Accountability, Bible, Boundaries, Devil, Enemies, Evil, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Praise, Scripture

VILE

NAHUM 1:14 

“The LORD has issued a command concerning you: ‘Your name will no longer be perpetuated. I will eliminate the carved image and the cast metal image from the house of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are contemptible.’” 

Psalm 101.3 says “I will not look on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do. I will have no part in it.” That should be our attitude towards anything that is vile. But what does that mean? It’s the last word used in today’s verse – contemptible. It means to be cursed or despised. If it is not godly, have no part in it. 

Nahum tells the Assyrians that their time was up. The Lord is going to wipe them away like crumbs from a table. “Your name will no longer be perpetuated…I will prepare your grave.” Those are pretty harsh words. God meant business. He had used them as His battering ram against Israel to judge them, but they had taken it too far. 

APPLICATION 

Today we are bombarded with the vile. All around us are worldly, ungodly things that try to lure us into a lifestyle that is abhorrent to God. Movies, television and commercials all attempt to point us toward a lifestyle that is anything but embracing a Christian viewpoint. 

So, what do we do? We cannot live outside this world – at least not yet. While we are here, we must insulate ourselves with the Word of God. Only His Word can give us the protection we need against the evil one. His flaming arrows are always trying to find their mark against us. 

I am thankful that God has given me the desire to memorize and meditate on His Word. I know my quiver is always full of His Word to defend myself. The Spirit within me is quick to point out those things that offend it. Rely on Him to guard your heart and mind in your daily battles. 

I dedicate my life to honoring You, O Father. You are worthy of my praise and allegiance. 

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Abiding, Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Discipline, Faith, God's Will, Judgment, Restoration, Scripture

NO LONGER

NAHUM 1:12

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Though they are at full strength and so they are many, so also they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer.’”

I had to have a test one time to determine if my nerve endings were affected by my Amyloidosis (the disease I have). I will not go into all the details of this test, but suffice it to say, it hurt. And it took a long time. I did not think it would ever end. Finally, the technician doing the test said, “Okay, Mr. Willis, we’re done now. The test is over.” What sweet words!

Nahum is telling Israel that the one He had used to afflict them would afflict them no longer. Their time of suffering had ended. Don’t you know those were sweet words to them, as well? On top of that, the ones who had afflicted them were going to get what was coming to them.

APPLICATION

Are you in a time of affliction right now? This too shall pass. Let me encourage you to not look on your affliction as affliction. Look on it as purification. See it as a testing to make you more like Jesus as you learn to trust your Father in the midst of the storm. I do not know what you are going through. I do not know the source of your trial. But I know the One who does.

There is not a trial that has ever afflicted one person that God is not aware. Some of those trials He has brought on to bring that person to Him. Other trials He has simply allowed. All of them are meant to make us better, not bitter. It all depends on how we surrender in the midst of the affliction.

I have shared numerous times in my blogs about the afflictions I have been through physically. I will hasten to say that I do not want to repeat any of them. However, I also know that God used them all to strengthen me and make me into the image He wants to produce in me. Let Him refine you today.

O God, Redeemer of my soul, make me what You want to make me. I am clay in Your hands.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Counsel, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Scripture, Truth

A WICKED COUNSELOR

NAHUM 1:11

“From you has gone out one who plotted evil against the LORD, a wicked counselor.”

In our lifetimes, we are going to receive some wrong counsel. Friends who think they know best will offer advice that they are sure is the best for you. You may even receive some advice that you know is not from God because it goes against what His Word says. You have to be careful from whom you receive pearls of wisdom.

Nahum states it plainly. There is bad counsel coming from Nineveh. Listen to what Isaiah said about this in Isaiah 10:5. “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation,…” The nation God used to judge Israel thought it had done this on their own. Pride, once again, raises its ugly head.

APPLICATION

How do you know you are receiving good counsel, godly counsel? Simple, measure it against God’s Word. Does it agree with what God says? If it doesn’t, leave it alone. My rule has been if I know it’s bad, don’t do it. If I’m not sure, don’t do it. That has kept me out of a lot of tight jams.

A word of warning – people will think you are crazy for basing your decisions on an ancient book. Come on, Carl, times have changed. It’s 2022, not 1962. I don’t care if it’s 2050. God’s Word is timeless, and its truths eternal. I will never go wrong by choosing to live by it.

God’s counsel, through His Word and His Spirit, will never steer you wrong. It may not make perfect sense all the time but just trust it. It will see you through. I truly believe every problem we face in life can be solved simply by trusting His Word. Try it today.

Your Word is faithful. I will turn to it as my counsel.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Denial, Direction, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture, Surrender

DEVIOUS THOUGHTS 

NAHUM 1:9 

“Whatever you devise against the LORD, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.” 

I have known a few people in my life who have literally shaken their fists at God. They have decided to live their lives as if He does not exist. They refuse to acknowledge Him and may even seek to mislead others. They are, in a sense, making or devising plans against God and His people.  

These people have lived for centuries. Nahum saw them in Nineveh. In fact, their king thought his success against Israel was due to his own strength and power. He quickly forgot that He was only the vessel God had used to punish Israel. As Nahum attests, God “will make a complete end of it.” No one can escape His judgment. 

APPLICATION 

Are you devising plans against God? Of course not, Carl. I would never make plans against Him. Listen, dear heart, when we do not yield to Him, we are in fact devising plans against Him. We are saying that we know better than Him. We believe our way is better.  

Our devious plans against God’s will for our lives will not succeed. When will we realize that? Sure, we may see some initial success, but it will not last. There is no eternal reward for our temporal plans. However, when we submit to Him, His plans will lead us directly into eternity. Now, that is a plan. 

Looking back at my life, I can see moments when the trajectory of my life turned toward my own selfish desires. My devious plans included choosing to do what I wanted to do, even though the Spirit within was saying something different. Hindsight is always 20/20, but God’s foresight is as well. Trust His plans. 

Lord, thank You for having the perfect plan for my life. Help to surrender to Your will. 

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Bible, Favor, God's Will, Goodness, Praise, Promises, Relationships, Reward, Salvation, Scripture, Truth

TRUTH AND FAVOR 

MICAH 7:20 

“You will give truth to Jacob and favor to Abraham, which You swore to our forefathers from the days of old.” 

I like receiving gifts. Don’t you? I mean, come on, who doesn’t? But I really like receiving gifts that include things I need. I am at the age now that I really do not want many things. So, I am hard to buy for. When my family gets me a gift, it is usually something I have specifically told them I could use. 

Look at these two gifts that God gives Jacob and Abraham. The Hebrew word for “truth” can mean steadfastness, faithfulness and truth. The word contains so much more than what we consider truth. Then He gives favor. That Hebrew word is key to God’s covenant relationship with Abraham and the whole nation of Israel. It can also be translated as loving-kindness. 

APPLICATION

Oh, to have God’s truth and favor. Wait a second! I do! When we come to Christ, we receive both of these to their fullest extent. God’s truth is found for us in His word. God’s favor is celebrated through our covenant relationship with Him through Jesus. We receive the same gifts as Jacob and Abraham. 

Now, listen carefully. Both of these gifts are given for a purpose. God does not give us gifts to hoard and keep to ourselves. Oh no. These gifts are given to share. We share God’s truth with people everywhere. We introduce others to the covenant relationship we have in Christ. 

I am not worthy of these gifts from God. Neither are you. But God gives liberally to His children. The very moment you ask Christ into your heart, these gifts arrive. Hallelujah! Who can help but praise Him for these beautiful gifts. 

Thank You, Father, for giving me truth and favor, just like Jacob and Abraham. 

(This is my last blog on Micah. I will start the book of Nahum tomorrow.)  

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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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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Correction, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Love, Obedience, Scripture

THE ROD OF GOD 

MICAH 7:14 

“Shepherd Your people with Your scepter, the flock of Your possession which lives by itself in the woodland, in the midst of a fruitful field. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.” 

I grew up in the days of good old fashioned “whoopings.” My parents believed Proverbs 13:24. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children will be careful to discipline them.” My spankings were never abusive. There is never any excuse for that. I knew my parents were trying to steer me in the right direction. 

This “scepter” mentioned in today’s verse could also be translated as “rod” or “correction.” It was a tool of chastisement. God used his corrective judgment to steer His children to repentance and renewed relationship. And He would direct them back to the first pastures in their land, Bashan and Gilead, the place of their beginnings as a nation. 

APPLICATION 

Has God gotten out His rod for you? Perhaps He is trying to steer you in the right direction. You know, it is much easier to live godly if we respond to that rod quickly. When we rebel and stiffen our necks, we can expect that correction to get a little tougher. God will bring you back home. 

I was a thick-headed child, at times. I knew certain things would get me in trouble and a sure whipping. Fighting with my brother was one of them. But we fought all the time. It was nothing serious, but mom didn’t allow it in the house. Sure enough, dad would come home and tear us up for not listening to our mom. 

I do not like the rod of God on me. I had much rather feel His warm embrace. Hadn’t you? So, as I live my life centered on His Word, I feel that embrace. Awww! That is much better than the rod.  

Lord, I am thankful that You love me enough to use Your rod of correction when I have strayed. 

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Abiding, Advice, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Boundaries, Direction, Disciplemaking, Dreams, Encouragement, God's Will, Scripture

EXPANSION 

MICAH 7:11 

“It will be a day for building your walls. on that day your boundary will be extended.” 

I have a friend in Kenya who pastors a local church. This church began a school a few years ago for the children in their town who were too poor to attend the local schools only because they could not afford the uniforms. This school is expanding, thanks to the gifts of donors. They are eyeing some nearby land to expand so they can build some dorms to house some children who are homeless and are wandering the streets. 

Expansion! Micah prophesies the expansion of the boundaries of Israel. They will rebuild what has been destroyed and live in their land. Building and expanding their nation will take a continued reliance on Jehovah God. Micah is encouraging them to trust Him and believe in His promises. 

APPLICATION 

You are probably saying to yourself Carl, this is all well and good, but how does this apply to me? I am glad you asked. What size box do you have God in? By that I mean, what limitations have you put on how God can work in your life. Most of us do that. We cannot begin to dream of anything more. 

Let me tell you something. You need to think bigger. Now, I am not telling you to start asking for a jet or a bigger home. I am telling you to ask God to expand your circle of influence. Ask Him for greater opportunities to serve. Maybe He wants you to go on a short-term mission trip. Maybe He is calling you into full-time ministry. 

God wants to use us and use us mightily. He wants to see us expand His kingdom. He has great plans for each of us. He desires a willing vessel to use to send His message to others. Will you ask the Lord to expand your boundaries? Trust Him to show you. 

Expand my boundaries today, Lord. Show me how I can influence more people. 

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Allegiance, Bible, Choices, Covenant, Devil, Faith, Following, God's Will, Scripture

BUT AS FOR ME 

MICAH 7:7 

“But as for me, I will be on the watch for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” 

Have you ever had to make a stand about something? Maybe it was a personal conviction or perhaps it was a doctrinal issue. I remember my senior year in high school when I had to take a stand. The years before had been filled with ungodly activities and behaviors. When I became a believer, I had to say “no” to those things. It cost me some friendships. 

Micah is taking a stand. “But as for me.” In other words, you may choose another path, but I am taking God’s side. Joshua had said the same words when he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) These words are powerful and strong. They leave no room for compromise. 

APPLICATION 

The world is constantly testing our allegiance to Christ. The devil entices us to compromise just a little. That is all it takes – just a little. A little here, a little there. Before you know it, you have gone a long way from the truth and find it hard to get back. 

Hold firm today, my brothers and sisters. Choose today whom to obey. Paul said it so well in Romans 6:16. “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” Death or righteousness! 

I choose righteousness. Sure, that may mean I have to give up some of these earthly pleasures. I may choose to give rather than receive. I have to remember that as a believer, this world is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven and I want to represent it well. Will you join me?  

I will choose You, O Lord. I know You will hear me.

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Accountability, Bible, Devil, Discipline, Evil, God's Will, Judgment, Obedience, Satan, Scripture

AMBIDEXTROUS 

MICAH 7:3 

“As for evil, both hands do it well. The leader asks for a bribe, also the judge, and the great one speaks the capricious desire of his soul; so they plot it together.” 

I have known a few people in my life who were ambidextrous. That means they could do things with both hands equally well. Switch hitters in baseball have that trait. I have known artists who could draw or paint with either hand. It is a rare ability. I do good to use one hand. 

These individuals Micah is talking about were ambidextrously evil. Their whole focus was on doing what was bad. Micah calls out these leaders and judges who were doing this. One version of this verse translates the last phrase as “they wrap it up.” This evil was done purposely and with planning.  

APPLICATION 

What is (are) your hand(s) doing? Are you a one-handed or a two-handed sinner? Do you sin on purpose? Do you choose to do evil? Those are tough questions, I know. But, just as Micah called out the people, I feel I need to call us out on this. I know so many believers who choose to live in sin and think it is okay. 

Listen to me, God is still a holy and righteous God who demands obedience. He will not force us. That is not His nature. However, He will hold us accountable for our actions. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. Before we are saved, we chase sin. After we are saved, sin chases us. 

I know the old devil is going to throw his best pitches against me every day. He wants to trip me up. He wants to sideline me. I have to know what my hands are doing – good or evil. I strive to choose good every day. Am I perfect? Far from it! But I will use my hands to do good every chance I get. 

Father, forgive me when my hands do evil. Give me the strength to fight against the evil one. 

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