When God says, “Enough”

Patient God – Jealous God

Nahum 1-3 and Revelation 11

In Nahum, we read of God’s declaration of destruction against Nineveh.  You may recall that over 100 years prior to Nahum, Jonah had preached against Nineveh.  At that time, the people repented of their sins, so God didn’t send destruction at that time.

But that repentance didn’t last, and the people of Nineveh became more idolatrous and more sinful than ever.  So in Nahum 1:2 we read,  “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.”

Normally, we think of jealousy as a bad thing, like “You have something I want, and I’m jealous.”  Many times in the Bible, God talks of his jealousy as a relationship He wants to protect – sort of like a husband and a wife who are united.  If one strays, the other would be very jealous, not wanting to share their spouse with another.  In this case, God doesn’t want anyone worshiping anyone but Him, but Nineveh is worshiping idols – making God jealous.

And similarly, we typically also think of vengeance as a bad thing – and for us to take vengeance is indeed wrong.  But God is a holy God, and can’t tolerate people flouting His law and do nothing about it.  We’re told in Deuteronomy 32:35, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”

So in Nahum, God is declaring war against Nineveh and its people because of their sins.  It seems kind of odd, then, that verse 3 continues by talking about how patient God is:  “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”

God had indeed been slow to anger.  He had given the people at least another 100 years to get right with Him.  He had been very patient.  But at some point, even God has had enough and will act, not leaving the guilty unpunished.

This was true for Nineveh, when it was destroyed in 612 B.C.  And this fact is still true today.

We’re told in 2 Peter 3: 9-10, “9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” 

Again, God is patient, wanting everyone to repent.  But the time will come when He will destroy not Nineveh, but the earth, because of her sins.

In today’s reading in Revelation 11, we read about 2 witnesses that will prophesy for 1260 days at the end of this evil age.  They will be killed, and then after 3.5 days, they will be resurrected and caught up to heaven.  Then, in Revelation 11:15, the seventh trumpet will sound, and it will be declared, “The kingdom of  the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”  Then in Revelation 11:18, we read, “The nations were angry and your wrath has come.  The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great – and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Notice in this passage there is a good news / bad news situation, declaring that God’s wrath has come (a bad thing), but also the time for rewarding His servants (a good thing)

In Nahum’s time, even with the bad things he was prophesying against Nineveh, Nahum was able to comfort God’s people with Nahum 1:15, “Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!”  At the same time the guilty were being punished, the righteous were celebrating because of the peace they were about to enjoy.

We don’t know when, but we do know that one day, God will get so angry with the sinfulness rampant on earth that he will say, “enough”.  He will send horrible plagues and destruction, and then send Jesus – who will judge the living and the dead, destroying the wicked in the lake of fire, and granting eternal life to the righteous.

Since we know these things are coming, what kind of lives should we be living – as we await the return of Jesus?  The choice is yours.  But there will be consequences.

-Steve Mattison

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading plan passages at BibleGateway.com here – Nahum 1-3 and Revelation 11

Receive Salvation not Wrath

Isaiah 31-32 and 1 Thessalonians 5

There is so much Paul still wants to say as he is wrapping up his first (recorded) letter to the Thessalonians. Perhaps the mailman is standing at the door ready to take the letter as Paul is finishing up. His writing style is often long winding sentences with many phrases linked together in what English teachers would now call run-on sentences. But he doesn’t have time for that today. He switches to short powerful sentences. “Be joyful always. Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He has a lot to pack into his final instructions. Many of them deal with specifics on how to please God and how to love others (our two categories from the previous chapter that we are to do more and more). So, read them carefully and take note of how you are doing in these categories.

Paul also takes a final opportunity to remind them/us of the coming day of the Lord. Paul says this day will bring surprise destruction for many. It also becomes a great time to teach a bit on God’s character. Paul writes, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This reminds me of a beautiful passage from our reading in Isaiah yesterday, “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18). God longs to see His people saved from the coming destruction. In the time of Isaiah. In the time of Paul. And, in our time. God longs to see His people saved from the coming destruction, but that does not mean that there won’t be a coming destruction for those who have turned their backs on Him, rejecting Him and His Son.

In Isaiah 31 we read of trouble and God’s judgment coming to the wicked and to those who have turned from God. He denounces those who see they need help – but turn to human allies or their own strength instead of turning to God. They have failed to wait on the LORD, and for them, judgment is coming. God’s perfect plan of salvation requires His children to seek God and accept the salvation offered through His Son Jesus. A response on your part is required to avoid the coming wrath and receive salvation instead.

I will end today, as each of the chapters of 1st Thessalonians have ended, with a reminder of the coming return of Christ. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thesssalonians 5:23-24).

-Marcia Railton

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Isaiah 31-32 and 1 Thessalonians 5

Pray Continually

The Day of the Lord is Coming!

i thess 5 16-18

1St Thessalonians 5

Chapter 5 speaks about the day of the Lord coming like a thief in the night. People will speak of peace and safety but destruction will come on suddenly. The cool thing is that we are not in darkness; we know the end is coming. We know what the end is and who wins. Jesus died for us. He died so we could live. We need to make sure we are encouraging each other with these words. We all go through hard times, but we need to remember that no matter how hard it is now, the kingdom will be awesome!

The 2nd part of chapter 5 gives us some final instructions on how to treat people. We need to be respectful, encouraging, patient, kind, and give warnings when needed.  Verse 16-18 says:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I never truly understood verse 17 until I had children. I always wondered how someone could pray continually. Now I know, prayer does not have to be in a closet by yourself; it can be anywhere, anytime. We are told to test everything, hold on to good, and avoid every kind of evil. We need to share this with all of our brothers and sisters, and as mentioned before, pray for one another.

 

Tomorrow we will go over 2 Thessalonians 1.

Many Blessings,

~The Ransom’s

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