Bible, Judgment, Running, Scripture, Secrets, Sin, Submission, Surrender, Trust

STOP RUNNING!

HABAKKUK 2:2

“Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Write down the vision and inscribe it clearly on tablets, so that one who reads it may run.’”

You may have heard the joke about the two men in the forest who come up on a bear. One of the men kneels down and reties his shoes. His friend said, “That’s not going to help you outrun this bear.” To that the man said, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.” I know – dad joke, right?

God’s message to Habakkuk would cause the people to run. They would hear about God’s coming judgment and try to outrun it. As they discovered, you cannot outrun God. There is no escaping Him. His reach is too long. His feet are too swift. He knows where you are going and will find you. That hasn’t changed today.

APPLICATION

Are you trying to run from God? You may run, but you cannot hide. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” Psalm 90:8 reads, “You have placed our guilty deeds before You, our hidden sins in the light of Your presence.”

Stop running! Turn toward Him and confess those “hidden sins.” Allow Him to cleanse you and purify your heart. You won’t believe the relief you will feel. When you finally unburden yourself of those secret sins, you will be able to breathe and walk uprightly.

I know I can’t outrun a bear. I probably can’t outrun anyone. So, I am certainly not going to try to outrun God. Instead, I will run towards Him. I want to feel His warm embrace. I want Him to catch me mid-stride and stop me right in my tracks. He will whisper softly, “Come to me, my precious child.” Aren’t those words you want to hear?

I will cease striving and running after my own desires. I will turn to You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Judgment, Lawlessness, Modeling, Redemption, Scripture

NUMB

HABAKKUK 1:4

“Therefore, the Law is ignored, and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out confused.”

I am not a legalist, but I believe in obeying the law. I have to admit that the one law I consistently break is the speed limit laws. I typically drive a little over the speed limit on highways or interstates. I don’t have an excuse for it. I just do it. But what do I do when I see a police car? I immediately tap my brake and slow down. Why? Because I know I am breaking the Law. I have become numb to it.

Habakkuk describes the non-law-abiding attitude of the people this way. The word he uses which is translated as “ignored” is the Hebrew word pug. It literally means to be numb. People had become numb to the Law of God due to their constant sinning. The wicked were influencing all to their way of living and thinking.

APPLICATION

Our world today is no different. The wicked have strongly influenced everyone. Media is constantly pushing their worldview on believers. If we don’t agree with them, we are told we are intolerant and racist. They say we don’t understand that times have changed.

God’s Word has not changed. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” It is eternal. God is not “woke.” He is just and holy. He will not stand by as we continue to undermine and try to destroy what His Word says. Just like in Habakkuk’s day, judgment will fall for many.

Wow, Carl, that’s kind of harsh. Well, yes! God’s Word is blunt about sin. Yes, we can all receive forgiveness through Jesus. But if anyone does not turn to Him, he will be judged harshly. It is all so avoidable. Just come to Him today. He is ready with open arms.

I am so thankful, Lord, that You sent Your Son to rescue me from the penalty of sin. Help me live an obedient life (even obeying the speed limit).

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Adultery, Bible, Cleansing, Devil, Flesh, Guilt, Judgment, Scripture, Sin

THE LUST OF THE FLESH

NAHUM 3:4

All because of the many sexual acts of the prostitute, the charming one, the mistress of sorceries, who sells nations by her sexual acts, and families by her sorceries.”

When I traveled the roads of Florida, I was very aware of a string of billboards that littered the landscape. They were advertisements for truck stops that featured nude dancing girls. The pictures of the young ladies were plastered all over those billboards. I always had this thought – they are someone’s little girls. What happened?

It was the same thing that happened in Nineveh. The lust of the flesh is as strong now as it was then. Nineveh was knee deep in sorcery and temple prostitutes. The flesh reigned as king (and queen). Hedonistic behavior was what ruled the day. But now their judgment was upon them. Nahum says it was “because of the many sexual acts of the prostitute.” Moses’ words to Reuben and Gad in Numbers 32:23 ring in my ears – you may be sure your sins will find you out.

APPLICATION

Another passage is appropriate here – this time from the New Testament. 1 John 2:15-17 says “15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.”

The world is still enticing us with its lusts. The pornography industry is making billions of dollars a year off of the depraved minds of its customers. Satan is having a heyday. He loves keeping us in the sewer.

But let me tell you something. There is hope. God’s Word can transform your mind. It can cleanse all those evil, wicked thoughts from your mind and give you a fresh start. If you are struggling with pornography and/or a lifestyle of the flesh, come to Jesus. Let Him wash you completely.

O Father, thank You for setting me free from the lust of the flesh. Thank You for cleansing my mind with Your Word.

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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, 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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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Confrontation, Consequences, Forgiveness, Holiness, Judgment, Scripture

FROTHING AT THE MOUTH

NAHUM 1:6

“Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath gushes forth like fire, and the rocks are broken up by Him.”

I had a football coach once who would get so mad that he would actually froth at the mouth. Do you know what that means? It means little pieces of foam appear in the corners of the mouth, and as you speak or yell, you spit white chunks from your lips. Very appealing, lol.

As unappealing as that may be, that is exactly the picture Nahum is describing in today’s verse. The Hebrew word for “indignation” gives us the picture of someone frothing at the mouth in anger and rage. God is fed up with Nineveh, and this time His full wrath will fall on the city.

APPLICATION

Excuse me, but that is not a sight I want to see. Thanks be to God; I never will have to face God’s frothing mouth of wrath. All that was done away with at Calvary. All I will experience is the peaceful, kind smile of my heavenly Father.

Maybe you are afraid today that you are going to face His indignation. Perhaps you are not a believer. If that is the case, you have much to fear. The justice He demands for your sins must be paid. Come to Him today.

Or maybe you are a believer but still think God is out to get you. You think He spends all His time finding new ways to entrap you. That is a lie of the devil. God’s desire is to show you His love through His Son, Jesus. He has paid the price so that you do not have to. Rest in Him today.

O Lord, thanks for rescuing me through Your Son from ever having to witness Your frothing wrath.

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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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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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