God’s Less-Popular Attributes

July 19, 2013 at 8:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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The prophet Nahum was from the town of Elkosh, but we don’t know very much about his background – which is okay. When it comes to those who speak for the Lord, His Word is more important than the speaker’s personal experiences.

Just as the prophet Obadiah had pronounced God’s judgment against Edom, Nahum pronounced God’s judgment against Nineveh. Nineveh was a major city of Assyria. Jonah had already gone to them, preaching repentance, and they had repented, but after a little over 100 years they turned again to their evil ways. On a historical timeline 100 years does not seem very long, but many of us have seen people repent in a Sunday morning church service, and turn back to their evil ways by Sunday afternoon!

Assyria had conquered the Northern Kingdom (Israel) in 722 B.C., and had tried to conquer the Southern Kingdom (Judah) in 701, but the Lord intervened and His angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night.

Nahum’s name meant “comfort” or “compassion.” He prophesied during the time of Jeremiah and Habakkuk. If we began to name the characteristics of God (or the “virtues” or “attributes” of God), we would speak of His “glory,” which is sort of the “weight” of His attributes and/or virtues – the “manifest substance” of God – and we would probably think of things like His love, His grace, His mercy, His holiness, His righteousness, His patience, His longsuffering, His faithfulness, His truthfulness. But there are three attributes or virtues of God that are often overlooked.

1. His jealousy

God is jealous…

Nahum 1:2

It is wrong for us to be jealous of what others have, because what they have does not really belong to us. Jealousy in a marriage, however, is not always wrong – especially if it is manifested in a desire to protect the God-ordained relationship. Likewise it is not wrong for God to be jealous. He is the owner of everything, and He wants what is best for His people. In fact, He would be an idolator if He sought glory for anything or anyone else. He is jealous over His glory, His name, and the worship and honor that are due to Him alone.

2. His vengeance

God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth…

Nahum 1:2

Vengeance is a sin – for us. Because vengeance belongs to the Lord. All sinners are enemies of God. He has declared peace first, but when man refuses peace, God must declare war. (Psalm 7 is a good place to study this principle.) Because God is holy and just, there must be payment for sin – a price must be paid. Unsaved sinners raise their weapons against God, and His wrath is aimed back at them. If they put their weapons down, but do not come to Him in repentance and faith in Jesus, His wrath is still directed at them. A righteous judge does not let a lawbreaker go free just because he is sorry and says he won’t do it anymore.

3. His anger

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

Our anger is almost always close to sin. It usually tips over into sin because we are selfish and because we lack self-control. But there is an anger that is motivated by, and manifested as, righteous indignation. God doesn’t throw a “fit” or a temper tantrum. He is slow to anger – not because His fuse is slowly burning – but because it is His nature to offer repentance and mercy. Assyria was God’s weapon. He used the Assyrians to chasten His people, but they themselves became proud, and pride is an abomination to God.

This was His declaration of peace:

Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Nahum 1:15

This was His declaration of war:

He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.

Nahum 2:1

The “he” in that verse is Nebuchadnezzar, who was being temporarily used as God’s weapon, and God’s warning is in the form of ridiculing Assyria’s pride. Assyria’s pride took God’s staying hand of patience away from them, and caused God to deal with their sins, including their unwarranted bloodshed.

Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

Nahum 3:1

He also punished them for their idolatry.

Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Nahum 3:4

Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy. All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.

Nahum 3:11-12

The cup of God’s wrath must be drunk by the sinner unless there is a Savior to drink it for him.

Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.

Nahum 3:13

Domination of the weak will lead to God treating us the way we have treated them. We must teach this to our children. Teach them that they must take up the cause of the weak and protect the weak.

Nineveh fell in 612 B.C. at the hands of the Medes and Babylonians, and Assyria fell in 609.

Lord, bless each and every person who reads this. Thank you for divinely ordaining the Church, and making a symptom and evidence of our belief in You the love we show for each other. I pray that we will submit one to another, in love preferring one another, not just on this day, but every day, for this is right in Your eyes, and we bring glory to You by doing what is right in obedience. In the name of the Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

I’m Just Sayin’ 7

August 26, 2011 at 10:26 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 11 Comments
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There are a lot of things to like about living in South Louisiana, but, I’m just sayin’, the weather in the summertime ain’t necessarily one of them.

I lived in North Louisiana for the first 18 years of my life and when I moved to Baton Rouge, I really thought I was moving to “Cajun Country.” Since then, I’ve learned that Baton Rouge maybe isn’t so “cajun” after all – at least compared to places with names like “Cutoff,” “Hackberry,” and a couple of others that end with a silent “x:” Breaux Bridge and Thibodaux. But one thing I learned did not change: the weather in the summer. I have learned that summers in South Louisiana consist of three consistent features: extreme heat, afternoon thunderstorms, and super-steamroom-type humidity – with the occasional hurricane thrown in for good measure.

If this type of weather has become expected and obvious to me, why is it still such a shocker to so many others? A few days without rain and you are panicking? Settle down, it’s South Louisiana. It will rain again – I promise. And plenty of it! Storming every afternoon at 3:00? Relax, enjoy the change in temperature from 98 to 91 for a few hours.

According to my Bible, God is the One Who controls the weather (see Nahum 1:3-5 and Mark 4:37-39) – even here in South Louisiana – so, I’m just sayin’, it seems a little presumptuous and critical and ungrateful to complain about the type of weather He’s choosing to send us. We do believe that He knows best – right?

I do have a helpful suggestion, though. I heard of a family once which had a really bad habit of swearing and using profanity. After they became Christians, they realized that this type of speaking was wrong, but they were having a tough time giving it up. They started something called a “swear jar.” Mom set a big jar on the kitchen counter with a slot in the lid, and every time someone said a bad word, they had to put money in the jar. What I’m thinking is, the next time you state a complaint about too much rain or too little rain or too much heat or stifling humidity or post a comment about it on the internet or grumble about it to your family, friend, or neighbor, go ahead and send me a dollar. It won’t be long until I have enough money to go investigate a place where the climate is almost always temperate and pleasant. It’s called Southern California. I will be there for a few weeks, making detailed notes about the weather for you – at your expense – but I’m sure I’ll bring back a positive report and you can consider moving there yourself so the rest of us won’t have to hear you whine and moan. I’m just sayin’.

Righteous Jealousy

September 30, 2009 at 8:42 am | Posted in Biblical Violence | 23 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.

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