What does God want? Digging into Nahum 004

Nahum 1:1 “An oracle (burden) concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.”

When God’s word delivers us a stern warning, calling it the way God sees it is a burden. We are not to ignore it. We are also not to deliver it with glee that those who hate God are going to be destroyed. They are going to be destroyed. It is the right thing to do. It will truly be a time of celebration when the God-haters are given justice. But until then let us carry this burden of impending doom as though we would rather our audience chose to look to Christ and live. Attitude, folks. Attitude.

God is patient. His patience is to our benefit. It gives more time for more people to repent. His patience is a precious gift, cherish it. Use every minute he gives to bring him glory by telling the good news of grace and endeavoring to grow in Christ likeness ourselves. 

Have you ever wondered, “OK, I’m saved. But what does God want for my life?”

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2a“…finally brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are already doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instruction we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, (did you get that? ) For this is the will of God, your sanctification!”

How did I get from Nahum and Nineveh to sanctification? Sanctification is a continual process of learning to imitate Christ more and more. As humans we tend to imitate Christ less and less. If we do not actually pursue godliness personally we will by default slide further and further into godlessness. Just like the people of Nineveh. Jonah 3:10 “when God saw what they (the people of Nineveh and Jonah’s day) did, how they turn from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did it not.”

When we come to Nahum we see the same city but different people. These people had not maintained the pursuit of godliness. These people were once again so bad that God was once again ready to bring judgment and destruction. The repentance of the previous Ninevites did not save their children and grandchildren. If I do not pursue increasing godliness in my life I will slip into apathy and sin. And my children will mimic what they see, not what they hear from a hypocrite.

I am also not saved or condemned by the actions of my parents or those around me, but by my own attitude and actions towards God. 

What sets your teeth on edge?

There was an old saying among ancient Hebrews, “the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both mention this saying that means something like, “I’m not responsible for my situation or my habits or my choices in life. I am a victim of circumstance. I’m a victim of my parents choices. It’s society’s fault. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. It’s not fair!”

God goes on to set this fallacy straight. Ezekiel 18:3-4, “as I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no longer be used by you! Behold, all souls are mine (individually.) The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine! The soul who sins shall die.” Jeremiah 31:30 says “but everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who “eats sour grapes”, histeeth shall be set on edge!”

Nineveh of Nahum’s time was not being judged for anyone’s sins but their own. They also did not get a pass because of some godly heritage of their ancestors. Neither will we be judged for the sins of others or spared by the godliness of others. 

Except of course that our salvation is the result of our sins being put on Christ, and his righteousness being put on us. But that is God’s choice. It is also the only exception. Nations don’t get that exchange. Unrepentant people don’t get that exchange. Nahum was warning Nineveh that they would not get any such exchange. They failed to pursue righteousness as a society and slid into depravity. That’s what we humans do. 

Be warned. 

Be diligent. 

Be thankful for God’s grace and don’t squander that grace…

like Nlneveh did.

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