Discover the Book - Nov. 13, 2008

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Our God of Judgment, Sovereignty, and Hope

 

 

NAHUM "Our God of Judgment"

 

There is one inescapable fact of the Universe: the wrath of God may not be evaded. It is so great that it hunted down and sacrificed no less than the Son of God, Christ Jesus! And if God spared not His Son, what will happen to the rebels at the Day of Judgment? The Assyrian monarch may have been checked by God in 701 B.C., but these were still great days for Nineveh. Sennacherib more than doubled the city's size, making it the world's largest city for that time. The inner city was surrounded by a wall eight miles in circumference. It was one hundred feet high and so wide that three chariots could race around it abreast. It had twelve hundred towers and fourteen gates. Beyond this was a much longer, outer wall. There was an inner city, an outer city, and what we would call extensive suburbs beyond that. In Jonah this wide expanse was termed a "three days' " journey (Jonah 3:3).

 

The Prophecy is in three main parts:

1.    Judgment on Nineveh Determined (ch. 1)

2.    Judgment on Nineveh Described (ch. 2)

3.    Judgment on Nineveh Deserved (ch. 3)

 

I.                  WORSHIPPING the Character of God (ch. 1)

A.                HIS vengeance Nahum 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; (NKJV) Nahum 1:2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. (NIV)

B.                HIS patience Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet. (NKJV)

C.                HIS omnipotence Nahum 1:6 Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. (NIV)

D.               HIS goodness Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (NKJV); Nahum 1:15 Behold, on the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, Perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; He is utterly cut off. (NKJV)

E.                HIS justice Nahum 1:8-14

 

Habakkuk "Our god of sovereignty"

 

God watches us tonight as we live in a nation suffering very much the same disease that ancient Israel suffered. It’s a collective societal amnesia about our spiritual heritage. In ancient Israel it had to do with closing the Temple down, hiding the Law of God and neglecting His worship. In America its found in the growing skepticism about objective truth. It is the dismantling of language, texts and history ... to the point that history is eroded, society has no tradition and disintegrates!

 

Now listen to the mighty prophet Habbakuk: In chapter one he says - God raises up Adversaries; in chapter 2 he says, the righteous live by faith but the wicked have no hiding place; in chapter 3 he says, hope in God despite any hopeless situation. However, when a nation turns from its spiritual heritage, Judgment is Inevitable and Inescapable.

 

I.                  The Burdened Prophet talks to a sovereign God (ch. 1): Why does God allow evil to continue? Habbakuk asks seven questions:

II.              The Bended Prophet listens to a sovereign God (ch. 2):

A.                the Patient Waiting (2:1-4) He took his problem to the Lord, and waited.

B.                the Periled Wicked (2:5-20). Five woes are pronounced against sins.

III.           The Blessed Prophet Praises his sovereign God (ch. 3):

A.                God's Person (3:1-2) is GREAT.

B.                God's Power (3:3-15) is GLORIOUS.

C.                God's Plan (3:16-19) is GRACIOUS.

IV.            APPLICATION

A.                TREMBLE AT HIS WORD Habakkuk 3:16 When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, He will invade them with his troops. (NKJV)

B.                PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME. The Scriptures teach us to praise God by two special activities:

1.                echoing his attributes.

2.                echoing his actions.

C.                FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF HABAKKUK

1.                WHEN Burdened talk to God.

2.                WheN Bended listen to God.

3.                WheN Blessed Praise God.

 

Zephaniah “Our god of hope”

 

The Minor prophets often seem to have a despairing tone. Evil appears to run unchecked. The wicked die apparently unaccountable for their deeds of cruelty and greed. God's people fail to obey. Death takes them all away. But there is a light in the distance. Rays of hope stream from the promise that the Righteous Judge will make all things right. And on the horizon is a world brand new. Impossible? No, God has already planned the ending. Zephaniah traces a bit of it in his closing words. Remember, because Zephaniah is a summary of the previous prophets, his content and style are very similar to the other eight. So, no matter what your burden and struggle, come to the perfect Hiding Place in Christ! To best learn from Zephaniah, lets back into his book. Turn to the third chapter and discover with me - THE LORD IN THE MIDST. This chapter contains a beautiful lesson, taken spiritually. It describes the sinful condition of a soul apart from Christ (v. 1-2). Those who should have been leaders in righteousness are leaders in iniquity-princes, judges, prophets, priests. Then the Lord Himself takes the place of these leaders, and we see Him " in the midst," fulfilling each office in turn.

 

I.                  Worshiping Christ in Zephaniah

A.                Christ our perfect judge. First He comes to our hearts as judge, and convicts us of all that is sinful there, bringing His judgment to light (5-7).

B.                Christ our perfect prophet. Second, He comes as Prophet, teaching us with pure lips to call upon His name-still "in the midst," dealing with the pride of heart, and bringing us low into the place of blessing, in the presence of His holiness (8-13).

C.                Christ our perfect King. Third, He comes "into our midst" as King, to reign in undisputed sway in the heart that is surrendered to Him. When the Lord reigns thus the song begins (14-16).

D.               Christ our perfect high priest. Fourth, He is "in the midst " as our Great High Priest, bringing us into the place of communion with Himself.

II.              Trusting God in Zephaniah. This chapter closes with the six beautiful “I wills” of what the Lord will do for us. Zephaniah 3:18-20

A.                god looks for genuine contrition over sin. (3:18) "I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, Who are among you, To whom its reproach is a burden.

B.                god deals with our adversaries in his time. (3:19a) Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you;

C.                god is the defender of the weak and perfects their weaknesses. (3:19b) I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out;

D.               god will give back to us a thousand-fold all we have lost for him. (3:19c) I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame.

E.                god has his kingdom plans all in order - timing, sequence and all. (3:20a) At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you;

F.                 god has chosen to restore israel to the head of the nations in the millennium. (3:20b) For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes," Says the LORD. (NKJV)

 

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

 
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