Tuesday, May 19, 2009
In a little known book toward the end of the Old Testament, Nahum speaks directly to the capital city of Assyria, Nineveh. This is the same city where Jonah was sent to preach.
Interesting, isn't it, that the Assyrians aren't part of God's chosen people?
In fact, they are the ENEMIES of his people.
Yet, in the book of Jonah, God cares so much about their condition that he sends a prophet to speak to them. And he gives the Assyrians the grace (power) to repent. The Assyrians call a fast, and beg God's forgiveness.
And now, in the book of Nahum, God tries again. Time has passed. The Assyrians have fallen away from their commitment.
Again, God speaks.
If we learn nothing else from this tiny little book, we should learn that God CARES DEEPLY about those who hurt us. God seeks relationship with those whom we might label "enemies."
Who has hurt you lately?
And how do you think God feels about their soul?
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Last night, I prayed as I started the book of Jonah. "Let me see something new here Lord."
And I did.
In the first chapter, our friend Jonah heads the other direction. He avoids God's command. And he gets in a boat heading AWAY from the very people he is sent to reach.
And in the boat are a bunch of heathen men, guys who have no clue about the God of Israel.
For them, the story begins with a storm. A real corker. And they are terrified. And they ask Jonah, "Who are you, where are you from, what is your nation?"
So, Jonah explains it all. And in the midst of this horrible experience they hear about God. They ask Jonah what to do. He tells the truth. Throw me in, he says.
And they do. And the storm is over. They are safe.
And scripture says that they "were awestruck by the Lord's great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him."
So. A believer fails. He runs. He messes up. And God goes after him.
And in the midst of his failure, God shows himself mighty, and some heathen sailors come to know the God of the universe.
A diamond in the midst of a tornado, I think, that God would use one man's stubborn disobedience to reach the unreached. Certainly not enough reason to disobey. No. But hope for those moments when you do.
Pretty amazing, yes?