My dad was a big guy.
Six foot, three inches tall – about 230 pounds.
5' 4" – around 110 pounds (in high school!).
I thought it was great that my dad was a little (a lot) intimidating. Kept me safe.
I vividly remember one night when a couple of guys thought it would be *real fun* to egg my house. They drove up our driveway and launched a salvo of poultry grenades at our front door and windows.
My dad flew out of his chair.
At the time, he was wearing this robe that his mother had bought him on a trip around the world. It was black, with little Chinese letters on it. It made him look like a Ninja warrior.
So, you can imagine what happened when Father Shogun threw open the front door and blasted out onto the driveway!
I have never in my entire life seen a VW Bug speed away so fast! I think it set a land speed record of 0-60 mph in 2 seconds flat.
Fortunately, my dad did not recognize the car or its occupants. I had my suspicions. Only later, much later, did a guy from our church 'fess up and relate that evening from his perspective.
"Man, Shari, I thought your dad would kill us if he got his hands on us. I've never been so scared in my life!"
For you see, I knew that my dad's *bark* was worse than his *bite* – but I was often glad for his bark…
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is from the book of Nahum.
Before sharing the verses, let's explore a little background. Remember good old Nineveh? The city that repented after hearing Jonah's warning of judgment? Well, it seems that (only) a hundred years later, they had forgotten the message, and evil was again reigning.
God called Nahum to pronounce his judgment on the wicked nation of Assyria.
"The LORD is…filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!...he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans dry up, and the rivers disappear…In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and his mountains crumble to dust in his presence." (Nahum 1:2-6)
God has *bark* – and He alone has the power to *bite*.
The world has laws – boundaries and rules that are set up by God. But people regularly flaunt these regulations. God calls this willful disobedience, this rebellion against His control – SIN.
Sometimes it seems that the wicked are escaping justice. That they are succeeding in their evil ways.
But, there is a day coming.
A terrible day of wrath.
Justice will ultimately be served. God will settle all accounts. He will not let sin go unchecked forever.
And woe to those who are not under His grace at that time.
"It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)
Nahum's words are terrifying – even to me, a follower of Christ. Sometimes I think it's a good idea to get a healthy dose of the reality of God's power – His awesome might – His jealous fury. He is not a God to be trifled with – or ignored.
Today's verses serve as a warning to those who remain arrogant and resist God's authority. They will one day face His anger. No one will get away with rejecting Him – no one will be able to hide from His judgment.
For those of us who are believers, today's verses are an admonition. We are not to take the Almighty God lightly. He is a fearsome God who must be feared – worshiped with reverence and awe.
But, to us, He is also something more than a Judge.
He is Mercy Incarnate.
God is compassionate, slow to anger. Praise His name for His patience with me, a sinner who had nowhere to turn but to His salvation.
Jesus took the *bite* out of God’s *bark* for all those who believe on His name.
And those of us who trust Him will be kept safe forever.
"The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)
How do you fear the Lord? How is He your refuge?
"When in doubt, search God out!"