Thankful for God’s Jealousy, Vengeance, & Anger

I am thankful today for God’s jealousy, vengeance, and anger.

I haven’t always felt that way. In the past, as I’ve studied the Old Testament and read about God being a jealous God, seeing his anger burn against the people he created, and observing his vengeance, I frankly didn’t like it. I don’t like thinking of God that way. I want a God who is soft and cuddly, the prince of peace, the good shepherd. Basically I want a Teddy Bear God, not a Righteous Judge.

But God’s nature includes both, which allows him to provide us with exactly what we need. I’ve been taking a tour through the minor prophets lately and yesterday came to Nahum 1. The first thing Nahum says is,

The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies!

Wow … what a way to begin your book! Sure makes me want to keep reading! While these sentences are about God’s “burning anger,” it’s really about his power and the fact that he is in control (sovereign) over all things. The person who put up this church sign fully understands this!

While his anger may seem troubling, it is actually very comforting to realize that God has everything under his control.

I don’t have to worry about vengeance and wrath. He’s got it!
I don’t need to become angry over injustices in the world. He’s got it.
I don’t need to worry about natural disasters. He’s got it.
And He’s got me, regardless of the situation!

Verse 7 completes the picture: “The Lord is good.” I believe that. He’s got me!

To lead from the heart, we need an accurate and whole picture of God. A leader after God’s own heart is surrendered to him and trusts him. He’s got it!

Source of My Peace

Today’s Bible Passage: Micah 5

“And he will be the source of our peace” (Micah 5:5).

In verse 2, Micah prophesied the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Verse 3 reveals that the people would be abandoned to their enemies until his birth, which was fulfilled as the Jewish people came under Roman rule. Verse 4 shows the Messiah as a shepherd leading his flock, a foreshadowing of Jesus as our Good Shepherd (John 10 and other passages).

Verse 5 gives us our hope in Jesus as our Shepherd-Messiah-Savior-Lord. He is our peace.

He told his followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). He is our “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He brings a peace to those who believe in him — a peace unlike anything the world has to offer. But he does much more than just give us peace. He is our source of peace!

When life is uncertain, troubled, hectic, seemingly unraveling, Jesus is my source of peace. When I abide in him as my true source of power and provision (John 15:5), I will have that peace that is beyond all understanding (Phil. 4:7). When I feel overwhelmed, overburdened, overworked, underresourced, underloved, and under pressure, Jesus is the source of my peace. I can rest in him. He’s got this!

Jesus, today I’m feeling anxiety and pressure, and I’m feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. I bring these to you and surrender them to you. As I abide in you today, provide me with that peace that transcends all understanding, a peace that can only come from you. Help me to remember throughout the day today that you truly are my source of peace, and to abide in you. Help me to do what your Word encourages me to do: to trust in you with all my heart, to not lean on my own understating but in all my ways to acknowledge you, and I know that you, Lord, will make the path straight for me today. 

I’m a Gomer … and So Are You

Hosea has never been a Bible book I’ve paid a lot of attention to. Until now, I may have never quoted it. None of my favorite or memory verses are from it. But as I read it now, I’m amazed by it’s very clear and meaningful illustration of God’s character, ways, and love for us.

This morning as I read chapter 2 and let it soak into my life, God spoke to me about Himself.

In the prophet Hosea’s true-to-life story, his wife, Gomer, represents the nation of Israel. She also represents God’s church and each of us as individuals. Each of us have treated God with contempt. I have chased after other “gods” in this world. I’ve prostituted myself to the world. I’ve committed adultery against Him. I’ve selfishly taken advantage of His blessings and spent them on the lusts of this world. I’m a Gomer … and so are you. (I’m also a Goober … but that’s another story entirely.)

The story of Hosea is this: God comes after us. Even when we have sinned and treated Him with contempt, as Gomer (Israel) had, he seeks after us to win us back. Gaaw-aawl-ly!

As you read trough Hosea 2, especially beginning in verse 14, notice that all the actions (“I will …”) begin with God, not us. God pursues us. He returns our blessings to us and transforms our lives. He causes us to “forget” our “Baal images.” Not only that, but someday God will restore His creation to it’s original state and put an end to all wars. The point is that no matter how bad things seem to be in this world, God is still ultimately in charge and will someday redeem and restore all things. Neither individuals, governments, nor any force in this world, including Satan, are really in control. Surprise, surprise, surprise!

This whole passage reminds us of God’s promises. He says, “I will,” and by faith, we believe He will. God extends His covenant to us. He woos us, pursues us, faithfully loves us despite our unfaithfulness to Him. Shazam! 

Father, thank you for wooing me. I’m sorry for the ways I’ve run after other “gods,” trying to satisfy my lusts with other things. I’m sorry for prostituting myself to this world and committing adultery against you. I’m amazed that you still want me and that you pursue me as you do. You have been faithful to me even when I have taken your blessings and used them for my own worldly satisfaction. Father, I accept your faithful love for me. I am yours, all yours. You are my God. You are my only God! Lord, I know you will transform my troubles into opportunities for joy and hope and peace and life to the full. I believe that you can and will help me to turn from my temptations and sin and, only by your awesome power, to live a holy and blameless life. Father, I admit my own powerlessness over all these other gods that woo me, and I submit to your power in my life–your holiness, your ways. Thank You, Father for the way you are planting joy and goodness and love in my life through Your Spirit. Thank You for Your love for me. I am Yours. You are my God!

The One Thing a Leader Must Know

At the center of a spiritual leader’s competencies is an unshakable belief that God is sovereign.

Even (or maybe especially) in the midst of difficult or even tragic situations, a leader knows that God is in control and will work for the good.

“As the princess opened [the basket that she found in the river], she found the baby boy. His helpless cries touched her heart.”
– Exodus 2:6, NLT

Exodus 1 recounts the terrible suffering in Egypt of the Israelites, God’s chosen people. They were being worked to death as slaves by brutal, ruthless slave drivers and their newborn baby boys were being killed. When all seemed hopeless, Moses entered the scene and we see God’s sovereignty at work. Through a series of dramatic, made-for-TV situations and circumstances, God used Moses to save his people. You probably know the rest of the story (if you don’t, buckle up and read Exodus).

God had a plan for his people through all of their trials and tribulations. There’s no way they could have seen or understood it in the midst of their tremendous sufferings. But God was at work; He had a plan. He even used the daughter of the one who was inflicting the pain to bring about his purposes.

Faith is based upon the understanding that God is in control over all his creation, including every circumstance in which you as a Christ-follower find yourself. Today, if you are conflicted or hurting or confused, know that God is indeed sovereign. Rather than looking at the circumstances, keep your eyes on Christ. Ask what God is doing in the midst of this. What does God want me to learn through this? How is he at work behind the scenes? Who might he send to help walk me through this? Read Philippians 4 today.

God is sovereign. He really is!