Proverbs 8 12-8-22

God’s patience (long-suffering) and love are beyond anything man can imagine. He IS God, you know!

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

We have been looking at four questions I wrote at the end of chapter two of, “A Grand Illusion,” by David Young about what radical progressives believe–or don’t believe.

Why do we need to recognize Jesus as Lord?
Why do we need a Savior?
How can the Bible be “living and breathing?”
What is holiness?

We are on the fourth question,

What is holiness?

Holiness is the character of God. Whatever God is like, that is holiness. Let’s look at some verses that tell us about the character of God.

PART 3

We continue reviewing the Scriptures that list characteristics of God. Yesterday, we continued with Psalm 103:8-13 and Joel 2:13-14. Today, we look at Nahum 1:3 and Jonah 4:2.

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.
Nahum 1:3

From Chuck Swindoll,

The Assyrian Empire, which had its capital at Nineveh, was at its most powerful in the first half of this period, having a stranglehold on Judah during King Manesseh’s reign. Also, while the book of Nahum mentions the destruction of Thebes, it does not mention its reconstruction, which took place in 654 BC. This leads us to date Nahum’s prophecy between the years of 663 and 654 BC.
Nahum preached during the reign of King Manesseh, one of the most evil kings in Judah’s long history, a man who needed the pain of his own experience to teach him the lessons of being a good king. Commentator J. Barton Payne suggests that Manasseh’s great conversion took place late in his reign, around 648 BC, a mere half-dozen years before his death. That means Nahum preached during the darkest period in Judah’s history to that point, a time filled with idolatry of all kinds in a nation that had completely turned its back on God. The Lord’s willingness to send Nahum, whose name means “comfort,” into such a hopeless situation evidences His unrelenting and overwhelming grace.

God was dealing with Israel’s disobedience, particularly Manasseh’s. Look at what happened,

10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. 2 Chronicles 33:10-13

So, God finally got Manasseh’s attention. He then blessed him by returning him to Jerusalem. So, what about Jonah?

He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah 4:2

Jonah was upset at God for reneging on His intention to destroy Nineveh. Or, was God’s “intention” a warning? When the people repented starting with the king and then all the people, God “relented.” Taking a step back, I see the discipline of a loving Father. The Babylonian army was gearing up in Babylon. Who knows? It might have been them. We do know this: In 50 years, the Babylonians took over the entire area. Here is an interesting note. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. Because of their repentance, they were not overturned. Later, they were responsible for taking the ten tribes of Israel captive, which was brought on by the unrepentance of Israel.

Tomorrow, we look at our last OT passage. I believe that we will see a great insight as we dive into that passage. Today, let’s praise God for being such a loving and patient Father.

Abba, You are our Father and You love Your children. The sooner we recognize this fact and acknowledge You even as Manasseh did, the sooner we can have victory in our lives. Keep striving with us, Lord. We need you! Amen.

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