Today’s Reading: Nah 1:1–3:19, Acts 16:6–40, Job 24:12–25
Today’s Theme: Jealous God
Todays theme is about the jealousy of God. When we speak of the jealousy of God it is not like the sin stained jealousy of man, instead Gods jealousy speaks of his zeal for his own Glory, ways and people. God is fiercely protective and unaccepting of disloyalty.
Another way to think of proper jealousy is a husband who is concerned for the love of his wife and is not indulgent of her (or his own) adultery.
We learn that God’s Jealousy is invigorated by God’s right to avenge and holy anger while complemented by God’s goodness and mercy.
We are called to have this type of proper jealousy where we are concerned for God’s honour and glory and flee spiritual adultery. Live with zeal for God’s glory and you will be led by the Holy Spirit.
The Jealous God
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. (Nahum 1:2, ESV)
We don’t often think of God as Jealous (Zealous), avenging or wrathful but these are some of His essential attributes and part of the full picture of who God is, he is not simply a God of love.
Be slow to anger like God
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. (Nahum 1:3, ESV)
This again helps us understand the Lord, he is not quick to be angry, but is slow to get angry and encourages us to be the same. At the same time He will by no means clear the guilty
God is good
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7, ESV)
As Nahum gives us a clear picture of the terrible wrath of God, it is refreshing to be reminded that along with this the Lord is good and a stronghold to those who trust in Him
How do you plan on defeating God?
What do you plot against the LORD? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time. (Nahum 1:9, ESV)
This sobering question should be asked to any one in rebellion against God and any nation standing against him
Your idols become your grave
The LORD has given commandment about you: “No more shall your name be perpetuated; from the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the metal image. I will make your grave, for you are vile.” (Nahum 1:14, ESV)
God is speaking to the Ninivites, but we can learn from this. Anything or one we idolise can end up being the death of us spiritually, an idol very soon becomes a grave.
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. (Nahum 1:15, ESV)
This is picked up in the NT regarding the good news of the gospel, this helps give us perspective on how the Gospel is good news…. it is because like the enemies of Israel sin has been defeated at the cross.
Desolate! Desolation and ruin! Hearts melt and knees tremble; anguish is in all loins; all faces grow pale! (Nahum 2:10, ESV)
This and all proceeding verses in this chapter speak of the destruction on Nineveh, they had repented in Jonah’s day but this is 100 years later, they were used by God to judge Israel (not Judah) with destruction but now were under Gods judgement for their cruelty.
Just because God used them to judge his people does not absolve them of their own wickedness
Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard. (Nahum 2:13, ESV)
If God declares himself to be against any nation then that nations days are numbered. We must pray for our nations
Is London like Nineveh
Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder— no end to the prey! (Nahum 3:1, ESV)
The question in my mind is does London like Nineveh have blood on its hands too.
Physical, spiritual and national whoring
And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms. (Nahum 3:4, ESV)
Sexual sin destroys both individual men and entire nations, our culture is under such assault by perversion and pornography that even our secular government has recognised the problem.
Lord guard us and our children from the deceitful charms of this trap.
This is also true spiritually, we should be faithful to God in our minds and behaviours and not prostitute our souls for the satisfaction of our flesh.
This is also true on a national level, as a country we should not compromise our standards no matter the financial or political cost, this is political prostitution and is spoken about in the book of revelation as the great harlot (false religion) drawing in and deceiving all nations.
Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles slumber. Your people are scattered on the mountains with none to gather them. (Nahum 3:18, ESV)
The shepherds and leaders of the church need to stay alert and ready for an attack of the enemy to defend and guide the flock
The reason for judgement
There is no easing your hurt; your wound is grievous. All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil? (Nahum 3:19, ESV)
They were judged for their evil
The guidance of the Holy Spirit
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. (Acts 16:6, ESV)
This shows how much they were lead by the Spirit, not only in going into new areas but being warned to not go to other areas yet. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to guides us about the places we should NOT go to.
Get up and work
And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. (Acts 16:7, ESV)
Notice the way they lived their lives, they would set about to do something in the work of the Lord because in Christ they have new desires to please God, but if they were going in the wrong direction in their good endeavour the Holy Spirit would redirect them.
We should live our lives like this, not waiting on the Spirit to tell us to move but working for Gods glory and allowing the spirit to guide us as we work.
God can speak through dreams and visions
And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:10, ESV)
God made His direction for them very clear with this vision, we should be open to what the Lord tells us in visions and dreams, always measuring them against the Word (in this case it was regarding the call to Spain).
Open ears and hearts
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:14, ESV)
This woman’s heart was opened by God to pay attention to what Paul was saying, we should pray that God would open our hearts to hear and apply the truth
The ministry of hospitality
And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. (Acts 16:15, ESV)
This woman showed hospitality to Paul and his companions, this is an important ministry for believers and Women in particular
Take authority over unclean spirits
And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:18, ESV)
We should like Paul take authority over unclean spirits, notice the manifestation of the spirit is very clear, not implied as is the case often today in parts of the church where everything is a spirit.
When there is a real demon, by the power of the Holy Spirit we can take authority and cast it out.
We can’t deal with men like spirits
And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. (Acts 16:23, ESV)
Notice they did not “bind them”, these were men, not demons, we can only take authority when it is an actual demon. The Apostles suffered greatly for the faith.
Praise to breakthrough and breakout
and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:26, ESV)
We can praise our way to breakthrough and breakout for us and others, Hallelujah – Pastor Dennis has a great teaching on this.
The ultimate question
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30, ESV)
The question that we should pray our loved ones and enemies ask when they see God at work for us
How to be saved
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31, ESV)
This is an exclusive statement, it is only by believing in the Lord Jesus that we will be saved (not may be but WILL be)
Discipleship is necessary
And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. (Acts 16:32, ESV)
Some people stop at the last verse but there was more happening here, discipleship means Paul taught them all the word of God, again teaching is central to accurate believing
Joy, evidence of salvation
Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. (Acts 16:34, ESV)
This joy is one of the evidences of salvation
Confidence in God’s control
But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” (Acts 16:37, ESV)
God used the imprisonment to his Glory, it was a victory and now Paul speaks with the boldness and wisdom of God.
Encourage the saints
So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed. (Acts 16:40, ESV)
Paul was always encouraging the saints and concerned with their growth, we should be the same
Everything is recorded
From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God charges no one with wrong. (Job 24:12, ESV)
This is not true, God is keeping a record of everything, nothing escapes His sight
We hated the light
“There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths. (Job 24:13, ESV)
This is all of us before we know the Lord, in John 3: 20-21 Jesus tell us
“For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.””
You can’t hide
The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye will see me’; and he veils his face. (Job 24:15, ESV)
This is the deception of sin, it doesn’t matter how late or dark it is, God still knows and sees all our actions
Friends with demons
For deep darkness is morning to all of them; for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness. (Job 24:17, ESV)
Think about this, without God we are friends with demons (although they are not friends with us)
If it is not so, who will prove me a liar and show that there is nothing in what I say?” (Job 24:25, ESV)
The pride of Job is exposed here, not to say it was there dint he first place we must remember the tremendous emotional strain of the trial he is going through without excusing the sin of pride.