Accountability, Accused, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin, Surrender

HOPELESS

NAHUM 2:1

“The one who scatters has come up against you. Keep watch over the fortress, watch the road; bind up your waist, summon all your strength.

When you come up against a force that is greater than you, all your defenses are worthless. I played high school football many years ago. I remember vividly playing against a high school from Alabama that was far superior to our small, rural high school. We were overmatched from the start and despite our great efforts, we were trounced.

Nahum turns his attention fully now to Nineveh and its pending destruction. He almost jokingly tells how they can watch the road and bind up their waist. They can summon all their strength, but nothing will prevent God’s judgment falling upon them. They will not be able to resist His power.

APPLICATION

We read this prophecy against Nineveh and point our fingers at them. We think how could they even hope to defend themselves against God. But we do the same. We fight against God daily defending our own actions that we know are not what God desires. But because we think we have the right; we just do it.

There is nothing that gives us the right to do as we want. We are free in Christ to do as we should. That is a big difference. We are just like Nineveh in so many ways. We put up our defenses. These are useless against a holy God. The best thing we can do is surrender and agree with God about our sins.

Confession is just that – saying the same thing about our sin as God is saying. We agree with Him. The problem today in our society is nothing is sin. Sin is an outdated word. To say someone is sinful is being intolerant. God’s standards have not changed. Neither has the way He deals with sin. Confess your sins today and feel His mercy and grace.

Forgive me, Lord. I have sinned against You and Your principles.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Bible, Brokenness, Sin, Submission, Surrender

CRUSHED BY THEMSELVES

NAHUM 1:10

“Like tangled thorns, and like those who are drunken with their drink, they are consumed like stubble completely dried up.”

Some people are self-destructive. They continue to do things that put themselves in bad situations. No one needs to crush them. They do it to themselves – over and over again. No amount of advice helps. They are determined to “fix themselves,” even though they have no idea how to do that.

Nahum is talking to individuals just like that in Nineveh. In fact, history tells us that Nineveh had become so proud and arrogant, they thought no one could defeat them. In the midst of their drunkenness and debauchery, their enemies pounced. They never saw it coming. Pride was their downfall.

APPLICATION

What is your downfall? What is blinding you to your sins against a holy God? We put blinders on sometimes and do not see what is around us. We think we are doing just fine, and we are in the minefield. One wrong step and boom! Then we turn to God and ask what happened.

All along, God is trying to get our attention. He is trying to lead us in the right direction, but we will have no part of it. We know what is best. Take a minute and read John 15. You will be reminded that nothing is possible unless you are abiding in that life-giving vine.

I choose to allow Him to take my hand and lead me. I have stepped on enough mines in my lifetime. I want to walk safely and peacefully from now on. How about you? Are you tired of being crushed down and defeated by your own poor choices? Turn to Him. He will take you by the hand too.

Take my hand, dear Lord, and lead me. I want to go only where You lead.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Destruction, Judgment, Majesty, Power, Scripture

THE EARTH SPLITS

NAHUM 1:5

“Mountains quake because of Him, and the hills come apart; indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it.”

I have never experienced an earthquake. Where I live, they are not common. I have friends who live on the west coast of America, and they have experienced them. They describe their houses shaking and moving. Some have shared pictures of breaks in the ground. They have not seen mountains quake, but they believe they could.

As Nahum uses this imagery to describe the mighty hand of God, this exhibition of raw power is just the fingertip of God. In fact, since God spoke all of the earth into creation, He could just as easily speak it into extinction. The Ninevites have stirred the wrath of God, and even their physical environment will suffer.

APPLICATION

Just how powerful do you think God is? Well, that’s a stupid question, Carl. I know God is all-powerful. We say that and may even believe it. So, why are we so surprised when He does those things that only He could do, things for which there is no other explanation?

I have said it before – our western minds try to eliminate the supernatural in favor of the natural. We like to try to explain it. We want to put everything into nice, neat, little boxes. Sometimes, however, God just shows up and acts in such a way that only his majestic power can explain.

May I encourage you to not too hastily disregard these acts of wonder. Let them sink in a minute. Perhaps you are witnessing a God act. Maybe He has privileged you to be a part of it. Just don’t throw out the supernatural explanation before you have prayed about it. I am hoping to see more and more of these events in my lifetime as God chooses to show us these end-times we are in.

Open my eyes that I may see, Lord. Let me see the works of Your hands everywhere.

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Accountability, Accused, Belief, Bible, Forgiveness, Justice, Love, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Wrath

SHOT ACROSS THE BOW 

NAHUM 1:2 

“A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.” 

I love an old warship movie. Watching two goliaths battle it out on the open sea is incredible. Some of the battles the French and English had were historic. They would come up broadside to each other and let the canons roar. One or both ships were probably going down. One may limp away but would be seriously damaged. There were no warning shots across the bow. 

Nahum lets loose with all the canons. God is jealous and avenging. He is avenging and wrathful. He takes vengeance on His enemies. He gives wrath to His enemies. Wow! There was no doubt that Nineveh was in trouble this time. No more Mr. Nice Guy. They had their chance and blew it. 

APPLICATION 

Aren’t you glad our God and Father does not treat us that way? I would be a “dead duck.” No! Our God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He cares for the wounded and bleeding. He reaches down and brings us up through the healing power of the blood. 

Don’t get me wrong. If you are not a believer, God is wrathful. He will hold you accountable for your sins. But He has given a warning shot across the bow of your life. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for you. He is offering you a way of escape from the wrath to come for all unbelievers. 

I am so thankful God gave me that warning shot. I am thankful He pulled me into His family and made me whole. I am so, so thankful for His Word which guides me daily. I do not have to worry about God’s wrath. I have His peace. Do you? 

Father, I know You demand justice. But Hallelujah! You rescued me that day and gave me a new lease on life. 

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Accused, Bible, Commitment, Glory, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture

EAT DIRT 

MICAH 7:17 

“They will lick up dust like a snake, like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; to the LORD our God they will come in trepidation, and they will be afraid of You.” 

During my childhood I had my share of neighborhood scuffles. We were all friends, but occasionally someone would get his feelings hurt and a tussle would start. One phrase we used if we got the upper hand and had someone on the ground was “Eat Dirt.” In other words, I have conquered you. 

The enemies of Israel are described as a snake licking up dirt. Have you ever watched a snake slither on the ground with their tongue going in and out? That’s the picture. They were defeated. All they could do was stay low and try to escape the wrath of God. 

APPLICATION 

I do not like to eat dirt. I prefer to walk proudly and high. I am not saying I want to be cocky and try to be above others. No! I am saying I want to be on the side of the Lord and wear His banner. He says He will exalt the humble. That is what I want to do. 

But there are others among us who really like to try and walk tall and arrogantly. They may do that all their life. But there will come a day when they will be humbled before the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will cause them to lick dust like a snake. They will be put down. 

How do you avoid this? Surrender to Jesus. Lay it all at His feet. Become a soldier in His army. Let Him raise you up. While we are serving Him, our eyes should remain on Him. That will keep us in our place. He is on His throne. We are not. Enter His courts with praise! Come before Him humbly singing His praise. 

Father, thank You for lifting me up. I am not worthy, but You count me worthy. 

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Lying, Righteousness, Scripture, Trust, Truth

DECEITFUL TONGUE

MICAH 6:12

“‘For the rich people of the city are full of violence, her residents speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.’”

Have you ever heard the expression, “If his lips are moving, he is lying”? I have known a few people like that. Most of the time, they are lying about things that do not matter at all. They just make up stuff to make themselves appear smarter than they are or more important than they are. They just have to appear above others.

The Lord here speaks against such people. He clumps them with violent rich people. Lying and the desire for riches seem to go hand in hand. The Lord is not saying having riches make you violent or deceitful. He is saying it can make you more prone to it.

APPLICATION

I can recall telling my children to just tell me the truth if they had done something wrong. I did not want them getting into the habit of lying to cover up something. I had rather know the truth and deal with that. But if they lied about it, they would be in more trouble with me.

In order to know how to not lie, we have to know the truth. Jesus told us that in John 8:32. “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Let me tell you something. I had much rather be free than in prison. Hadn’t you? Lies will bind you. Lies will imprison you. You will be trapped by lie upon lie upon lie.

Watch your tongue. James warns us in James 3:6, “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” You can’t get much clearer than that.

Will You tame my tongue, O Lord? I want it to speak truth to all.

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Abuse, Accused, Advocate, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Devil, Distress, Encouragement, Enemies, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 

MICAH 5:9 

“Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, and all your enemies will be eliminated.” 

The title today is a saying I have heard all my life. Do you recognize it? Picture a tight squeeze that will not let up. You feel pressed from all sides. There is no relief. You do not know how much longer you can go on. Your body is crying out for the pressure to ease up. 

That is the word used here today for “adversaries.” In the Hebrew it means a tight squeeze. In other words, that is the feeling you get when you face adversaries. Of course, Micah tells the people here that their hands will be raised up against those adversaries and they will eliminate or destroy them. Whew! Relief! 

APPLICATION 

I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:8. “Be of sober spirit, keep on the alert, for your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” This adversary is relentless. He never gives up. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. He wants to destroy us. 

I was sharing with a dear brother recently that very fact. He was very aware of it and had been feeling the teeth of this ravaging spirit. Our defense? The Word of God, just like Jesus. We must answer the devil charge after charge with the Word. It is our Sword of the Spirit. 

Most days I am successful at warding off this adversary. I am prayed up and read up. But there are other days when I let my guard down for just a milli-second. In He swoops with fangs exposed going for my jugular. That Is why we all must be of sober spirit and on the alert. We do have victory over our adversaries when we are clinging to Jesus. 

O God, my Savior, I cling to You. I know only through You can I walk in victory each day. 

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Confession, Destruction, God's Will, Guilt, Integrity, Judgment, Modeling, Rebuke, Scripture

IT IS YOUR FAULT 

MICAH 3:12 

“Therefore, on account of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.” 

No one likes to be accused of something, especially if you are innocent. But what if you are guilty? You know you did it. You deserve the blame. Perhaps you have gotten “away with it” for a while, maybe even years. But now it is out. Your sin has been discovered and has cost others. 

This is exactly where the leaders of Israel and Judah find themselves. Their guilt has been exposed. God knew all the time but is just now bringing forth the charges. The judgment is falling. It cost not only them but the entire nation because the people had followed them right into destruction. 

APPLICATION 

I see two lessons here for us today. One, be careful who you follow. Too many of us are tunnel-visioned. As long as the church looks good on the outside and has all the latest and greatest programs and technology, we think they are on top of it. After all, can’t we trust someone in ministry? Just check your paper or internet stories, and you will find that not to be true. 

Secondly, we must have someone in our lives who can and will hold us accountable. When no one is watching over us, we can resort to all kinds of fleshly decisions. We make our decisions on what “feels” right instead of what God says. Oh, the danger in that. 

I am so glad I am part of a few accountability groups. I meet weekly with two groups and another once per month. I help lead a group of men through our Every Man A Warrior study which demands accountability. If you are not aware of this study, check it out at www.everymanawarrior.com. There is no better way to get a man to go deep with God and be a responsible disciple maker.  

Lord, I am so thankful for the men You have put in my life who will hold me accountable. 

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cleansing, Confrontation, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Evangelism, Gospel, Integrity, Leading, Scripture, Witnessing

DISHONEST GAIN

MICAH 3:10

“Who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.”

In one of my earliest ministry experiences, I worked with a person who was in leadership on the campus where I served. That person would take gifts meant for the children we served and take them home for their grandchildren. They would also take pool chemicals purchased for the campus to use in their own pool a home. Dishonest gain!

Micah continues his prophecies against the leaders of Israel and Judah. They had made their way to the top by stepping all over the “little people.” The poor and less fortunate were used by these leaders so they could gain more wealth and prestige. It did not matter who they hurt to get ahead.

APPLICATION

There is nothing much worse than someone who will take advantage or steal from the poor. They must not have a conscience. Wickedness pours out of them. They do not care who they use, as long as they get what they want. We believers should be able to spot those individuals a mile off.

So, how do we deal with people like that? Just like Jesus. What did He do? He loved them (He even died for them), but He did not join in with them. He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees often. Many of these got their positions by these very means – using others. Jesus knew that. He confronted them of their sins. But He still loved them.

Loving someone like that is hard, but we are called to do just that. How else will they hear and see the Gospel. They may spurn your words. They may even threaten you. That is okay. You have planted the seed which can grow later. It is our calling to spread the good news to everyone. Will you do that today? Who knows that person just might repent and come to Christ because of a word you shared?

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me of my selfishness. Give me a love for the unlovable so they can hear Your message of forgiveness.

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Accountability, Accused, Advocate, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, God's Will, Holiness, Idols, Judgment, Listening, Repentance, Scripture

NO ANSWER

MICAH 3:7

“The seers will be put to shame, and the diviners will be ashamed. Indeed, they will all cover their lips because there is no answer from God.”

You may not remember the days when you called someone on their phone and did not get an answer. This was the days before voicemail or answering machines. You could not leave a message. You just had to keep calling back until you reached them. I wish sometimes that was still the case. Lol

The false prophets (called seers and diviners here) could not hear God speak to them. Why? Because they were not seeking Him. They were living lives that were displeasing to God, so He had shut His mouth. He was not delivering any messages to them. They cried out only because He was delivering His judgment. How sad that they could not have surrendered to His Will, which would have opened up that line of communication again.

APPLICATION

Oh, brothers and sisters, before we cast too many stones at these false prophets, don’t we do the same? We live our lives as we wish and then when we get into trouble and call on God, He is quiet. We get perturbed with Him because He did not answer us. How dare He?

Well…God demands holiness from us. That’s right. He expects us to live according to His laws and commands. He does not expect perfection, but He does want us to strive to be more like Him and less like the world. If we want God to speak, we must stop, repent and listen.

This week there has been a verse on my mind a lot. Psalm 84:11 says, “The Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Did you get that? No good thing does He withhold. But there is a condition – from those who walk uprightly. So, my question to you is – are you walking uprightly today?

O Lord, I do not want to be like one of those false prophets who could not hear Your voice. Speak to me Lord!

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