August 11, 2015

Nahum
At any given moment a few superpower nations and their rulers dominate the daily news.  Every century a few of these names are left carved on its park benches, marking rather futile, and in retrospect pitiable, attempts at immortality.  The danger is that the noise of these pretenders to power will distract us from what is going on quietly at the center of the stage  in the person and action of God. 

God’s characteristic way of working is in quietness and through prayer .  “I speak, “ says George Meredith, “of the unremarked forces that split the heart and make the pavement toss--forces concealed in quiet people and plants.”  If we are conditioned to respond to noise and size, we will is God’s word and action. 
                         
From time to time, God assigns someone to pay attention to one or another of these persons/nations/movements just long enough to get the rest of us to quit paying so much attention to them and get back to the main action: God!  

Nahum drew that assignment...his task was to make it imaginable-- to free God’s people from Assyrian paralysis, free them to believe in and pray to a sovereign God.... Nahum writes and preaches out of the large context in which Israel’s sins are denounced as vigorously as those of any of her enemies.  The effect of Nahum is not to foment religious hate against the enemy but to say ”Don’t admire or be intimidated by this enemy.”                                      

Nahum 1-3
A report on the problem of Nineveh, the way God gave Nahum of Elkosh to see it  God is serious business... But God doesn’t lose his temper.  He’s powerful, but it’s a patient power.  

Still, no one gets by with anything.  Sooner or later, everyone pays....God is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help... 

Nineveh is an anthill of evil plots against God.  A think tank for lies that seduce and betray.  And God has something to say about all this:  “Even though you’re on top of the world, with all the applause and votes, you’ll be mowed down flat...God has restore the pride of Jacob, the pride of Israel...I’m your enemy, Whore Nineveh--- I, God of the Angel armies!...Your bureaucrats are locusts, your brokers and bankers are locusts.  Early on, they’re all at your service, full of smiles and promises.  But later when you return with questions and complaints, you’ll find they’ve flown off and are nowhere to be found. 

Ephesians 2
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin...We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat...

God took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ...Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world, and the next, to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.  Saving is all his idea, and all his work.  All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.  It’s God’s gift from start to finish...

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.  Now because of Christ -- dying that death, shedding that blood---you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything...

Christ brought us together through his death on the cross.  The cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility.  Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders.  He treated us as equals and so made us equals.  Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father...

God is building a home.  He is using us all--- irrespective of how we got here--in what he is building.  He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation.  Now he is using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together