That's the Book: Nahum
I'm a mom. I spend a good deal of time pointing out dangers. Don't touch. Don't talk to strangers. Be careful online. Don't eat that. You know. Trying to keep my kids safe.
The prophet Nahum had a three chapter poem message regarding the city of Ninevah. Remember Jonah? The people of Ninevah repented for awhile. 100 years later and they were more violent than ever. God had enough. So Nahum the prophet spoke out predicting their downfall and destruction.
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. Nahum 1:2-3
The fear of the Lord is one of the ideas in the Bible of which people strong opinions. People either point to it as a reason never to believe in God or they try to explain it away.
The explain it away camp frequently define fear as reverential awe. As in I'm so amazed at God's size and ability I will quietly ponder and be grateful.
"Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him." Nahum 1:6
Hmmmm. When I read Nahum I really don't think he was only talking about reverential awe. I think the point is that crossing God and standing against his people is not a good idea. I have a healthy fear. Like the kind that says don't touch a hot stove. Don't cross this line into oncoming traffic. Just back up slowly when you see an electric fence. Fear can keep you safe. I have enough fear of addiction to never touch meth. I have a healthy fear of wrecking my marriage to abide by some tight boundaries. I don't joke about weapons in the airport security line. I don't tease police dogs. I'm sure you don't either. If I were in trouble though I'd be the first to dial 911. Truth is I want the people protecting me to be strong enough to respond.
Here's the hard rub though. This is where the other camp shows up. Who wants to follow a God you have to fear? Scary isn't exactly the idea we want to tell our kids in Sunday School. Hold on though.The God is scary theme forgets to keep the message in context of the whole narrative. God is also love.
The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.
Nahum 1: 7
Anyone who is a fan of C.S. Lewis is familiar with the character of Aslan in Narnia. This mighty lion is an allegory for Jesus. Listen to what Mr. Beaver tells Lucy about him.
"Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
The fear of the Lord makes me want to be on the right side of history. On His side of His Story. When you figure out that God is powerful enough to conquer all the things you are scared of then some level of actual fear should attend. He is powerful enough to save you.
I did my research on this post. Much credit goes to these great posts from some of my favorite voices.
Andy Stanley: The Beginning of Wisdom READ HERE
John Piper: The Goodness of God and the Fear of God. READ HERE
Liz Curtis Higgs: Fear Can Be a Good Thing READ HERE
JoHannah Reardon: What does it mean to fear God? READ HERE
The team at The Bible Project helps me to think through where these minor prophets fit in the major story. It may help you to watch and learn.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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