Five for Fighting

January 2, 2014 at 11:33 am | Posted in Biblical Violence | Leave a comment
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Tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of The Deep End. During the past five years I have enjoyed studying Scripture and writing posts based on the Truth of God’s Word. As always, He has been exceedingly gracious to allow me to continue. I pray and hope that what readers find here will be challenging, thought-provoking, comforting, and profitable, and that the Lord Jesus will be magnified and exalted. The Lord is certainly the Prince of Peace, but I have learned that He is also passionate and zealous. These things are not mutually contradictory, but the result is that – more often than we think – God deals in the reality of clashing perspectives and strong emotions. It’s one of the lesser-known facts of Christian theology that the God of peace sometimes works through violent conflict.

In honor of this anniversary (and in recognition that Jeopardy is now ripping off my blog for category clues!) I am posting the links to the category called Biblical Violence:

1. The God-Mastered Man
2. When God Condones Violence
3. Panicked Pressing
4. Frightening Words
5. The Grudge-Match of the Century: The Lion of God vs. Double-Wicked Cushan
6. Up for the Count
7. The One that Didn’t Get Away
8. The Raptor and the Captor
9. Righteous Jealousy
10. Eternal Destruction
11. Faithful Wounds
12. Faithful Wounds Part 2
13. Stand Your Ground *
14. Breaching Reality
15. Are You Struggling?
16. Smiting the Gods
17. Evil Angels
18. Beware the Fight with the Flesh
19. Beware Falling Formations
20. Beware the Feeble Fortress
21. Beware the Flattened Fence
22. Beware the Fearful Force
23. Beware the Facial Fall
24. The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 1)
25. The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)
26. Beware the Flagging Finishers

*most-read post in category

Are You Struggling?

February 18, 2013 at 10:13 am | Posted in Biblical Violence, Matthew, Salvation | 4 Comments
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And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 11:12

Are you struggling to believe the truth about your sin? You need to know that the Bible says that your sin is against God (Romans 3:23; Psalm 51:4), and that God, Who is just, righteous, and holy, will not let your sin go unpunished.

Have you faced the truth about eternity? Your life here on earth will not be the extent of your existence. Your soul is going to leave your body when you die, and you are going to face God, Who will either welcome you into Heaven or cast you into hell.

Do you find it difficult to believe the Bible’s promise that the gift of salvation is a free gift that you must receive by grace through faith alone? You cannot earn it or pay for it or add anything of your own merit to it, and you do not deserve it.

If you are struggling with any or all of these truths, do not give up. Believing in Christ can be a time of violent struggle for many people. You will either struggle violently to get away from the drawing power of the Holy Spirit, or you will submit and be drawn to repent of your sin, and trust Christ. You may even be struggling violently against your own pride, or peer pressure, or some lie which has led you to believe you don’t need a Savior because you are not in trouble.

The fact is we are all sinners. We all deserve God’s wrath. None of us deserve to go to Heaven.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Mark 16:16

The Kingdom of Heaven will suffer (“put up with”) your violence if you have the attitude of a desperate sinner in desperate need of a Savior. Salvation is a gift that Christ offers to you, but an offer alone does not make a gift. An offer must be received to be a gift. Will you receive it today?

Breaching Reality

April 13, 2012 at 8:37 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Biblical Violence, BiblicalSwimming, Uncategorized | 21 Comments
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You may have seen this on television. It is one of my favorite images from nature documentary footage. In the frigid waters off the coast of South Africa a great white shark (by some estimates weighing close to one and a half tons) comes bursting up through the water’s surface, breaching explosively with its torpedo-shaped body, clenching a terrified fur seal tightly in its razor-sharp serrated teeth and powerful jaws!

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The voice-over narrator goes on to explain that this “sneak-attack” method of predation is used by sharks to overcome the agility and elusiveness of the much-smaller seals. The viewer is left to ponder this question: “How in the world did the seal not see that coming?”

The answer lies in the seals’ inability to see what needed to be seen, and to hear what needed to be heard. A seal-lover, anticipating the attack, could scream at these fur seals, and even wave his arms frantically as a warning of what is coming from below, but it would do no good. Christians who share the Gospel with unbelievers can sometimes feel a little of the same frustration. Lost sinners know that they are sinning. Why can’t they grasp the danger of God’s impending judgment and wrath? Like fur seals, they are suffering from a type of sensory deprivation.

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

II Corinthians 4:4

According to Scripture, the little “g” god of this world, Satan, has blinded – not the eyes, but the minds – of unbelievers. They are swimming obliviously through a sea of worldly conformity, and no amount of screaming, gesticulating, logical reasoning, pleading, or emotional manipulation is going to convince them to swim immediately to the safe harbor of God’s love. What hope is there, then?

There is the same hope that we ourselves (born-again Christians) have experienced:

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:6

The only light bright enough to shine into the heart of a person whose mind has been blinded is the glorious light which God has placed in our own hearts, and which can shine like a spotlight on the crucified and resurrected face of Christ the Lord.

Some of us reading this were given our sight just in the nick of time to avoid – not a great white shark – but the place of the condemned before the Great White Throne of God’s judgment. Now, it’s our turn to aim the darkness-defeating, sight-giving light straight into the minds of the other seals. Their Satanic affliction is not a cause for frustration; it is an opportunity for God to get glory.

Stand Your Ground

February 18, 2011 at 10:03 am | Posted in Biblical farming, Biblical Violence, Common Expressions | 10 Comments
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And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

II Samuel 23:11-12, emphasis added

This is one of the briefer battle scenes in the Bible, but it is one of my absolute favorites. It is found in a passage of Scripture where the Holy Spirit is giving an account of some of the heroic deeds of “David’s mighty men.” We don’t know all that much about Shammah, but he appears to have been a farmer as well as a warrior.

There he was one day, out in his field of lentils. When I originally taught this lesson in Sunday School, I called it “Shammah and His Pea Patch,” and, boy, did I pat myself on the back for being clever. However, a quick Google search reveals that I was not so original after all. Anyway, there he was, when suddenly some Philistines, who had “gathered together in a troop” showed up. We have three enemies in the Christian life: Satan, our flesh, and the world. If you find yourself under attack from any one of these you could be in for a long day, but there are many days when all three of these enemies gather themselves into a “troop” to concertedly attack you all at once. When that happens you may be in for a really long day!

Shammah’s name meant “astonishment,” and I would imagine that he was astonished, but his actions didn’t necessarily reveal it. The peas that Shammah was cultivating on the land that the Lord had given him were not for the Philistines. They were for Shammah’s family and the Israelite people. Imagine spending long hours and days and weeks toiling in the field, plowing, planting, watering, weeding, sweating, guarding, watching, praying, preparing to harvest, and then here comes the enemy trying to profit off your labor! We don’t know if the Philistines wanted these lentils to feed their own troops, or if they just wanted to destroy them to try to starve out God’s people. Either way Shammah was having none of it.

Notice that Shammah’s people fled, but he stayed to fight. There are going to be times when you have to stand alone for the Lord (which is only true in a sense, because He is still with you.)

Notice that Shammah didn’t scheme and mince and devise some worldly battle plan. Nor did he try to compromise or negotiate. He took his stand “in the midst” of his field. Open to ambush from behind? Yes, he was. Subject to being surrounded? Sure. Without cover to help funnel his enemy into a more manageable position? You bet. But Shammah didn’t care. Enough was enough. This was the Lord’s pea patch, and Shammah would defend it or die trying!

The Bible says that Shammah defended his crop and slew the Philistines. The Bible also says that the Lord wrought a great victory. All glory must go to God when we stand on the ground that He has given us by the power of His might and defeat our enemies (who are also His enemies) by His strength.

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)

January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical friendship, Biblical Violence | 9 Comments
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From Part 1:

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face

One of those facts was realizing he was a soldier, so we began to look at three facts about soldiers.

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

B. Soldiers are supposed to live a submissive life.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4, emphasis added

Soldiers have to submit. They have to obey those over them. The very nature of authority in a battle requires both leadership and submission. An army where the soldiers do not submit to their leaders will fall into chaos and defeat.

C. Soldiers are supposed to live a selfless life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:3-4, emphasis added

Soldiers in a war are not worried about the same things as the civilians back home. Soldiers are concerned with staying alive, keeping each other alive, and winning a battle. But they are not usually in the battle because they have been personally insulted by their enemy. They are fighting for the cause of their country. Most Christians are quick to take up a personal offense, but we need to remember that we are not fighting for our own cause. We are fighting our Commander’s cause. We are fighting for His Kingdom and His glory.

Jonathan had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
and
III. A Friend Who Followed

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

I Samuel 14:6-7

Jonathan’s armor-bearer carried the weapons. If Jonathan needed the sword, the armor-bearer held the spear. If Jonathan needed the spear, the armor-bearer held the sword. Friends are important in the battle of the Christian life. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

If you start something for the Lord, He will often call someone to get into it with you. Have you prayed for God to bless you, so others could see God’s glory at work in your life? Lord, bless me to be a blessing. Many times God will give through me what He won’t give to me. On the other hand, I also need to be praying for God to bless my friends and let me carry their bags.

People are watching you, whether you know it or not. Someone is being influenced by you. You might be just one person in the world, but you might also be the world to one person.

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
and
IV. The Faith to Finish

You can almost hear Jonathan breathlessly telling his armor-bearer, “Here’s what we’ll do – we’ll come out of hiding and show ourselves, and if they tell us to come up and fight them, then that’ll be the sign God has delivered them into our hands and given us the victory.” So they crawled down through the rocks. “Okay,” whispers Jonathan, “here goes nothing…”

The Philistines were probably drinking, partying, fooling around with slave girls, when suddenly one of them looks up and sees Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Hey look what we have here,” the Philistines sneer. “It’s two little Hebrew boys! Two little mice come out of their holes. What – did you boys get tired of hiding in your cave?”

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

I Samuel 14:12

“We’ll show you a thing or two,” boast the Philistines, smacking their fists into the palms of their hands.

Jonathan and his armor-bearer waded in and they started knocking heads! As we used to say in elementary school, they came to kick butt and take names, and they forgot to bring a pad and a pencil for taking names!

Jonathan whacked them with the sword, and the armor-bearer finished them off with the spear – until, after a fierce melee’ – they looked back over half an acre and saw twenty dead Philistines! Then God really took over and sent an earthquake.

Two young soldiers started with a plan, and they had the faith to finish. Faith is not foolish frolicking, and it’s not reckless abandon. Jonathan had some promises from God’s Word.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Deuteronomy 32:30

When Samson had picked up a donkey’s jawbone and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, one took out a thousand. Depending on God’s promises despite circumstances – that’s faith!

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish
and
V. A Father to Fear

Jonathan feared God more than Saul. But notice his wording:

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6, emphasis added

He could just as easily have said, “God may use us to do His work.” Jonathan didn’t foolishly tempt God. He had a plan – a Godly plan. God can honor our plans – as long as our plans honor Him. God is all-powerful. He is great, but He is also good. His throne is great and white. Remember what happens when someone gets to be powerful. Saul the king became corrupt – just like Samuel warned. He fought battles for his own glory, and not for God’s. He wanted credit for himself, and not for God. He sacrificed and offered offerings that only the priests were allowed to do. And he became corrupt. He ended up turning to witchcraft and committing suicide on the battlefield. Saul was big and good-looking. He looked like what the people thought a king should look like. But – unlike Jonathan – he didn’t have the faith to finish well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely when it comes to men. But not when it comes to God.

Can you imagine an all-powerful supreme being that is inclined to evil or makes compromises with evil men? This world would make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq look like Christmas morning at a rich kid’s house. It would make Nazi Germany look like Disneyland.

Jonathan had reasons to fear the Philistines. They had better weapons. They had more weapons. They had the high ground. They had the numbers.

Jonathan also had reason to fear Saul. He was the king. He had mood swings. He was Jonathan’s father.

But more than fear of the Philistines, and more than fear of his earthly father, Jonathan feared his Heavenly Father. There is safety, peace, protection, comfort, boldness, and victory in the fear of God. God’s power is a great dread to His enemies, but it is a great comfort to His children.

If you are a Christian you have:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend to Follow (or a friend who will follow)
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Get out from under the pomegranate tree. Get in the battle. The Christian life is a battle, and it’s a battle worth fighting.

http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/14-jonathan-and-armor-bearer.jpg

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 1)

December 15, 2010 at 9:53 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Violence | 14 Comments
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Lord, grab us, arrest our hearts, and get our attention. Make us tremble before Your Word.

I Samuel 14 contains the account of Jonathan and his armor-bearer taking on the Philistines. Saul was the king of Israel. This was the first time God’s people had a king over them. The people wanted a king. They wanted what everybody else had. God wanted them to be different. Why would they want a king when they already had the King? God faces the same competition today in our own hearts. The Jewish people wanted what the Amalekites had and what the Egyptians had. We want all the things the world offers, but we think, “It’s okay – I’ll still ‘call’ God my King.” If God is your King, you don’t need what everybody else has.

In Chapter 13 of I Samuel, the Bible tells us that the Israelites depended upon the Philistines to sharpen iron.

Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.

I Samuel 13:19-20

They did not have their own smith, and in fact there were only two swords among all the Israelites. You can probably guess who had these two swords. Saul, the king, had one, but he was not using it, because he was resting under a pomegranate tree when he should have been in the battle. Jonathan, Saul’s son, had the other sword.

It is a great testimony to the grace of God that Saul could have a son like Jonathan. Jonathan was the kind of son any father would want to have.

Jonathan had a sword and a spear, and it’s a good thing he did, because he also had…

I. A Foe to Fight

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.

I Samuel 14:1

The Philistines were reprobate enemies of God and His people, and God wanted them wiped out. Christians today have a foe, an enemy, an adversary: Satan. God has plans for your life and Satan has plans for your life. These plans are far different. Satan has been watching you. He knows your weaknesses. He knows what you like to watch. He knows what you like to hear. He knows where you like to go. He has traps set, and he a three-fold mission. He’s on a mission to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to steal your blessings. He wants to take your life. He wants to destroy your testimony. He has designs on your children and your grandchildren. Every day he is tirelessly at work doing everything he can to wreck our lives. He hates God. He knows all about what happened on the Cross. He understands the authority and the power of Christ better than you do. And he will do anything possible to rob God of His glory.

Like Jonathan, you have a foe to fight. Are you in the battle? Do you believe that the battle is worth fighting? Getting your blessing stolen is bad. Getting killed is worse. Having your testimony destroyed is the worst, because it robs God of His glory.

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6

Jonathan not only had a foe to fight. He also had…

II. Some Facts to Face

These Philistines were in a garrison: a heavily fortified military camp. They had soldiers and spoilers. They despised the Hebrews. They were mocking God and God’s people. They were encamped between two sharp rocks. The Hebrew army was on the run – afraid, disorganized, under poor leadership from Saul, hiding in caves. But Jonathan was a soldier. A soldier’s job is to fight.

Here are some things I want you to see about soldiers:

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

II Timothy 2:3

“Hardness” is being able to get through life – and through life’s battles – without a lot of the comforts that civilians enjoy. The Christian life is a battle, and soldiers do not go carelessly or casually into a battle. Soldiers on a battlefield are not concerned about frivolous entertainment or the latest fads.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4

Today, as Christians, I am afraid that:
-We know more about the stores at the shopping mall, than we know about Nehemiah and the temple wall.
-We know more about our MP3 player, than we know about the High Priestly Prayer.
-We know more about LSU, than we know about Elihu.

We know more about what’s happening on the red carpet than we know about what happened on the Cross of Christ! May God help us. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Don’t get so tangled up in worldly amusements and affairs that when the Commander tells you to get in the battle, you can’t get yourself untangled.

Next time: Two more facts about soldiers

Faithful Wounds

November 18, 2009 at 11:39 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Biblical Violence, Biblical Walking | 21 Comments
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The young boy walked across the church parking lot, tossing a ball in the air and catching it as it fell, casually wandering toward a busy highway. One man noticed this, and, being a religious man, he began to wring his hands, pray, and ask the boy politely to stop, to change directions, or at least to pay attention to where he was going. The boy remained oblivious and kept moving toward the highway. Another man observed the boy, and, being a caring man, he ran in a flat-out sprint toward the boy, dove through the air, and crashed into the boy with a flying shoulder tackle. Both he and the boy landed, just short of the path of a speeding truck, in a ditch filled with mud, weeds, and broken glass. The boy was shaken up, crying, cut, and bruised, but still alive.

The two men had taken drastically different approaches. One man appeared loving and polite, but his passivity was evidence of a callow cruelty toward the boy. One man appeared hateful and rash, but his willingness to act was evidence of a true love for the boy.

Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:5-6

Christians are not supposed to just “have” friends. They are supposed to LOVE their friends. Christian love is more than just a “feeling.” It always involves action. If I have a friend who is walking toward destruction, my “secret love” for this friend will be of little help. However, a loud verbal warning during a face-to-face confrontation, even though it may cause hard feelings, could do a world of good. I need to have a loving willingness to batter and bruise (and then bandage) my friends, instead of a weak-willed sentimental desire to give them little kisses good-bye as they head for damnation.

Eternal Destruction

November 2, 2009 at 9:21 am | Posted in Biblical Violence, Eternity | 16 Comments
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Some Bible words can be hard to understand. If you are going to get a grip on the idea of “propitiation” or “justification” (Romans 4:25, 3:25), you had better be prepared to stay up all night. There are other words, however, which are extremely self-explanatory. Take the word “everlasting.” Something that is “everlasting,” is something that…(all together now)…LASTS…FOR…EVER.

When God says something is everlasting, it may blow our minds a little. After all, most things in this world have a start and a stop, a beginning and an end. The sun comes up; the sun goes down. Plants spring up and grow; plants wither and rot. People are born; people die. In God’s realm of eternity, however, there is no true end or beginning. So while the conceptualization of “everlasting” may be difficult, the basic sense of it is not. This is a great encouragement to true Christian believers and a great condemnation to those who have rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Unbelievers will experience punishment forever.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

II Thessalonians 1:7-9

However, believers have the assurance of knowing that their salvation may never be lost.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

II Thessalonians 2:16

Righteous Jealousy

September 30, 2009 at 8:42 am | Posted in Biblical Violence | 20 Comments
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A currently popular television talk show host grew up attending traditional Christian churches, holding to fundamental Biblical teaching and preaching. She recently explained her rejection of these beliefs by referring to something, at the age of 28, she heard preached in church: The God of the Bible is a jealous God. This struck her as very strange. How could God, Who is all-powerful, and Who owns everything, be jealous of human beings? What a tragic misunderstanding, and what a shallow view of Scripture.

Oh, God is jealous, alright.

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.

Nahum 1:2

But He is not jealous of what people have or what they are able to do. He is jealous because of the love He has for his Own people. We might say He is jealous over His people, not of His people – the way a loving and faithful husband would be jealous over anything that would tend to steal his wife’s affection away from him.

God loves His people very much. And although we would rather hear about the love of God, we must not ignore the fact that God reserves wrath for the enemies of His people. Did you know that, even though God is love (I John 4:8), He also hates (Psalm 11:5)?

Recently, my wife and I visited California. On the flight I was reading Nahum Chapter 1, and looking down at the tops of the clouds, which the Bible calls “the dust of his feet,” and I got to thinking about some of the ways the Lord shows His righteous anger, and His power over His creation.

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.

Nahum 1:3 (tornadoes, hurricanes, and storms)

He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

Nahum 1:4 (droughts)

The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

Nahum 1:5 (earthquakes, mudslides, and forest fires)

Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.

Nahum 1:6 (volcanoes, avalanches)

But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

Nahum 1:8 (floods)

Most people, when asked to quickly name the opposite of “love,” will blurt out, “hate.” But this is incorrect. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. And our loving and just and jealous God is anything but indifferent.

The Raptor and the Captor

September 17, 2009 at 9:54 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting, Biblical Violence, Micah | 8 Comments
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Lemuel Briggs was a farmer in Mendocino County, California, in 1895. He had a lamb and two sons. Bald eagles were not as scarce in those days as they are today.

https://i2.wp.com/www.alaskawildernessvoyages.com/images/_wild_eagle1a.jpg

One day, a bald eagle left its nest in the mountains near Mr. Briggs’s farm, soaring on wings that measured over eight feet across, and carried off Mr. Briggs’s lamb. He was furious.

He sent his sons, Willie, aged 13, and Eddie, 11, up into the mountains to find the eagle’s nest. They obeyed.

However, as they went up the narrow mountain path, they neared the eagle’s nest before they realized it, and the eagle attacked. It circled around them, swooping in relentlessly, talons tearing and beak pecking. The attack ended with Eddie permanently scarred, having lost an eye.

One can only imagine the grief felt by Lemuel Briggs every time he saw his boy’s patched and scarred face. In the Bible, there was a tradition among the Jewish people of cutting off their hair or shaving their heads during times of devastating grief. As God’s people faced the chastening of God for their idol-worship and spiritual adultery, the prophet Micah used a bit of holy irony to drive home what would have been a sore point.

Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.

Micah 1:16

The irony has to do with his description of their children as “delicate.” Parents who are not strict with their children when it comes to Bible study, church attendance, and Christian conduct, may gloss over the suggestion that they are spoiling them. However, when the enemy comes to take them captive, it will quickly become apparent that children who were too “delicate” to be subjected to discipline, are likewise too delicate to withstand the rough treatment they will experience at the hands of their captor.

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