of God carried off into captivity. Habakkuk records a conversation he had with God. He was filled with questions and doubts about what he was seeing happen in the world around him. (I can relate to that today!) In the first chapter, Habakkuk asks God why is he not doing something about the evil in his country, Judah? God replies that he will as he is sending the Babylonians to punish their evil ways. Judah had fallen big time into worshipping idols and had forsaken the worship of the one true God. In chapter 2, Habakkuk asks, how can you holy God use a wicked nation like Babylon to punish His people? God answers, he will use them but they too will receive punishment for their sins and wicked ways. In the final third chapter, Habakkuk has resolved his worry and doubt and confesses he knows God is merciful and just. He claims God is sovereign over all that happens and has decided he will choose to trust, obey and rejoice in the Lord.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 are some of the most beautiful, profound and uplifting verses in the Bible. I love them and chose verse 18 as my verse for this year, as my word for the year is Joy.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

You can feel Habakkuk’s resolve in verse 17-18 that no matter what is happening, no matter how bad things look, he will choose to rejoice in the Lord. He knows (19) that his strength is in the Lord. He trusts God to make him to soar above it all as he looks to Him for his strength and hope. I am reminded here that it is a choice we make to live looking to the Lord for our strength and joy. Moses made a similar choice in Deuteronomy 32:3-4 ‘I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect,  and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,  upright and just is he.”

May we make the same decision and resolve as Habakkuk to choose God and live joyful and abundant lives in Him. Choose to trust God; He has it covered!

Linda