Church, if you would turn with me to the book of Nahum May fume. Met him however, you want to say it turn there.
We're continuing our series looking at the prophets and we're looking at today a prophet who has a message for a place that should be familiar to us. But that's different from most of the other prophets most of the prophets. We're addressing God's people in Israel or Judah the two prophets stand out a Jonah was a prophet. He was some of you just started thing in the Veggie Tales song in your head. Admit, it's Jonah was a prophet and he was sent to Nineveh. I just was probably sometime in the mid-eighteenth century BC. So like 7:50 BC there about sometime between 786 and 7:20 something. My memory is failing me here, but sometime between there to preach. I've got them pending judgments and in the Book of Jonah we get this picture of God's love and God's mercy. Nahum also is preaching to Nineveh but his message is much different. He's preaching sometime between 663 and 6:15 AD 500 years later. Let's say a hundred years after Jonah but his message is much different in this week. If you have an opportunity to either watch the summary video that we post on our Facebook group. If you had a chance to read through the book of Nahum, you saw a much different tone than we saw in June of it. Really Jonah is kind of just the first part of the story of Nineveh and provides kind of as Paul Harvey would say the rest of the story. Well, that's not exactly how he would say it but I can't match exactly how Paul Harvey would have said that but Nathan has the rest of the story and then enjoy that you see God love demonstrated. To this people in Nineveh in In Jonah. You see the prophet mad at God for the mercy that he would show to these people who clearly didn't deserve. And then they hung if you read it this week Bryant one of our other pastors came to me before this before we started today and any said man, I was reading that book this week and wow, that's rough. That's not a complete quote Brian, but I'm paraphrasing a little bit. Write this is this is this is difficult. It is almost so much wrap the thing that Jonah wanted for Nineveh that God wouldn't give it's almost so attracted at the end of May and we're kind of left begging for mercy, right? Like how depressing can this get because Nahum chapter 2 and chapter 3 like this brutal play-by-play of exactly how God is going to destroy Nineveh. There's only a hundred years. Between Jonah and God's mercy and God's love and Mayhem and God's judgement in his Wrath. What happened? Did God change in the intervening hundred years?
No. Nineveh changed in the intervening hundred years Nineveh changed when Jonah went and said you were going to be destroyed they repented but that repentance did not last God doesn't change and we need to remember the God who we saw and Jonah it look at on the screen here. You don't have to turn there but Jonah chapter 4 verse 2. This is what Jonah says of God. I know that you are a gracious God and merciful slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love unrelenting from disaster.
But we need to understand today that that's not all that got is we need to understand that there's not a change and when we read in Nahum who God is and what he's going to do. We need understand it's not God who changed his Nineveh changed God is gracious and merciful. He's abounding in steadfast love relent from disaster. But God is also just and righteous Nineveh forgot that they went back to their bloodthirsty ways. They went back to their Rebellion against God.
And God says I have to judge you and he brings this message through nahahum. No lest we forget and think that because we live so many years hence that there's nothing for us here. We need to remember how tempting it is. For us to forgets who got is we need to think about how tempting it is for us to really really like the god of Jonah chapter 4 verse 2. Is really really tempting to just focus on that and be like we like this God whose gracious and loving right? We want to God that we can put on our backs. You guys have been wondering about the pack back admit it admit it. We want to God we can kind of put on our backs carry around with us and enjoy a god whose soft and fluffy a guy whose cuddly and makes us feel good. So this morning before my kids woke up. I went down and got the kind of job that we want. We want a God who we can pull out when it's convenient for us. And say dear God make me feel better. Had a hard day. God love me. Right. We wants a teddy bear God.
God is not a teddy bear God and that's what my son's laughing. That's okay. You can laugh.
Is this yours? We want to teddy bear God who we can pull out when it's convenience and yet nahahum shows us a God who is not a teddy bear named some shows us a God more like this bear on the screen Maybe. You don't put that in a backpack.
You don't carry that around and we've had a hard day. Pull it out to give it a Quick Squeeze, right? And yet that's what we do with God. We walk through life and we imagine that God is going to meet our demands. God is going to be what we want him to be. We like the loving God. We like to cuddly God. We like the God who just is there for us and we've had a bad day. But we don't like the Gods. Who destroys sinful Nations walk in this way and not in this way? We don't want a God's who would make demands of us a God who we would have to respect a guy who we would have to submit to that's not the kind of God that we want. We want to God that the convenience and safe. But the God we serve the God who is the one who is called the great. I am the one who is eternally self-existent cannot be defined in whatever way we see fit. Cannot be whatever we imagine him to be he is what he is.
And he reveals that to us in Nahum chapter 2 and chapter 3. We see God's judgment. But before name describes the Judgment that's coming on in Nevada City. That's forgotten God that remembers the safe God they had but forgot the reason why that God demonstrated love was because they repented Be forgotten that God. He's been 2 chapters tell us what's going to happen to him before that. He reminds them of who God is. He reminds him of who God really is in so for those of us here today. Comfortable safe American Christians, we need to be reminded of the God who is and not forget the dangerous reality of his Holiness and his Justice. We also need to remember his love, right. This is been a consistent theme throughout the province God's love and God's justice. We see both Mayhem chapter 1. It's I want a we're going to spend their time in those in that chapter in particular. We're going to spend most of our time and just three verses as we look at the Lord. Who is we remind ourselves? What is the nature of this God that we serve? to join me and looking at Nahum chapter 1 verse 2 and on you can just leave this up on the screen until I save we're going to the next verse. Thank you. Nahum chapter 1 verse 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.
Is it sounds very cuddly doesn't? It doesn't sound very comfortable. As a matter of fact, that sounds like a god who is distinctly making me uncomfortable.
God is a jealous God. What does it mean for God to be jealous, right? You guys all heard right? You were growing up. You had you had Parents you didn't already had people that told you don't be jealous, right? You're standing there. You got second place at the field day. I guess this doesn't work anymore. Right? Nobody gets 2nd Place anymore. Everybody's first place, right? back in my day way back when walking uphill to school both ways, you know snow six feet deep inside we got third well, You tell the guy in second don't be jealous, right or you tell me who didn't finish on the podium. Like don't be jealous of those guys. That's not the jealousy that were told God has God's jealousy is not somebody who came in second place and wishes. They would have come in first place. That's not the jealousy that's being talked about her. The jealousy that is being pointed to hear is the jealousy of a husband's who is received a promise of faithfulness and Undying Love.
And yet has seen that promise broken. true adultery and infidelity that's is the jealousy that's being talked about The God Who Reigns who made everything who gave life to every single set of lungs in existence that God the god without whom Your Existence would be null and void a Jonathan Edwards says of God stops thinking about us for just one second. We would cease to exist that God.
Do we owe our gratitude to or life to who we owe this debt of love to it's the jealousy of a spurned husband the jealousy that burns righteously as a matter of fact if we saw a covenant marriage brought together and then we saw infidelity and we watched the spouse who has sinned against just shrug and be like, whatever. Who sings something's wrong there? It's a when we read that God is a jealous God we ought not to think negatively about him. We ought to say praise God that you are jealous praise God that you love us enough to care for the fact that we have gone. Astray praise you for the fact that you don't let us just live in this infidelity. But that you remind us of the Covenant we have with you. That kind of jealousy. It's not Petty. It's not minor. It's a jealous protection of a Covenant of Love, right? This jealousy is rooted in God's love God has not changed from Jonah chapter 4 verse 2 to Nahum chapter 1 verse 2. He hasn't changed in the intervening hundred years. He hasn't changed in the 2650 years since then.
He's never changed through all of history from the moment time came into being until the time when time stops wrap your head around that for a second. God will not change.
His love doesn't change but when we change when we rebelled against him when we spit in the face of the one who loves us. We ought to be relieved that his jealousy is seen that he would pursue us bring us back. Jealous for us Desiring that we would fulfill the Covenant Love. He's given to us. He's not just a jealous God. He's an avenging God. in avenging God
what is vengeance?
settling a score
Making things right and the entire there's an entire genre of popular entertainment that's focused on this right the old westerns. How many of you are Louis L'Amour fans I haven't read a lot of the new guys. So it's like Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey. That's kind of the extent of my knowledge in this genre. But when we look at that, we see so often this this kind of folk hero that celebrated this vigilante who goes and gets Vengeance, right? He takes care of the of the poor in the oppressed and he he comes to the aid of the landowners being squeezed out by the cattle rustlers or whatever obvious. I'm very familiar with the genre. Write this idea of vengeance is kind of celebrated in our culture and yet we don't let people do this in real life. Right, if somebody breaks into your house, right? The law would not look kindly on you going and breaking into theirs would it? Why?
Because if vengeance is going to be truly be setting right or wrong. It's going to require a complete and perfect knowledge of what actually happens. It's going to require and view of reality that you and I do not have and so we may think we're coming to the aid of righteousness. We may think that we're taking Vengeance in the proper way and yet because of our limitation we cannot and so we tend to look at God's they will gods and avenging God will how come it's okay for him to do it, but not okay for me to do it. Because God does have that perfect knowledge. God does know everything he knows what is right and what is wrong and he knows precisely where we've stepped Over The Line. And so when he looks at Nineveh, we looked at this nation of aetheria. He can say I will take Vengeance on you because of Syria. You have been a bloodthirsty Nation. You have trampled over people you have taken people from their homelands and deported them to use as slave. Labor Assyria. You are a bad apple. And I'm going to get Vengeance on behalf of those that you have wronged. We know that we're not supposed to take Vengeance in Romans. Paul tells us he quotes actually the Old Testament scripture. He says vengeance is mine. I will repay declares the Lord and what he says before that is interesting talking to the Christians in Rome. Paul says this he says leave their offences until the day of Wrath.
Don't worry about how people have wronged you don't fight for. rights Don't try to make things right on your own. You'll only mess it up because you lack the knowledge to perfectly avenge. What is wrong to set things right Vengeance Belongs to the Lord not to us.
That sounds great, Brinkley. When we think about how we've been wrong and we say Okay God's going to get him one day. And that's that's actually an interesting name of the name here may have been a person's name or it may have been the title of this book. Right and the prophet takes his name from his intent. Then we're name means comfort. He's met his comforting God's people by saying all of the wickedness of the Syria has poured out on you. I'm going to take Vengeance. I'm going to make that rights. But this morning I don't want us to just take comfort in the fact that those who wrong us will get there's one day.
Because we need to remember something really important. We have wronged other people.
We have cheated and defrauded others we have lied about other people. We slandered them. Right we taking what did not belong to us. Even if it was just our employers time.
Even if it's just a pencil.
We've taken what didn't belong to us. We spoken evil against our brothers and sisters. We prepare actuated conflict with others when it was within our capability to make it right.
And God says I'm an avenging God. I will make things right both when we're the wrong party and the wrong party. That's true. God will avenge both those who both our wrongs and the wrongs that we've perpetrated against others. We need to take this seriously. God is not safe. God is not tame. We don't keep him in our backpacks. We don't keep him in a box on the shelf and pull them down when we need him. He is who he is jealous of Vengeance. Look at the next thing he says he is raffle. wrathful
I don't know of any more terrifying three words ends. God is wrathful. Because God can literally do anything. God literally only had to speak and the universe burst into existence. Got it. Only there for has to speak didn't even have to speak and just think.
And our lives would end.
in a god with unlimited power
is wrathful but this is not again wrath like our Wrath. This is not just this in discriminant blind rage. How many of you have been ever been so mad you couldn't see straight? I have read that phrase one time in a book so mad you couldn't see straight and I'm like, I have no idea what they're talking about until I got so mad I couldn't see straight. And nothing entered into my mind except how mad I was?
And of all silly things I was on a soccer field. I got a red card for my trouble.
So mad I couldn't see s***. I couldn't hear what anybody was saying to me. All I wanted to do was carry out this anger that was burning inside of me this rap needed to express itself.
God's Wrath is not like that. God's Wrath is never because he's so angry. He can't see straight. There's never a time when God doesn't see straight when he doesn't know all things his Wrath. J i Packer, which j i Packer wrote a book called knowing god that I would commend to you. In that heat heat, is this a quote from that book? God's Wrath in the Bible is never the capricious self-indulgence irritable morally ignoble thing that human anger. So often is it is instead a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.
Is God looking at the mess that we have made of his creation? It is God looking at the mess that we make of our relationships with one another and saying that is wrong. And I will make it right. God's Wrath is not blinded is not purposeless. It is not as Packer said self-indulgence. It is not just irritable like God just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. It is very purposeful and it is in it is directed at evil. As it should be as we ought to want it to be. I would not want to live in the universe in which God was not wrathful because that would mean that evil triumphs and people get away with wrong. But because I don't want to live in that world. I have to accept the fact that I and subject to the wrath of God when I commit evil. I can't just want God to deal with the evil over there or the evil over there. I have to be okay with God dealing with evil rights here. God is jealous. God is avenging. God is wrathful now. Let's look at verse 3.
The Lord is slow to anger. And great in power and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. The Lord is slow to anger and it first we think it's turning a corner. Right. We're getting away from all of these things that we don't really like to hear about God. We're getting to something. That sounds like good news. What is good news that God is slow to anger? the bad news is that we're really slow to repent from the things that make him angry. The bad news is that we're incredibly stubborn and Incredibly submit a committed. To the things that make him angry and so the longer God's fuses. It seems like the longer our commitment is to doing the things that bring his This is good. God is patient. God is slow to anger. But God does gets angry you eventually reach the end of that short for that long fuse. My my parents I'm a redhead. I don't know if you noticed. Redheads have a certain reputation. I did my best to live up to that reputation as a young man. My parents would say Brandon you got a not have such a short fuse don't have such a short fuse God's got a long fuse.
But the barrel of dynamite the big one and that's the next thing name says, he says he's got a long fuse he's slow to anger. But he's great in power.
Great in power long fuse diggle barrel of dynamite at the other end of it. So God is patient with us. But if we keep pushing him. He will Express his righteous indignation against are sinning against our Rebellion. Slow to anger great and Power in the den the indictments. He will by no means clear the guilty. Do you understand what that means? It means that this God who is jealous. Will not just let us skate by because it was only one time. The only one active infidelity. The God Who is avenging cannot let even the slightest wrong go unpunished. If there is guilt he will by no means clear it. God is not a judge. Who sits on his bench and says yes, you very clearly did rob that bank. Yes, you very clearly did Kill the security guard and the bank manager and the policeman is you made your getaway, but I'm feeling good today. So just peace out homie.
God is not like that. because of his Justice because of his righteousness if there is guilt it will be punished. He will by no means clear the guilty. At this point Nineveh is supposed to be quaking.
At this point Nineveh should be repenting again.
But we know from history that at this point they don't. They keep right on their course. They forgets that God had relented before they forget his mercy and so they earn his wrath. He does not clear the guilty and they are destroyed. They are overthrown. by another Nation the king is killed their armies are disbursed. Their people are made captive.
God will by no means clear the guilty. punishment for sin Must Fall and we'll fall. When we look at this we are meant to start quaking. We are meant to start looking at our own hearts and saying God. Okay, maybe I didn't rob a bank.
But I know that I've coveted the wealth that some of my friends have. Okay, God maybe I haven't killed anybody, but I know I've been angry with people before I know I've wanted people to die.
God maybe maybe I'm the guilty.
Maybe you're jealous avenging wrath anger great power. He's going to fall on me.
Yes. Yes, it will.
Yes, God's judgement will fall on you. No one is exempt. From who got is why because God doesn't change. In the Bible is clear when we die. We will face judgment.
When we die, we will face judgment and so many of us. So many of us just look at our lives and we just imagine like it's not going to end. We're surprised. at death We ought not to be surprised. You know, the mortality rate for the human race is 100%
but not 99.9. It is 100% There will come a day when you die. And the Bible says you will stand before the judgement seat of a jealous avenging wrathful. Great God.
What are you going to say? What are you going to say about that time? You punched that kid in second grade? for no reason
what are you going to say about the taxes you cheated on? What are you going to say about that lie, you told to keep yourself out of trouble because I got that other guy fired. What are you going to say about The Grudge you held? Against your fellow church member. What are you going to say to God on that day of judgement if he is not one who clears the guilty
If the story ends there. Then there's no hope for any of us. If the story stops with our sin and God's righteousness. Then that's it. You better live it up while you can. Cuz when you stop breathing things go downhill quick. But that's not where the story ends because God hasn't changed. He is a gracious God. He is a loving God and so while he cannot because of his Justice excuse sin.
He can judge it in a way that enables us. To live in spite of our sin and he does that because he is good looking for 7. Chapter 1 in the midst of this in the midst of just this beat down. Who got is in the Judgment that's coming we get this hope in verse 7. The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows those who take refuge in him. Yes. He's jealous. Yes, he's avenging. Yes. He's wrathful. Yes. He's great in power. Yes. He gets angry. Yes, he will judge sin, but he is good and he will provide a refuge for those who take refuge in. This is one of my favorite quotes ever. CS Lewis When is Chronicles of Narnia series one of the characters is asking about God? City, is he safe? No, he's not safe. But he's good. Christian this morning to God you worship is not safe. You cannot send with impunity. You cannot continue to thumb your nose at his Holiness and expect that everything is okay, but you can take courage in the fact that God is good and he has provided a stronghold for those who would take refuge in him a place a Shelter From The Storm of his wrath that will undoubtedly come a place where judgment does not fall because it already fell somewhere else. What is the name of that strongholds? What is the name of that stronghold?
one more time amen
But after this unrelenting Crush of the Holiness of God in the awareness of the fact that we are sinners. Jesus should be our cry. Jesus should be the one that we say Lord. Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for pouring your wrath out on Jesus and not on me. Thank you for providing this way. Whereby me unrighteous unworthy. Unholy sinful me can be forgiven of my sin. It's not that God doesn't judge it. It's just that he gives that judgment to Christ instead of to us. Is he safe? No, is he good? Yes. Does he love Sinners? Yes, Daddy punish sin. Yes. You can't fit God in a box, but you can take refuge in Christ. And not receive what your sin demands this is hard for my mind to understand. This is hard for me to wrap my head around and yet, said this is what I'm going to do. Anyways, I don't care if you understand it Brandon. Watch me forgive Sinners watch me. Be both just and the justifier of those who do not deserve it. Watch me not clear guilt. The watch me forgive sin at the cross when Jesus body is broken instead of yours when Jesus breath is stopped instead of yours. When Jesus side is pierced instead of yours when Jesus blood runs instead of yours watch me. forgive you Even as I take your sin serious God is good.
That hasn't changed. Amen, that hasn't changed. God was good in warning Nineveh through Jonah. God was good in announcing judgment through nahahum. God was good and sending Jesus to be born. God is good. On that Hill as Jesus dies. God is good as we see Jesus rise. God is good. When we taste it and see it and know it by submitting to him, but let me warn you sitting here.
God is good. but you have a decision to make are you going to continue in sin or are you going to submit to him and say through Christ save me? The Bible says that everyone who confesses with their mouth Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead will be safe safe from what from the wrath of God.
What do we need saving from?
Not just our stupidity. Although heaven knows that part of it. We need saving from the wrath of God from the fact that God will not clear the guilty. We have till we need safe from and he says you'll be saved if you confess Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. I don't care how long you've been sitting in a church. I don't care how long you've attended Red Hills. I don't care if this is your first Sunday or your 500 Sunday. Sitting in church will not save you from the wrath of God.
Doing good works will not save you from the wrath of God. Jesus Will and you have a decision to make do you confess him as Lord this morning? However long you been sitting here confess Jesus as Lord believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved because God is good a stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows those who take refuge in him. Would you pray with me?