Friday, August 03, 2012

August 8, 2012 … Getting The Referee’s Whistle

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 216 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Nahum, Chapters 1-3 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Nahum 1: 1-3; 6-9 ; 12-13 :[NIV] … 1 A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite [a town in southern Judah]. 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 vents his wrath against his enemies. 3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. … 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. … 7   [“But,” … implied qualification] … The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, 8 but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness. 9 Whatever they plot against the Lord he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time. … 12 This is what the Lord says: "Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be destroyed and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, Judah, I will afflict you no more. 13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away." 
Highlight Passage: Nahum 2: 1-2; 13 :[NIV] … 1 An attacker advances against you, Nineveh. Guard the fortress, watch the road, brace yourselves, marshal all your strength! [Implied “BUT”] … 2 The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines. … [God’s judgment on Ninevah (i.e., the Assyrian Empire, called “Nineveh” by Nahum] … 13 "I am against you," declares the Lord Almighty. "I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will leave you no prey on the earth. The voices of your messengers will no longer be heard."
Highlight Passage: Nahum 3: 3-4; 18-19    :[NIV] … 3 Charging cavalry [from the Babylonian conquest], flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses — 4 all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations [like Egypt and the Israelites] by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft. … 18 [God – thru Nahum after the Babylonian conquest of the Assyrians] … “King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber; your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them. 19 Nothing can heal you; your wound is fatal. All who hear the news about you clap their hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty? 

My Journal for Today: I was born and raised in Indiana; and basketball there is called “Hoosier Hysteria.” Therefore, I’m a big round-ball fan; and I root for many teams from my old home state. I love the movie, Hoosiers, which was loosely based on a real town in IN, Milan, who had 83 kids in the entire high school. There were only seven Senior boys in Milan high that year; and five of them played on the Basketball team. And it’s become legend in Indiana about the State Championship that year, where the Goliath, Muncie Central High] [over 3000 students, was beaten 32-30, with a wonderful, miracle shot in the last second of the game.

But in basketball, there can be times when the ref (roundball’s umpire) will call a foul when he/she notes one of the teams or players breaking the rules, … rules which were established to keep the game pure and avoid chaos. At times, when the ref detects a “flagrant foul” (one involving potential bodily harm or extreme advantage), the REF will whistle the fouler and there will be a two-shot free-throw penalty and the ball awarded to the fouled team. Such a whistle judgment from the ref can – and sometimes does – turn the game around

Well, reading the entire book Nahum today in my chronological Bible study, it reminded me – somewhat – of God’s Prophet, Nahum, being God’s referee and calling a VERY FLAGRANT FOUL on “Nineveh” (which was the OT reference to the Assyrian Empire, who had come in and made the Israelites a serfdom of the Assyrians). And the entire book of Nahum is God prophesying what would happen to Nineveh and then documenting what actually took place.

It’s fascinating – historically and spiritually – to read of just how accurate was Nahum’s whistle-call on Nineveh after they deviated into a flagrant foul of disobedience and became such a threat to God’s chosen team, the Israelites. About 100 years earlier, another, though reluctant, Prophet, Jonah, had prophesied about God to Nineveh; and they repented and became ardent followers of the God of Jacob. However, as the game went on Nineveh became a different team, becoming flagrantly disobedient of God’s rules and conquering lands for their empire-building in Egypt, northern Israel, and coming against God’s people in Judah.

But, through Jonah, God blows the whistle on Nineveh; and it is impressive indeed to read just how accurate was God’s whistle-blowing (i.e., prophesy) on the Assyrian Empire. Please take the time needed to digest the highlighted passages above from Nahum, Chapters [the entire book]. And when you see the outcomes of the prophesies in Chapter three, you’ll note - from also studying history or commentaries – that God took this very powerful and wealthy nation apart at the seams at the hands of the Babylonians. God’s flagrant-foul call was devastating for Nineveh; and that nation, who experienced Godly referee’s call through Micah and other prophets, not just given a flagrant whistle-call, they were thrown out of the game. After Babylon captured Nineveh, it was not until the 19th century when archeologists discovered the extent of Nineveh and the Assyrian empire. They were obliterated as a nation.

God’s whistle came down heavy on Nineveh and it changed their lives completely. And that is where I see the “game” of life going for our country … (this once great, Christian nation). We now have leaders who mock God and a President who has openly declared we are “NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION.” Like the Israelites in Nahum’s time (as well as in the times of Isaiah, Micah, and Jeremiah), we are a nation of people who has fallen away from it’s roots as born-again believers who have been adopted into the family of Abraham. We, as a culture, are playing God’s game by committing flagrant foul after flagrant foul; and how can we expect the divine referee of life to NOT TO WHISTLE US ON IT as He did Nineveh as well as Israel and Judah in Nahum’s day? Fortunately for Judah, God honored His promises to David to protect His line forever; and so any of the redeemed and faithful followers of the One, True God will always be allowed to stay in the game of life – FOREVER.

Personally, I think we’ve been whistled, dear ones? And I can only hope – and pray – that our Team (i.e., USA) hasn’t been thrown out of the game, having no desire to play with God’s rules any more. Oh, … just as God promised through Isaiah, Nahum, and other prophets, God will always keep His remnant and faithful followers in His eternal game; but when God’s judgment comes down on a nation like Nineveh, where God’s remnant lives, it has been said, “the rain falls on the just and the unjust;” and the penalty from our Referee, God, the Father, may be painful even for those of us who live in these times.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, have mercy on us who believe You and seek, in obedience, to live under Your righteousness !!! Amen

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