Sierra Vista Baptist Church
Oct 20, 2019
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        Church Wide Clean UP Day

        November 9, 2019 - 8:00 AM - 8:00 AM
        Goal: Clean up behind Baptism area additional suggestions welcome Email: Pastor@sierravista.church with suggestions.
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        Community Hymn Festival

        November 10, 2019 - 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM
        Join other hymn-lovers and lift your voice in praise.
      • Exodus 34:4–8ESV

  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • Intro: Thats not fair! why does good things happen to bad people? Why does bad things happen to good people? I think we have all said these things before. The Book of Nahum helps answer these. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Nahum, it can be found in the minor prophets, it is a small 3 chapter book written in poetic form. Written by Nahum who is a prophet of Elkosh, Nahum is given a message by God to comfort the people of Judah. That comfort? the destruction of Nineveh, the capitol of the Assyrians.
    Written somewhere between 663 to 630 BC. This is like a part 2 for the book of Jonah. Jonah came to the city of Nineveh about 150 years prior and warned of destruction which the people of Nineveh listened to and repented of their sins. apparently they did not remain repentant and once again were known for their cruelty and massive war crimes. A very wicked empire they had become. They had conquered a significant portion of land by the time Nahum comes on the scene, in fact they had already conquered the Northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom. Nineveh has been expanded and has a wall around the city as well as many water controlled projects and a massive palace. The city was destroyed at some point around 612 BC by the Babylonians.
    With this background in mind, we are somewhere in the middle of the waning power of the Assyrians and Nahum is called to bring this message from God. That God is going to destroy the capital of the arrogant Assyrian Empire. Chapter 1 is a prelude to the battle, chapter 2-3 move from preview to actual battle and we get an eyewitness report of what is going to happen. Because this is full of judgment and woe it has been considered by some to be War poetry.
    We are going to read Nahum 1:1-8 which is a poem concerning the character of God.
    (Read)
    (pray)
    Almighty God, in this passage you have set before us a mirror that shows how dreadful your wrath is, we may be humbled before you, and cast ourselves down, that we may not be cast down by your overwhelming power,—grant us, that we may by this instruction be really prepared for repentance, and so avoid that punishment which we daily deserve through our sins, that in the meantime we may be also transformed into the image of your Son, and put off all our depraved lusts, and be cleansed from our vices, until we will at length appear in confidence before You, and be gathered among Your children, that we may enjoy the eternal inheritance of Your heavenly kingdom, which has been obtained for us by the blood of Your Son. Amen.
    ill: Spartans comfort in shield…
    Nahum means ‘consolation, comfort’. The root has a meaning ‘be relieved by taking vengeance’ (Is. 1:24; 57:6), and this would be especially fitting for Nahum. Comfort and relief is brought to God’s people when God takes vengeance on their enemies! Nahum is said to be from Elkosh, there is no consensus as to where that is. Some think it was near Galilee.
    This is a book about God’s comfort. For an oppressed Israel who have been judged by their enemies they didn’t need empty platitudes, like it will be ok, or just feel better about yourself. No! They needed to look to God! To Jehovah the mighty warrior and savior of His people. We find ourselves in situations where we suffer and struggle. Our struggles can range from illness, to poverty, from sickness, to oppression for belief. In all these things we need to look to a powerful warrior a Mighty God.

    (Proposition) Because God, The Divine Warrior carries a Sword and Shield You can Find Comfort.

    1) You can find comfort because God carries a Sword.

    What I would like to highlight first is that God is Yaweh here Jehovah. That is the covenant God mentioned. God is reminding His people about who He is. The language reminds us of God’s saving of the Israelites freedom from Egypt, the parting of the sea and the voice of God on mount Sinai when God came down on the mountain with clouds fire and smoke. Here in Israel, it is likely that religious reform had just begun under the new king Josiah, the nation of Israel had repented of their sins and were now back in proper relationship with God. In order to be comforted they had to recognize who God is. Today we can be comforted by knowing that God caries a two edged sword, one edge is Jealousy and the other vengeance.
    a) Our God is Jealous and avenging (read vs 2): What do you think when you hear God is jealous? Many of us think about this on purely human terms. In human terms it is seen negatively. In humans, jealousy is almost always wrong.
    Let’s define God’s Jealousy first: God’s Jealousy means that God continually seeks to protect His own honor.
    For God Jealousy is a desirable attribute. It is not wrong for God to seek His own honor because He fully deserves it. It is wrong for humans because in humans it is prideful, but in God it is essential. God does not share His glory. Isa 48:11 … “My glory I will not give another.”
    Let’s see what the Bible says about Yahweh as a jealous God. Ex 20:5 , Josh 24:19, Ezek 8:5 the image of a jealous God. God’s sole position as God of His people.
    The jealousy of God arises from his love to his people. He is jealous of his people, lest they should serve any other god, lest they should acknowledge any man as their lord (Ex. 34:14; Deut. 4:24); and he is jealous for his people, lest any should approach them with malicious intention, or for their injury (Deut. 32:43). He avenges both; and hence his coming is not merely (in the first case) an object of fear, but also (in the second case) an object of longing hope on the part of his people. So Ps. 94:1, and here. Vengeance of God is more strictly defined as furious: An avenger is Jehovah and a master of fury; further, as aimed at his adversaries: An avenger is Jehovah with respect to his adversaries; finally, as inevitably realized; that can be deferred, but not arrested: and one, who keeps wrath to his enemies (Lev. 19:18.)
    This Jealousy also ties into God’s wrath. Is it surprising to think that God who loves all that is good and right and good would hate everything that is opposed to it? A definition for God’s wrath is that “God’s wrath means that He immensely hates all sin.”
    Why is God going to pour out His wrath on the Assyrians? Nahum lists some of the sins of Nineveh: Plotting against God (1;9, 11), idolatry (1:14), vile behaviour (1:14), shedding blood, lyings and plundering (3:1), enslaving nations (3:4) presumptions (3:8), cruelty (3:19). Needless to say they were some pretty cruel people, there is some archeological evidence to the way they treated their captives. From the annals of Ashurbanipal describing their campaign in Egypt to quell rebellion: “Tanis and of all the other towns which had associated with them to plot, they did not spare anybody among them. They hung their corpses from stakes, flayed their skins and covered with them the walls of the towns.”
    Does anyone remember in 2004 when insurgents shot and killed a contractor convoy then they hoisted the charred bodies of 4 of the men and hung them from the bridge across the Euphrates River? This happened 246 miles south of the ancient ruins of Ninevah. Just as the world was shocked by the barbaric treatment of the contractors, in the time of Nahum that behavior was seen as barbaric and cruel.
    This is the thumb that the Israelites are living under. Knowing that God is going to avenge His people and destroy evil doers provides immense comfort.
    God’s Jealous and avenging wrath is poured out on His enemies in His own time.
    d) Our God is slow to anger (read vs 3):
    He is slow to anger, long suffering, as He had proved himself in the present instance by a hundred years’ endurance of the wickedness of the Assyrians. Jonah warned them 150 year prior and they repented. Yet they went back to being cruel and vicious. There is two levels of comfort here in God being slow to anger. One because He is slow to anger He gives time for repentance. The Israelites were often out of God’s favor because of their idolatry and sins. God often sent prophets to warn them to repent and turn back to God. There is hope for all of us who live in sin, now is the time to repent and turn back to God. 2 Peter 3:9 sums this up. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
    In times of suffering and struggling we take hope because God’s time is not our timing. It may seem that evil doers are getting away with everything and that they are prospering taking advantage of us, however we know that God is slow in anger for a purpose and that He will not let the guilty go unpunished.
    Illustration: The character of God is always under attack.
    Application: Our comfort in knowing who God is. As Christians we are in the in between, of the destruction of Satan and his kingdom. Like the ancient Israelites we are struggling and suffering. We can be the worlds punching bag, they say that more Christians are being martyred in this century than in any other time. I am often reminded of Rev 6:9-11 “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
    As we can see this longing for justice travels from Genesis all the way to Revelation. Our comfort is that God has a sword and He comes to bring judgment on sin and sinners. All the wrongs are going to be made right in Christ Jesus.
    Halfway through verse 3 we have a transition from God’s character to His power.

    2) You can find comfort because God carries a Shield.

    read vs 4-8.
    This Shield is protection for His people. God’s Power is protection for His people.
    God’s powerful control of nature is a shield of protection for us (Jesus calming the storm): in (vs 3b-6). Here we have that exodus theme again, God the covenant God controls the weather. From His power in writing the law for the people of Israel through the storm. But God also rebukes the sea, think about the Israelites crossing the red sea. God controls the winds and the waves. For a none seafaring nation Israel seemed to have a distrust of the sea and it is often referred to as chaos and untrustworthy in Jewish lit. Likewise the depiction of withering the trees of Lebanon, these massive trees were impressive and God’s ability to wither them was just another reference to His great power.
    Why do you think that the disciples were amazed when Jesus calmed the storm in the New Testament? It was because this is power belonging to God. Jesus’ power over the storm saved the disciples in the boat.
    (read vs 5) I often find myself looking at the mountains that surround us here in Sierra Vista, I cannot imagine them quaking and falling apart. Yet here we have this image of God’s ability to shake them and melt them. Like a small pile of snow in the sun. Ancient Israelites looked at the mountains and hills as a sense of permanence and safety. This description shows that nothing can stand in the way of God’s mighty power. All the things of this world are nothing compared to the power of the Mighty God.
    (read vs 6) drives this home. Who can stand before His indignation? The description of mountains melting before God rivers drying up, mighty oaks shriveling up before the wrath of God, nothing can stand. Do you feel that power in the words?
    God protects His people:(vs 7-8): I find it interesting in this description of the wrath of God, God through Nahum includes vs 7.
    (Read) vs 7.
    Here the prophet writes that God is good. It is almost like he knows our objections playing in our mind. If God is the wrathful what can we humans do? The whole world will face this terrible judgment that Ninevah faces. But God is also good it is because of His goodness that He is wrathful and pours forth judgment. God is jealous for good. For people facing the brutality of the Assyrians this is a comfort. Because God is for good, we can run to Him for safety. He is the guardian for His people. In the day of distress God is a stronghold. Not only that, God knows who take refuge in Him, we cannot miss this powerful point. He knows those who hope in Him, He is concerned with the individuals that trust in Him for salvation, God cares for their safety, He preserves the faithful those that have jumped on the life boat of Jesus Christ the Savior. But know this God can tell the difference from true believers and hypocrites, those who truly worship God with sincerity and those who are only going through the motions.
    (read vs 8) continues the thought that those who are not God’s He will destroy utterly. Ninevah is going to be completely destroyed. As we see in future sermons it will be quite brutal and just.
    Ill:
    App:
    Con: From this opening in the Book of Nahum we get a picture of God as Mighty Warrior Holding the sword of justice in one hand and a shield of protection for His people in His other hand. Unlike modern caricatures of a God who is a tottering old Grandpa or ineffective, or a big Santa Clause, this God of Nahum our Mighty God is involved in His Creation. God is involved in redeeming His people from sin. We can have great comfort in God’s justice. If you are suffering, maybe wondering about some of those opening questions I hope that this has been a comfort to you. God is at work making things new. God started this in Jesus Christ that those who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life, and life more abundant. Would you be comforted? Look at this image of God who is at war with evil and in His timing He will make all things right. That is our hope.
    (pray)
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        Bible Study

        November 7, 2019 - 6:30 PM - 6:30 PM
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        Church Wide Clean UP Day

        November 9, 2019 - 8:00 AM - 8:00 AM
        Goal: Clean up behind Baptism area additional suggestions welcome Email: Pastor@sierravista.church with suggestions.
      • Download

        Community Hymn Festival

        November 10, 2019 - 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM
        Join other hymn-lovers and lift your voice in praise.

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