Accountability, Battles, Bible, Choices, Evil, Purity, Sacrifice, Scripture

WHAT A DISGRACE

HABAKKUK 2:16

“‘You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor. Drink, you yourself, and expose your own foreskin! The cup in the LORD’S right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory.’”

Too many men have fallen into disgrace in the recent years through moral indiscretions, bad choices and just plain being dumb. My first thought when I hear these stories is where were the godly men in their lives holding them accountable. Where were their friends?

God continues in verse 16 with this most recent woe. Here He is warning the Chaldeans of their own self-imposed disgrace. Their shame knew no low. Drunkenness, nudity and immoral behaviors ran deep in their lifestyles. They did not recognize the holiness of God or care that He had warned them of justice.

APPLICATION

Before you start pointing fingers at them, take a look at yourself. You may not live a disgraceful, public life, but how about your private thoughts? How about that secret sin you have hidden away (or so you think)? As believers, we are to live holy lives (check out 2 Peter 3:14). Our actions are to be above reproach.

I know you are probably thinking that your “little sin” isn’t hurting anyone. It’s all yours. It’s not anyone’s business. But our sins do not live in isolation. Sooner or later all those sins affect those closest to you. That secret porn addiction is harming your relationship with your spouse. That second or third glance at someone plants ideas in your mind that will come back to haunt you.

Christ has the answer. Amputation! Don’t get alarmed. I am not talking about any bodily maiming. But I am meaning that you have to take drastic action to rid yourself of these enticements. He has given you the power to do it through His Holy Spirit. Lean into Him. He is there. Listen to Him and obey.

Purify my mind today, O Lord. Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

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Abiding, Accountability, Battles, Bible, Commands, Courage, Defense, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Scripture

MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS

NAHUM 3:14

“Draw for yourself water for a siege! Strengthen your fortifications! Go into the clay and tread the mortar! Take hold of the brick mold!

I love to watch old war movies. I especially love the battle scenes. I can just hear the ship captain commanding his sailors to man their battle stations. They would all scurry off to whatever position they had been assigned and trained to operate. They were responsible for their area and to back up others around them.

Nahum is sarcastically telling the Ninevites to “man their battle stations.” They were to: 1) get water and supplies to last during the siege 2) strengthen the city walls 3) prepare mortar 4) apply that mortar. You see, Nineveh was used to being the one who did the siege on others. Their walls were not built to withstand a siege. They, in fact, were under siege by their enemies for two years.

APPLICATION

Let me remind you that we are under siege. Yes, every day the enemy is banging on our “walls” and “gates” trying to defeat us. Rest assured; the captain is aware. He tells us to be ready. Put on our armor. Prepare for battle. Strengthen your fortifications through His Word and prayer. Suit up and fight.

That may all sound ominous. Don’t let it scare you. You see, we have a secret weapon – Jesus Christ, our Advocate. He is the one who fights for us. We just must surrender to His lordship over our lives. Just as sailors must obey the orders of their captain, we must obey our Lord. His Word directs us in every order He has for us.

I have made the decision to follow Jesus, no matter what. How about you? Are you a fair-weather follower or will you follow Jesus to very gates of hell, if necessary? He is looking for those kinds of followers. Let’s man our battle stations, friends.

I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.

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Battles, Bible, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Fire, Protection, Satan, Scripture

BOLT THE DOOR

NAHUM 3:13

“Behold, your people are women in your midst! The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies; fire consumes your gate bars.”

I grew up in an era when we did not worry too much about locked doors. The 60s and early 70’s did not warrant it. I cannot even recall if my grandma’s house had a bolt on it. I am sure the doors were locked at times, but it was not a huge concern. I lived in a small town with little crime.

Nahum tells Nineveh that their gate bars will be burned. This was a common practice in those days. The enemy would build a fire on the outside of the gate which would ignite the sun-dried wooden gate. This would burn the wooden bar on the inside or after burning for a while the iron or brass bar would simply fall off. The city was now wide open for invasion.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you something. What is barring your gate against the enemy? We cannot depend on any man-made protection against the enemy. He will set fire to your self-constructed methods. They will burst into flames. You will then be vulnerable to his attacks.

The Word of God is the only “bar” that can keep those gates shut. So many men have opened the gate to pornography, which will burn your house down. But with the Word of God as your  “bar” of protection, you can defend yourself. Better yet – the Word defends you. You have the ability to quench those flames that are set against you.

I try to keep my gates shut tight with His Word. My daily Quiet Times are key to that. Spending time with the Lord is my fortification. The water of the Word is my fire brigade. All I have to do is recall those Scriptures that pertain to the fire. That means you have to spend time in the Word. Are you? Is the Word your “bar”?

I know my gates are barred with Your Word, Lord. Help me show others how to bar their own gates, too.

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Faithfulness, Scripture, Trust

UNSHAKEABLE

NAHUM 3:12

All your fortifications are fig trees with ripe fruit—when shaken, they fall into the eater’s mouth.”

When I read this verse, my mind flashed back to an old Sandy Patty song, “Unshakeable Kingdom.” In case you don’t know that song, here is the link to see the video:

The chorus ends with this:

The kingdom of God
A kingdom that will never end
The living unshakeable kingdom of God, of God!

Nahum, of course, was prophesying just the opposite of the enemies of God. They were shakeable. They were vulnerable. They could be destroyed. God proved that by wiping them out. But thanks be to God, since we are in His kingdom, we are not.

APPLICATION

Maybe you have been shaken. Perhaps you have faced obstacles and challenges that have rocked you to your core. This life is hard sometimes, I know. We have all faced things that test our faith. I want to reassure you that God is not shaken by those things.

Whatever you are dealing with, God is bigger. There is nothing that He cannot deal with if you will let Him. He will lift you out of the miry clay and set you on solid ground. He will pick you up, dust you off and put you back on the path He has chosen for you.

Is it easy? No! Is it worth it to trust? You had better believe it. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it is. I have had my tests. I have not been faithful in some of them. I have failed some tests. What does God do? He allows me to try it again – til I get it right. That is really a privilege. That may sound crazy, but with each test I learn to trust Him more. So can you!

Father, I trust You. I want to prove my faithfulness to You. I am yours.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Captivity, Defeat, Enemies, Protection, Scripture, Victors

CAPTIVITY 

NAHUM 3:10 

“Yet she became an exile, she went into captivity; also her small children were smashed to pieces at the head of every street; they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound with shackles.” 

In this study of Nahum, there has been a lot of talk about captivity. That got me thinking about what holds me captive. What do I allow in my life that holds me captive emotionally, spiritually or even relationally? I bet you have the same captors in your life. 

Nahum is continuing to address the Ninevites in his prophetic statements. He is painting a picture of the horrors of human captivity – children killed and adults led away as slaves in chains. Both their present and future were taken. How defeating.  

APPLICATION 

As horrible as that sounds in today’s verse (and it is horrible), we willingly or naively put ourselves in similar chains. We stay in relationships that we know are not good for us spiritually. We continue in behaviors that will only lead to trouble down the road. We even sit under teaching that floods our minds with ideas that run contrary to God’s Word. 

Paul warned the Colossians of this in chapter 2 of his letter to them. Colossians 2:8 reads, “See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ.” 

We have warnings all through Scripture, if we will just heed them. There lies the problem. We don’t read the Scriptures to know of these warnings. We don’t memorize and meditate on them to build our defenses. The only way to combat captivity is to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Get in the Word today. 

I am armed with Your Word to battle against any evil force that may come my way. You are my tower of safety. 

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Abiding, Allies, Battles, Bible, Confidence, Disappointment, Faithfulness, God's Will, Promises, Scripture

MISPLACED CONFIDENCE 

NAHUM 3:9 

“Ethiopia was her might, Egypt too, without limits. Put and Lubim were among her helpers.” 

Have you ever had someone you were depending on let you down? It is no fun feeling. Your hopes seemed dashed. You get angry at that person and then you get sad. Emotions are always a part of this kind of disappointment. What do you do with those emotions? 

Nahum was reminding Nineveh that no one can depend on any earthly power. He gives the example of No-Amon who depended on Ethiopia and Egypt for her might. Historical records have shown their armies numbered in the millions, like sand on the seashore. But No-Amon still fell. Only God’s power is eternal. 

APPLICATION 

I pray you have not suffered the fate of misplaced dependence. Let me reassure you – people will let you down. I have promised people that I will eventually disappoint them. I am not perfect and have never claimed to be. I know my failures. Do you? 

As believers, we know our only certain source of strength lies in Jesus Christ. Only He can sustain us. Read these words from Psalm 62. “5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Hm. 6 Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” 

Aren’t those great words? I just love that He is my rest, my hope, my rock, my salvation, my fortress, my salvation, the source of my honor, my mighty rock and my refuge. If that doesn’t give you confidence, nothing will. Trust Him today! 

I shall trust in You at all times, my God and my Savior. 

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Defense, Enemies, Evil, Fortress, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

YOUR RAMPART

NAHUM 3:8

Are you better than No-Amon, which was situated by the canals of the Nile, with water surrounding her, whose rampart was the sea, whose wall consisted of the sea?

I remember as a child building forts with my neighborhood buddies. My best friend was Robert Brooks, and we would play incessantly in his backyard which had this great, big field (at least we thought it was big back then) that went back to the edge of a tract of woods. Oh, the fun we had battling our “enemies” in our forts. We thought we were invincible.

So did Nineveh! They thought they would exist forever. But the high and lofty will fall and so they did. Nahum is referring to the great nation of No-Amon, which was situated in Northern Egypt. This nation ruled the world for a period of time. Their “rampart was the sea.” Their fortress wall on the north was the sea, which they thought protected them. They too fell to an invading nation.

APPLICATION

What is your rampart? Or better yet, who is your rampart? As protected as we think we are, we are no match for the enemy on our own. We need strong walls. We need an army. That is found in the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus promises us that at salvation. He will defend us. No force can touch us without His permission.

I don’t know about you, but I can rest in that. The very one who defeated death and the grave has my back. His power trumps any other power. I recently heard about some Jihadist who were planning an attack on a Christian village. Two days in a row, as they were traveling in their caravan of trucks, they had accidents which prevented them from the attack. God is showing His power today.

Praise to the Father of all armies. Praise to His power and might. Praise Him above all others. We know He is in control. Will you rest in Him today? He is your rampart!

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you!

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Battles, Bible, Devil, Enemies, Faith, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Victors

THE APPROACHING ENEMY

NAHUM 3:2

“The sound of the whip, the sound of the roar of the wheel, galloping horses and bounding chariots!”

I have never seen a chariot race. Chariots are not used very much anymore. But one of my favorite, all-time movies is Ben Hur. There is this classic chariot race near the end of the movie which is intense. Ben Hur, played by the late Charlton Heston, defeats his enemy in the arena. I just love that movie.

Nahum foresees the approaching enemy of Nineveh. He can envision their chariots racing down upon the city. He uses some words intentionally that, when read or said out loud, have rough “r” sounds: רעשׁ ra‛ash (roar), דהר dâhar (galloping), מרקדה meraqēdâh (bounding). You could almost hear the noises as Nahum said this.

APPLICATION

Who is our enemy? How can we know when he is approaching? 1 Peter 5:8-9 tell us. “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world.”

We are at war, beloved. The enemy has his sights set on us. He knows he has lost the war, but he will settle for some victories in some battles in our lives. When I hear of families being torn apart, I see the enemy at work. He wants to destroy the church (the bride of Christ) and attempts to do that by destroying Christian families from within.

I pray you are praying for your family daily. I pray you are praying God’s hedge of protection over them. Without His protection, we are vulnerable. Be alert. Stay focused. Pray without ceasing. With Jesus all things are possible. We walk in victory. Don’t forget that.

Thank You, Lord, for watching over me. Help me stay under the umbrella of Your protection.

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Abiding, Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Courage, Defeat, Enemies, God's Will, Opponents, Promises, Rescue, Scripture

LIONS’ DEN

NAHUM 2:11

“Where is the den of the lions and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, lioness, and lion’s cub went with nothing to disturb them?”

I love going to the zoo. We have a small one here in Chattanooga, TN where I live. Almost any zoo has “the king of the jungle” – the African lion. These beasts are huge. It is hard to really understand how big they are until you see one in person. A full-grown male lion does not have many threats. They rule the jungle or African plain.

That is the analogy Nahum is using in today’s verse. Nineveh had devoured all its enemies. None seemed able to stand against it. So, that is why it is so appalling that Nineveh is so desolate and defeated. Nahum is asking, “Where is the den of lions”? All their fierceness was gone. They were defeated.

APPLICATION

I want you to know that as a child of the King, your enemies will not stand. They will all bow before Him. They may appear to be triumphant right now, but their day will come. You may not see it in your lifetime, but it will come. No enemy of our King will remain.

How do I know that? Because His Word says it. Romans 14:11 says, “For it is written: ‘AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, TO ME EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, AND EVERY TONGUE WILL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.’” If God’s Word says it, that settles it. It will be just as He has said. Do you believe that?

I know I can trust Him when He says something. I believe all my enemies will bow, just as I will. I will bow willingly. They will bow because they know they are defeated. Oh, how sweet to know in Whom I can trust.

I praise You, O God, for Your faithfulness to all generations.

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Abiding, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Caregiver, Comfort, Dependence, Faith, Promises, Protection, Salvation, Scripture

IN TIMES LIKE THESE

NAHUM 2:10

“She is emptied! Yes, she is desolate and waste! Hearts are melting and knees wobbling! Also trembling is in the entire body, and all their faces have become pale!”

A couple of years ago, when I was going through treatment for my Amyloidosis, I got very weak. I was deathly ill. I had fainting spells and lost a lot of weight because I could not keep anything down I ate. My face was pale. My knees were wobbly. I felt as if my heart was melting. I guess you could say I could relate to the description in today’s verse.

Nahum, of course, is describing the condition of the Ninevites. Joel uses a similar description in Joel 2:6. “Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale.” We find this description again in Jeremiah 30:6. “Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his waist, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?”

APPLICATION

The application, to me, is clear. We are weak and frail without Jesus. He is the source of our strength. You may think you are strong, but let a trial come your way and you will see what you are made of. Our flesh, in itself, can only bear so much. But it is amazing what we can endure with the help of the Lord.

Perhaps you are going through a very trying time right now in your life. You may be sick or grieving. Whatever it is, Jesus is your strength. Your knees may be wobbly, and your heart may be faint, but Jesus has you. Quit trying to manage it on your own. You can’t, He never said you could. He can and He always said He would (to borrow a quote from a dear brother-in-law).

I am so thankful that both times I went through my stem cell transplants I knew who held me. It was not the doctors or their medical knowledge. It wasn’t the great treatment I received at the hospitals. It wasn’t my wife, as precious as she was through both of those events. It was Jesus. He carried me through. He can carry you, too.

In times like these you need a Savior. In times like these you need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

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