Thursday November 14
no fish story
Why is God so big on judgment? Perhaps a better question is: Why is God so patient with us?
Nearly everyone knows the story of Jonah. He was swallowed by a big fish and was then spit out onto dry land. Many people also know that Jonah warned the Assyrian city of Nineveh about the judgment to come. Surprisingly, the people repented. But Jonah wanted them to pay for all the horrid things they had done, and so he got mad at God for relenting.
Jonah had a point! The Ninevites did do nasty things to fellow human beings. Yet God’s greater point was that He cares enough about evil people to want them to stop (Jonah 3:9–4:1).
After Jonah had passed from the scene, the Ninevites lapsed into their old ways. A century later, another prophet arose—one that almost no one talks about (no big fish in this story). His name was Nahum, and he brought word of the judgment that Jonah longed for.
Nahum, speaking of God in epic, earth-rattling tones, said that He would “[take] revenge on all who oppose Him” (Nahum 1:2). “He displays His power in the whirlwind and the storm” (v.3). Oceans will “dry up,” and “the mountains quake, and the hills melt away” (vv.4-5). God had drawn a bull’s-eye on Nineveh.
This looming judgment actually gave comfort to one group of people—Nineveh’s victims. Nahum added, “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him. But He will sweep away His enemies in an overwhelming flood” (vv.7-8).
God is always ready to forgive, but He will never turn a blind eye to evil and injustice. He will bring judgment in His own good time. He couldn’t be a good God and do otherwise. —Tim Gustafson
The Lord is slow to get angry, but His power is great; and He never lets the guilty go unpunished (v.3).
Read Hebrews 12:5-11 and consider the difference between God’s discipline and God’s judgment.
Which characteristic are you more inclined to believe about God: His judgment or His patience? Why is it vital for us that He possesses both?