Battles, Bible, Drought, Encouragement, Trust

DRY 

NAHUM 1:4 

“He rebukes the sea and dries it up; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, the blossoms of Lebanon wither.” 

When it has not rained for some time, it gets dry. I have seen crops in the field reduced to nothing but dry, crackly branches. I remember walking through a corn field one time during one of those droughts and grabbing the leaves on the stalks. They crumbled in my hands. 

Nahum teaches us in today’s verse that God’s power is extreme. He can dry up seas and rivers. He can cause the fields and blossoms to wither. Bashan and Carmel represented beauty and richness. All that would be gone. God would wipe it all away and leave only dryness and dust. 

APPLICATION 

So many people complain about their dry, withered lives. They point their finger at God and say He is to blame. Nothing could be further from the truth. God promises to care for His children. He will not leave them destitute.  But when we reject our source of truth, we can expect dryness. 

If I go all day without drinking some kind of fluid, especially water, what will happen? My mouth gets dry. My lips start to stick together. I have trouble swallowing or even talking. Moisture is needed. God is that for our soul. He keeps us full of His life-giving water through the Word of God.  

Jesus told us if we drink from Him, we would never be thirsty again. So why do we blame God when we spiritually dry? It is not His fault. We are ones who have resisted. We are the ones who refuse the cup of water from the Giver of Life. Don’t blame Him for your parched tongue. Reach out and find Him. 

O Father, You are so good to me. All praise goes to You. Teach me to be more grateful for all you give. 

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Abiding, Bible, Covenant, Persecution, Scripture, Storms, Trust

BENEATH GOD’S FEET 

NAHUM 1:3 

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In the gale and the storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” 

Walking around in Africa during the dry season can get your shoes awfully dusty. The simplest, smallest step stirs up whirlwinds of dust that cover your shoes. You can wipe them off, but the next step produces the same dust cloud. I usually wait until the end of the day and then clean them for the next day. 

Notice, Nahum did not say God’s feet got dusty. He said the dust is beneath His feet. There is not a part of God that could be called dirty or dusty. But God will stir up gales and storms here on earth to display His power and anger to those who come against Him. Nahum is warning them – a storm is coming. 

APPLICATION 

Now, today’s verse may be a challenge for us. What can we take from this verse and apply to our lives? Is there something in this verse that strikes you? For me, it is the last phrase – “clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” That comforts me. Why? Because no matter how fierce the storm, God is above it. 

Everything that is over our heads is under His feet. It does not matter what it is. He is above it. Financial crisis – He is above it. Health concerns – He is above it. Persecution – He is above it. There is not one, solitary thing in your life that God cannot handle. He is above all things. 

I am thankful the Lord is walking on the clouds of dust. I wish I had that capability. But wait! I do! I am in Christ, and He is in me. If He is above it, I am above it. He carries me in His bosom and leads me through these hard times. How incredible is that? 

Cloud Walker, show me Your power in the storms. Hold my hand and see me through. 

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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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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Repentance, Scripture

A HEAVY BURDEN 

NAHUM 1:1 

“The pronouncement of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite:” 

Sometimes you have to deliver a message that is hard and painful for someone else to hear. I will always remember having to tell a young teen girl that her father, her only living parent, had just died. I can still hear her cries of agony. I have delivered similar messages since then, and it has never gotten easy. 

The Hebrew word translated here for “pronouncement” is a heavy word. It sets the stage for what is about to follow. Nahum (whose name means comforter) is not delivering an encouraging message. He is dealing with a Nineveh that has returned to the sins it had repented of when Jonah prophesied to them. God’s mercy will not be the theme of Nahum’s message. 

APPLICATION 

I pray you are not a Nineveh. I pray you are not someone who repents of a sin and then returns to it. I have heard stories of meth addicts who would spend a year in lockup, get clean and upon their release, go right back to the meth. God does not play games with us regarding our confession of sin. He expects, no, He demands a change in behavior. 

You may be saying, “Well Carl, I don’t have that problem. I am squeaky clean.” Oh really? 1 John 1:10 says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Listen, we all have sins. God knows we are not perfect. But He does not want us repeating and repeating the same sins. We have to break those strongholds. 

I am thankful the Lord has given me the Holy Spirit who convicts me of my sins. I am thankful that the more I study and memorize His Word, the less I want to sin. Sin is not a lure to me. The Spirit is so much stronger. Will you truly repent today of any sin(s) you have been holding on to? 

Father, You are so good to forgive me. Help me to live to honor that forgiveness. 

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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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Bible, Confession, Forgetting, Forgiveness, Redemption, Scripture, Seeking

THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA 

MICAH 7:19 

“He will again take pity on us; He will trample on our wrongdoings. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” 

I went fishing recently on lake in Burundi. Well, it wasn’t a serious fishing trip. There were five Burindians and me on a boat with one makeshift pole. (There has to be a joke there) This lake is deep, very deep. We didn’t have the right equipment to fish that deep. We could not catch the fish we wanted. We could not retrieve the fish. 

Micah reminds us today that God forgives our sins (He will trample on our wrongdoings). And then He “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” You have got to get the picture here. God completely gets rid of our sins. It is us who remember them. We need to trust His actions. 

APPLICATION 

Why do we keep bringing up our past sins? Why do we do the same to others? If we truly repent of our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Do you believe that? Then stop bringing up the past. If you have turned away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Spirit, God will remove those sins. Now, you know if you are a believer, all your sins, past, present and future, are under the blood of Christ. We still need to confess those sins and allow the Lord to remove them. 

I am so thankful that Jesus has set me free from the bondage of sin. I strive daily to live to honor Him. But I am flesh and blood and can slip and sin. I am so thankful to know that I can come to my Lord and receive forgiveness. So can you. Confess those sins today and walk in freedom. 

I don’t know how deep that sea is, but I am sure it is too deep to retrieve those sins. Thank You, Lord. 

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Bible, Covenant, Forgiveness, Mercy, Relationships, Restoration, Scripture

DELIGHTING IN MERCY 

MICAH 7:18 

“Who is a God like You, who pardons wrongdoing and passes over a rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.” 

Do you remember the childhood game “Mercy”? Two people would stand facing each other and lace their fingers on both hands together, palm to palm. Then one would try to bend the other’s hands back and cause them to cry “Mercy!” Only then would the one who was winning would let go. 

God does not dispense mercy that way. Micah tells us that He delights in mercy. That word “delight” literally means “to be pleased with.” It pleases God’s heart to show mercy to us. He is not trying to catch us doing bad stuff so He can zap us. Micah says He pardons wrongdoings and passes over rebellious acts. What an awesome God we serve. 

APPLICATION 

Are you crying out for mercy? Mercy is given to us by God to enable us to deal with the stuff we are going through. His mercy, in effect, soothes the suffering soul. If you are desirous of God’s mercy today, cry out to Him. He wants to show you mercy. 

Most of us blame God for our predicaments. We do dumb things that we know are not pleasing to God, and then we cry out for deliverance. Let me say that God forgives all sins (except the sin of refusing the Spirit), but often there are consequences for those sins. 

My God delights in showing mercy. That is good to know. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I cannot use up God’s mercy. He does not tire of showing mercy to His children. Come to Him today and receive His tender mercy in your life. 

Your mercy is new in my life every day. I thank You, Lord, for being such a merciful God.  

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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, Allegiance, Bible, Bondslaves, Demons, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Obedience, Scripture

GIVE IT YOUR ALL 

MICAH 7:16 

“Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, their ears will be deaf.” 

I shall never forget football drills and the coach screaming at us, “I want 110% out of you men. Don’t slack off.” I gave it my all. I played hard. I knew when I was giving it my all and when I was not. The coach could tell, too. I would miss blocking assignments or a tackle.  

Micah is now addressing the people again after God has spoken. Here he is showing us that we will always face opposition. The enemies of Israel gave their all against them but failed. The word “all” means whole or complete. In other words, they were all in. But they found out their might was no match for the might of God.  

APPPLICATION 

Are you giving your all to Him today? I am not asking if you are working non-stop for Jesus without taking any breaths. No, I mean are you all in? Does Jesus have all of you? So many of us think we can just say a prayer and go about our business as if nothing has happened. That is not the case. 

I promise you that the enemies of the cross are all in after us. They are giving it their all to try to bring us down. But their “all” is no match for us if we are all in for Christ. It is His power that will defeat them, not our power. I can make you another promise. Christ is all in for you. 

Look at what He did for you. He died a horrible death on the cross for your salvation. You cannot get much more “all in” than that. His love for you cost Him everything. He gave His life to ransom your soul. He deserves your all. Give it to Him today. 

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give. 

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Belief, Bible, Miracles, Scripture, Trials, Trust

MIRACLE SHOW 

MICAH 7:15 

“‘As in the days when you went out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles.’” 

I have a couple of friends who are illusionists. They do not like the name “magician” because they will quickly tell you that nothing they do is magic. It is all an illusion. One, in particular, is extremely good. He literally blows my mind each time I see him perform. I know there is an explanation for what he is doing, but I cannot figure it out. 

God did not perform illusions when He set the Hebrew children free from captivity in Egypt. Everything He did was a miracle, doable only by Him. Even when the magicians in Egypt tried to replicate God’s miracles before Pharoah, they fell short. God is reminding Micah’s audience of these feats of years ago. He was still in the miracle working business. 

APPLICATION 

Are you ready for a miracle? I am. In fact, I know I have experienced miracles in my life. I am not talking about pillars of fire or anything like that. I am talking about the everyday miracles of salvation, of physical healings and other things we tend to explain away with human reasoning. 

The problem with us today is we do not think God can still do miracles. We believe they all ended way back in Biblical times. But I have seen the miracle of a transformed life. I know God can do anything He chooses to do at any time He chooses to do it. He may just choose to do one in your life, if you believe. 

It is not magic. It is not some man behind the curtain pulling levers like in The Wizard of Oz. No! God is still in power and will work miracles in our lives when He knows we are ready to receive them. He has healed me twice from a terminal disease. I believe in miracles. Do you? 

I believe in You, O Lord. I believe You can still work miracles in my life and in the life of others today. 

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