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

What Attitudes Do Others See in You?

And the journey continues… 2 Kings. This is a fascinating book with so many examples of God’s working in the lives of His people. The prophet Elijah ends his ministry in Chapter 2 when God takes him up into heaven without facing death. God made his departure spectacular as a fiery chariot appeared and took him to heaven in a whirlwind! 2 Kings 2:11. The only other person God took to heaven was Enoch in Genesis 5:24. 2 Kings highlights the ministry of Elisha the prophet and gives the history of the kings of both the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. There are many miracles written of Elisha; he was a man of God that walked humbly with God and followed His direction.

In Chapter 4 we find a widow whose husband belonged to a company of prophets who worked in Elisha’s service. She asked for Elisha’s help as her sons were about to be taken as slaves to pay their debt. He asks, “How can I help?” He asks her what she has in the house. She tells him she has a bit of oil. So Elisha directs her to gather a lot of jars, shut herself in the house and begin filling them. When all were filled and there were no more jars, the oil ran out. Then Elisha instructed her to sell the oil, pay the debt and use the money that remained to live with her family. I love this story as it shows Elisha’s compassion in helping the woman see how her few resources became great with God’s power. In that same chapter, Elisha often visits a well to do family in Shunem. The wife offers to make him a room on the roof, with her husband’s permission, so that Elisha and his servant could stay there whenever they are in the region. Elisha asks the woman what can he do for her as a way of thanks. She says she needs nothing but his servant points out she does not have a son and her husband is old. So Elisha calls to her and tells her she will have a son this time next year. She was amazed and grateful. A few years later the son is injured and she calls Elisha to come even after he is dead. Elisha comes and restores the young man to life. Here again we see Elisha modeling gratitude towards one who selflessly served him. God honored her attitude of devotion and faith in the man of God with a son. What touches me most is that she did not ask for anything, and yet God saw her hearts desire and then showered her with blessings because of her selfless attitude of service. Believe it or not there are still 2 other stories in Chapter 4. Elisha ordered a large pot be brought as there was a famine and he was going to provide a meal. A servant went out to gather herbs and accidently put a poisonous plant in the stew. The cook screamed for Elisha to come and he ordered they put in some flour. That fixed the stew and they all ate it with no harmful effects. The last miracle recorded in this chapter is the feeding of a hundred men. Elisha had 20 barley loaves and ordered it be given to the people saying there would be leftovers. To the amazement of the people, everyone ate and there was some left over as the Lord had said. These last 2 miracles show God’s sovereignty over the physical elements of this world and his compassion and care for those who believe in Him.

All of these miracles happened to everyday people living their everyday lives. We saw an attitude of gratitude in their lives that miraculously brought unexpected blessing. Who do you need to help see the resources God has given to them? Who do you need to thank for blessing you through their actions? Who are you feeding in the name of Jesus?

Linda

P.S. Take time to read Chapter 4 of 2 Kings and let the words bless you.