God: Patient and Powerful

God’s slowness to anger must not be confused with any weakness or ambivalence. [1]

Today’s reading: Nahum 1-3; Revelation 13

2 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.
3 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 1:2,3

7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. Revelation 13:7-8

If there is anything we can learn from reading the Bible carefully from cover to cover, it is that God is firmly in control of all of human history. Nothing escapes His knowledge, His presence, or His power. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. That does not mean that He accepts everything that happens with no further action. He will act in His time to reward faithfulness and punish all evil.

In Nahum’s day, the nation of Assyria was imposing her power on the surrounding nations. Israel had already fallen to her, and Judah, under King Manasseh, was a vassal state. Nahum proclaimed the power of God in the midst of this difficult situation.   Assyria would fall, he assured them. God is slow to anger but not weak in power. He would pour out His wrath. Meanwhile, Nahum, whose name means comfort, reminded Judah that “ The Lord is good,  a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him” (1:7).

In John’s vision, he sees two beasts, one from the sea and one from the earth. These are united with the dragon and they wreak havoc on God’s people, who do not take the mark of the beast which gives access to commerce. It seems like a hopeless situation, yet there is a limit on the time allotted to these beasts. There is a reassurance to those who refuse to worship the beast. Their names were recorded before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. Let this bring comfort to us who believe but warning to all who confuse God’s patience with any kind of weakness.

[1] The Reformation Study Bible, introductory notes to Nahum, p. 1587

Who else?

Today’s reading: Micah 7:8-Habakkuk 2:1

My selection: Micah 7:18-20

18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities under foot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

My reflections: I echo Micah’s cry, “who is a God like You?” This God is holy so He would be completely just to bring to judgment all mankind for its sin. But He has a remnant to whom He shows forgiveness. He does not remain angry because He delights to show steadfast love. He is the one who will take our sins from us and cast them into the depths of the sea.

When men conceive of god they tend to think either of a god who has failures and sin much like their own and so cannot rightly judge man, or one who is morally perfect but wrathful and unrelenting in judgment. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is neither of these. He is holy but also compassionate. He judges justly but shows forgiveness to those who turn to Him in faith and repentance. This is not a god conceived by man but rather One who reveals Himself to man through His Son, born in the obscure town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

My challenge: Praise God for His infinite wisdom in saving the believing remnant of His people. Praise God for His compassion, for casting your sins into the depths of the sea because of His steadfast love. Who else? No one else. There is no god like Him!

Tomorrow’s reading: Habakkuk 2:2-Zephaniah 3:20

Thy Kingdom Come

Today’s reading: Micah 1:1-7:7

My selection: Micah 4:1-2

It shall come to pass in the latter days

that the mountain of the house of the Lord

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and it shall be lifted up above the hills;

and peoples shall flow to it,

2 and many nations shall come, and say:

“ Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

My reflections: Once again we see the worldwide scope of God’s covenant with Israel. Although the times of Micah are bleak, a better day is coming, a day in which many nations will be drawn to worship the true God in sincerity. They will come to Jerusalem seeking to know the Lord’s ways so that they may walk in them.

Some of us who love the Lord and believe the Bible will disagree as to when this will take place, whether in a literal millennial kingdom or in a figurative sense in the present age but we will not disagree that this is a glorious description of the victory of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

My challenge: Whatever is going on in the world today, God rules and will ultimately be vindicated in His truth. God will have a people of His own from every tribe, tongue, and nation, a people zealous for good works. Do not despair as you await that moment of revelation. That glory to come far outweighs this present momentary affliction. Meanwhile, keep praying “Thy kingdom come.”

Tomorrow’s reading: Micah 7:8-Habakkuk 2:1