Abiding, Bible, Protection, Scripture, Security, Trust

FALSE SECURITY

ZEPHANIAH 1:10

“‘And on that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘There will be the sound of a cry from the Fish Gate, wailing from the Second Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills.’”

There is nothing worse than to think you are safe only to find out you’re not. I have ridden out several hurricanes in my lifetime. Most of them weren’t a big deal. But there was one… We thought we were fine, but when it hit, we thought we had made a mistake in staying. It hit harder and stayed longer than we thought.

Zephaniah is relaying the Lord’s words in verse 10 which describe the people’s reliance on their man made defenses against their enemies. The Fish Gate couldn’t withstand them. Nor could the Second Quarter of the high points of the city. All reliance on their defense efforts fell short. Why? Because the Lord had removed His protection.

APPLICATION

Oh, to think where I would be without the Lord’s protection. I would probably be in some gutter. I know my flesh. But because I have chosen to follow Him and give my life to Him, He has made a covenant with me to protect me. Psalm 17:8-9 give us a promise. “8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings 9 from the wicked who deal violently with me, my deadly enemies who surround me.”

Just as the Lord covenanted with David, so He covenants with us. We do not have to rely on our own defenses. And because we are His children, He will never withdraw His protection. The key is abiding in Him. Take a minute and read John 15. There is the key to abiding in Jesus.

I have found that abiding in Him is a whole lot easier than trying to protect myself from a ruthless enemy. I am no match for him on my own. My only defense is Jesus. As I submit to my Master and resist the enemy, he has to flee (James 4:7). Are you tired of failing on your own. Come to Him.

I praise You, O Lord, for keeping me safe from the evil one. You are my Protector and Defender.

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Bible, Covenant, Promises, Protection, Relationships, Rescue, Scripture, Security, Strength

MY STRENGTH

HABAKKUK 3:19

“The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.”

Here we are at the last verse of Habakkuk. This verse is one of the most quoted in the book. If you missed the beginning of the look at Habakkuk, go back to the beginning of my blogs on this awesome book. They began on November 2. That means we have spent 56 days looking at each verse of this wonderful message to us.

Habakkuk closes his message with praise to God. He confesses publicly that the Lord God is his strength. He does not place his trust in the armies of Israel or on some foreign power. He knows God is the only source of strength. He brings in the image of the deer climbing up effortlessly to the high places. He says God does the same for him. And that applies to us as well.

When we are at our lowest, the Lord picks us up. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” When we rely on Him, He can lift us up to the high places. He does it effortlessly. It is no strain for Him, but for us, it’s agony.

APPLICATION

My little granddaughter asked me the other day to throw her high. Now, she’s approaching five years old. When she was a toddler, this was an easy ask. I could throw her multiple times to her glee. But now…that’s not so easy. It is hard for me to do that more than twice. Aren’t you grateful that God does not tire of lifting us up. No matter how many times we fall, we can turn to Him and say, “Father, lift me,” and He does.

I have had to call on Him several times in my life. There have been moments when I did not think I could carry on. That weakness may have been emotional, physical or spiritual. Each time He came to my aid. Each time He “made my feet like deer’s feet and has me walk on my high places.” He will do the same for you.

I want to climb to the highest heights, Father. Lift me up to be with You.

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Belief, Bible, Defense, Protection, Salvation, Scripture

OUR DEFENDER

HABAKKUK 3:14

“You pierced with his own arrows the head of his leaders. They stormed in to scatter us; their arrogance was like those who devour the oppressed in secret.”

I had a big brother until July 2021. He passed into glory that month way too young (65 years old). All our life I knew I had a big brother who would come to my defense if I ever needed him. That was especially true during our childhood years. Sure, we fought a lot, but I knew he was there for me if the need arose.

Habakkuk heralds the defensiveness of our God in today’s verse. He describes how He even “pierced with his own arrows the head of his leaders.” No matter the judgment against Israel, Habakkuk knew God was there. He would not let them endure more than they could take. That reminds me of 1 Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

APPLICATION

Rest assured, my beloved, God is still defending us. You may be going through a hard trial right now, but 1 Corinthians 10:13 still applies. Habakkuk 3:14 does too. Claim the promise of God’s protection today. He will not abandon His children. He knows exactly what you are going through.

Maybe a friend is in need of these words today. Share it with them. If they are a believer, they should be encouraged. If they aren’t a believer, what better encouragement could they hear. If they come to Jesus, He will take up their battles for them. If they surrender to His will, He will direct them in their paths.

I know my life is not going to be empty of trials. They may be physical or financial. They could be emotional or spiritual. Whatever the trial, my Lord is there. He stands ready to intervene the moment I call on Him. He loves me and wants what it best for me. I trust Him. Do you?

Father in heaven, thank You for having my back – always!

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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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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, 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, 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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Bible, Enemies, God's Will, Protection, Scripture, Surrender, Victors

STOP!

NAHUM 2:8

“Though Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days, yet they are fleeing; ‘Stop, stop,’ but no one turns back.”

Do you remember playing in the yard with your friends and having team games. We used to play “Capture the Flag.” Loved that game. I can remember seeing the other team coming and seeing all my teammates running for cover. I would yell at them to stop, but they were just trying to take care of themselves.

That is the scene Nahum is describing here in Nineveh. The “pool of water” had been disturbed. The enemy was pouring into the city and the inhabitants were running for it. All shouts from their leaders commanding them to stay and fight fell on deaf ears. Nahum says, “no one turns back.” All fled.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you – are you running for cover or staying to fight? We are in a battle. You know that. I am not saying anything you don’t know. The Lord is telling us to stop running. We do not have to fear these attacks. We just have to turn and face them, knowing that it is the Lord who fights for us.

I have shared before one of my favorite verses. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, while you remain silent.” You see the moment we surrender our heart and life to Him; He becomes our protector. Nothing will touch us that He has not allowed. So, turn and face whatever attacks you are under.

Stop the complaining! Stop the excuses! Stop the hiding! Just stop! Watch what the Lord will do when you surrender to His will. Watch what He will do when you finally allow Him to fight for you. He is waiting. What will you do?

I hear Your voice, Lord, telling me to stop and fight. I will fight, knowing the victory is through You.

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Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Enemies, God's Will, Protection, Scripture

OPENINGS

NAHUM 2:6

The gates of the rivers are opened and the palace sways back and forth.”

I was recently in Florida and had the chance to walk a beach. Immediately upon my arrival at the beach, my wife and I spotted a sandcastle that had been built. It looked a little bit well worn, but it was still standing. If you have every built a sandcastle on the beach you know that if it is built too close to the waves, the tide will come in and wash it away.

In a similar fashion, the gates of Nineveh had been opened by a swelling river, which exposed it to the enemy which was outside the walls in the midst of a siege against it. Once those gates were opened, the enemy had only to use the flow of the river to invade and ultimately conquer the city. “The palace sways” indicates the fall of the empire.

APPLICATION

What have you opened yourself up to? We do it without thinking. We allow small cracks to form, and before we know it, we are engulfed with the world. Just like the crashing waves on the sandcastle or the open gates allowing the river to flow, we have exposed ourselves to outside influences.

That is never good. The world has no interest in making you more godly. I am reminded of 2 Peter 1:3-4. It reads, “3 for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world on account of lust.”

It is only His divine power that can prevent us from being sucked into a worldview of life. But we can be “partakers of the divine nature.” Isn’t that great? Divine nature? Us? That is what God’s Word says, so it has to be true. Guard your hearts, my friends. Only open yourselves to His truth.

I open my eyes and ears to You alone, O God. You are the protector of my soul.

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