Nahum; Jealous and Patient

We read about Jonah a few days ago; how he went into Nineveh, a city condemned to destruction because of their sin, and told them the truth about God. 120,000 people confessed their sin, and God forgave them. The city was spared.

But now it’s about 100 years later, and God is warning them once again, this time through Nahum, that their sin-debt has come due. They will be destroyed because they were back to their old sinful ways.

My parents were born in the 1920’s. My sisters and I were born in the ’50s. My nieces and nephews were born in the ’80s, and their children have been born in the 21st Century. We are six years from the 100th anniversary of my parents’ births. It puts the number “100” into perspective.

It took Nineveh only the span between a man and his great-grandchildren to go from repenting of sin, to living in sin once again to the point God had had enough.

Nahum tells us God is a jealous God, and I know that offends some people who define jealously as a middle-school girl whose BFF has a boyfriend or something. God is NOT envious.

But God demands our total devotion, and will jealously protect His throne. He will not tolerate worship of any other god, or thing, or desire, or person.

Nahum tells us God is a jealous God, but in the next verse he tells us this same God is slow to anger and great in power. Nahum tells us these people were depending on their wealth, power, position, on intellect – on themselves – when they should have been depending on God alone. They might have acknowledged God, but their devotion was divided. And God will not accept that. Not even a little.

Are you single-minded in your worship of God? Or is God just one of the several things you are devoted to? God does not accept an “and.” He demands an “only.”

I’d like you to consider the level of commitment to God that you see in your own “100.” Are you singularly devoted to God? Do your children share the same devotion? How about your grandchildren? We may be one generation from experiencing what God is telling Nineveh through Nahum, unless we heed Jonah’s warning, and repent.

Because, as true as it is that God is a jealous and avenging God, that He will not let the guilty go unpunished, He is still slow to anger. He still forgives sin. And He still is not willing that anyone should die without Him.

Yes, God is a jealous God in that He will not accept partial worship of Him. But He is also patient, long-suffering, gentle, and kind. In fact, He went ahead and paid the awful penalty for our sin Himself, and pours out His grace on all who believe.

God demands our exclusive worship. And He deserves it.


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