Nahum 3:19 – To be spared or not to be (that is the question)

The latter part of Nahum 3:19 poses a question – “Upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” While the direct reference here is to the city of Nineveh and its wicked king, it can be extrapolated that the Assyrian king is a reference to the devil, as stated by prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 14:25). By beguiling Eve and through her Adam (2 Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3), the deceiving serpent (the devil) subjected the entire creation to become sinful and be subject to death (Romans 5:12) and in that sense, the wickedness of the devil has passed over all continually since the willful disobedience of men.

Interestingly though, just as the last verse in the book of Nahum, an oracle against the city of Nineveh, ends with a question, so also the book of Jonah, which concerns the city of Nineveh, ends with a question – a question posed by God. The question is “Should I not spare Nineveh, the great city, its people and even its cattle?” God spared Nineveh, a little over 150 years ago (during the time of Jonah around 780 to 750 BC) but Nineveh had willfully chosen to revert to its wicked and evil ways, bringing God’s judgment on them, and this time, it was not going to be spared (during the time of Nahum around 615 to 612 BC).

Points to ponder:
The question is “Has not the wickedness of the evil one (devil) passed over us?” In other words, “Are we sinful?” All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And with sin came death for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). There is no one righteous, no not even one (Romans 3:10) meaning that all deserve death. Though the wicked (sinful) deserve to die, God is a God who spares, for he spared not his own Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:32). Jesus Christ willfully accepted to become the sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:12) and paid the wages of sin by his death (John 19:30).  Jesus was crucified in our place. So everyone who believes in him has eternal life (John 3:16).

And those who have believed, let us not revert back to our sinful ways (as did the people of Nineveh), drawing back into perdition (Hebrews 10:39). for if we keep on willfully sinning after having received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation of the Lord (Hebrews 10:26-27), which shall devour his enemies (friends of the world – James 4:4).

Have you believed in Jesus Christ to be spared? If you have, are you living according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Romans 8:1)?
To be spared or not to be – that is the question.

Nahum 3:19 (KJV)
19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

Jonah 4:11 (KJV)
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Hebrews 10:26-27 (KJV)
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Romans 8:1 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Christian Verbs :: R is for Repenting

Did you know that even God repents? He does not repent as we do, because He is sinless, blameless, pure and Holy, but He repents when he has to chastise us for our sinfulness. 1 Chronicles 21 records the incident of how David was enticed by Satan to do the evil of numbering his people which was an expression of his own abilities and not his dependence on God and so God sent forth an angel to destroy Jerusalem and seventy thousand men were killed. God’s disciplining arm was indeed an expression of His love, for God chastises whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). But when God’s judgment fell on His people for the sin of David, God said, “Enough“, and He held back the punishment. He prefers our repentance over His revenge/repayment; our confession over His chastisement.

Jesus started His ministry preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near”. The counsel that is given to the Church of Ephesus is that they ought to repent because they had forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4-5). This counsel is very much applicable to each one of us as well. In our humanness, we have the tendency to forget and forsake our first love and fall, many times not realizing as to how far we fall. We backslide foolishly when we seek short term pleasure in exchange for long term pain, making mistakes and hurting not only God, but many a times our beloved ones. It is therefore important for us to first remember and then repent; remember from where we have fallen, so that we can experience the depth of grace, as to how far God and our loved ones needs to reach down, to lift us up back out of the miry pit. The road to restoration begins with repenting our sins to God and reconciling with the ones we have hurt. The blessed assurance that remains, thankfully is that no matter how sinful we have been, there is no accusation or condemnation in Christ Jesus. God is willing to forgive us, when we earnestly seek Him and repent of our evil ways. He says, “Come let us reason together;  though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus expressed that the prayer of a penitent (repenting) sinner will not go unheard by God and we can be assured of this. His unconditional love and grace extends from the purest of saints to the vilest of sinners (and I count myself to be one among the latter).

As Christians, who have the foreknowledge of Salvation, when we backslide, we need to remember and repent (which is to turn back completely) so that God can restore in us a clean heart, one that genuinely loves Him and His people. When we repent, we need to confess for when we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

1 Chronicles 21:15 (KJV)
15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

Revelation 2:4-5 (KJV)
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;

Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

1 John 1:9 (KJV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Can a leopard change his spots?

The prophet Jeremiah asks two possibly rhetorical questions, to illustrate that it is impossible for sinners (those accustomed to do evil), which is you and I, to be saved by our own accord.
The questions recorded in Jeremiah 12:23 are 1. Can the Ethipioan change his skin and 2. Can the leopard change his spots?

Think about this, can a leopard change his spot? Likewise, we cannot rid ourselves of our sinful habits (sins’ dark spots), except by the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus can make you spotless clean.
For a tow truck to be able to pull a defunct vehicle, it’s engine needs to be more powerful to pull the weight of the vehicle. There is power in Jesus and no matter how heavy our sins and situations are, He can pull you through.

So ask God today to be THE Strength, to overcome sinful habits that hold us in bondage. We cannot do it on our own, save by Jesus alone, for He paid it all.

Lord, now indeed I find. Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leopard’s spots And melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Jeremiah 12:23
      Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? the may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.