Repentance, The Remnant, The Repercussions.

repentanceI enjoy reading the story of Jonah; there is something about this story that helps me understand that even a prophet like Jonah was still just human. Jonah had problems just like everyone else; his story reveals the real hardships and frustrations that we can face today in our own lives. God uses a reluctant servant to show us the power of His great love and mercy in a culture that deserved judgment for their sins. It took Jonah three days to walk through the city proclaiming judgment and right before his eyes he saw people turning towards God pleading for Him to save them. This story, like many others in scripture gives me hope for the culture we live in today.

Micah’s story in some ways is much like that of Jonah without much of the personal struggles that surrounded his ministry. Micah’s story was encouraging in the sense that his message to the faithful remnant was this: even though they were surrounded by a culture that would eventually be destroyed there was hope; they had the assurance of the promise given to Abraham from God. Micah’s message and the message of the other prophets was reaching into the lives of the Israelites, God’s message was being heard, His love was for everyone and that for today is an encouragement for us to continue reaching out into our own communities.

I think about Jonah when I read through the book of Nahum, I believe its my human nature that makes me think that if Jonah would have been around during the destruction of Nineveh there would have been some part of him that did a little “happy dance”. This “book ended” relationship we read about between the ministries of these two prophets surrounds a culture of people who were lost and openly disobedient to the standard of living that God set out for them. When Christ comes again, I pray that we are in a better place than the people of Nineveh; I pray that as believers we will have done all we could do to proclaim the name of Jesus into the cultures that surround us.

150 Years Later…

nahum

Have you ever have to redo a job that someone else already did, pickup the pieces and start from the beginning? I wonder if that’s what Nahum was thinking when God called him to prophecy judgment on Nineveh. Approximately 150 years earlier in Nahum’s day and about a month ago I wrote of Jonah who prophesied to the same city where they experienced the mercy of God, a time where God accepted their repentant hearts and relented on the destruction of their city.

Nahum was called to a different task, we read that the people of Nineveh had turned from God and developed a taste for greed and violence toward His people. Nahum speaks words of destruction to the people, warning them of their ultimate destruction. Verse 6 of chapter one paints a picture of God’s wrath against Nineveh, “Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.” Even with the wrath and anger that we read about, the God of Nahum, our God is still good and loving and does not forget those who trust and take refuge in Him. Through the words of Nahum and the events that surround the destruction of Nineveh we get a glimpse into the power of and sovereignty of God, we can better understand how just He is and that He protects those who follow Him.

We have seen the mercy of God on a people with repentant hearts and the wrath of God on the same people with unrepentant hearts many years later. Sometimes I wonder if our culture has rebuilt the city of Nineveh around us today? Have we become the few that have taken refuge in Him? I am thankful that I serve a patient and loving God that continually through his Son allows me to bring my sinful nature with a repentant heart before him to seek and receive His forgiveness.