Nahum and Luke

Today’s (Mo 08/01/2018) FDR is Nahum 1 and Luke 18:1-8

What does Nahum chapter 1 and the first 8 verses of Luke chapter 18 share in common?  Not many things but a great powerful and merciful God. Our glorious God as the centre piece.

Yesterday Steve took us into Psalm 99 and concluded with these words:
“. . . shows us that God is both reigning king, mighty and awesome, AND loving father, responsive, forgiving and faithful. What more can we do than to fall upon our knees and ‘exalt the Lord our God for the LORD our God is Holy!’ (v9).”

Today, Nahum’s prophecy in this first chapter prophesies about an overlord called “Ninevah”, a great and worldly powerful oppressor whose descent from its own glory and might occurs in the face of the Lord’s greater power and justice.  This provides us with the same perspective as more ancient readers of this prophecy such as those between 7th century BCE and Christ’s birth.  That is, a message of hope and trust in God for those of us who are oppressed by our own “Nineveh”.  The same message for the ancients and ourselves.

Today also this familiar passage from Luke 18,  as Jesus relates the parable of the lonely and persistent widow and her constant approaches to the normally unsympathetic judge so that he accedes to her requests.   Luke, in his helpful style, identifies for us that the parable’s purpose is prayer.

But how to characterise these two players in this parable?  While it is easy to see ourselves as the petitioner, the widow. Possibly feeling alone and unsuppported.  I don’t believe we should ascribe the role of the judge to God!  In fact, it is my view that the description of the judge is deliberate to encourage us to think about our own perspective in which we see our God.

Is He a grumbling reluctant judge who approves our prayers after we have “droned on” for a while about what we want?  Not so.

The Bible describes an very different God.  Our God, in my experience, is an extremely generous and considerate God.  A personal and committed God, who is keen for each of us to know Him and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as part of our own lives.  Also as part of our collective lives together as the church, as Christ’s redeemed people.   God demonstrates His great care and interest in us in many ways, not the least of these being the provision of both a personal and collective prayer connection for ours and His use, as often and as many times as it is needed.  There are many different prayer modes, of which some examples are, those urgent times when something disastrous is about to occur or has just occurred, when we or our brothers and sisters are in need of grace and peace, and in praise and worship of our great God.

Just three of all the many examples of prayer conversations we can have with God.

Why is prayer so important?  Briefly, prayer demonstrates our faith in God through Christ and it stokes our hunger for things of God encouraging us to leave the sin and mundane of this world and revel in Him.  Prayer is an important part of each of us remaining as an elect child of God and those who will be taken on Christ’s turbulent return to be with Him.

Its time to pray.  Its always time to pray.

Blessings,

Glenn

Note to all diaries: Monthly FAC Community prayer mornings recommence on Sat 3rd February, 2018 from 7am to 9am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Troubling Tones

Today’s life Journal readings are from Jeremiah 13-15 and John 15.

Ever had that sinking feeling where you knew you were in trouble. Perhaps it comes from a phone call or SMS where you realise you’ve totally forgotten something. Some people can bring the “you’re in trouble” message with calm, engaging tones… “Now, Ron, there’s a couple of things I want to talk about…” Oops! As a kid, I knew I was in trouble when my dad used my full name!

RONALD STEPHEN IRVING! (there’s another cat out of the bag)

If you can hear the tones, you’d know the sound of trouble. I don’t think dad particularly enjoyed speaking like and I sure didn’t enjoy hearing. He, mum, or someone else, had tried other ways of communication, but I just hadn’t listened. It took those strong tones and sinking feelings to know that actually this was serious.

Those are the tones of Jeremiah 13-15. It’s a father, needing to let his kids know that what they’ve done is actually very serious. It’s the God of the universe telling his people who were to be “a name, a praise, and a glory BUT (WHO) WOULD NOT LISTEN” that they had become “good for nothing” (Jer 13:10-11).

The chapters paint the picture pretty clearly. Jeremiah is commanded not to pray for the people (14:11), the prophets are prophesying lies (14:14), the people are suffering under the wrath of God. Moses and Samuel even seem to have a go at pleading with God (Jer 15:1), unsuccessfully, and so the people are sent away with 4 types of destroyers who will devour and destroy. On the one hand, this can be traced to the evil king Manasseh (v4), but on the other hand it is the responsibility of the people “You have rejected me, declares the LORD; you keep going backward, so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you.” (15:6). That’s pretty full on. But what’s next is scary “I am weary of relenting.”

A God of wrath who never relents is a scary thing to imagine. Romans 1:18 declares that the wrath of God is being revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness. Wrath is clear. John 15 picks up this idea as well. There are times of pruning for the vine (people) of God. As clear as wrath is throughout scripture, so too is grace clear. Jesus refers to himself when he says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13) He lay his life down, not so God would relent, but so full and perfect forgiveness could be provided for rebellious people like me. That is grace! Grace deals with wrath permanently so that relenting is no longer required. Now, it’s just grace or wrath.

And what does God require of us that we might have this grace? Jesus says “remain in me”. To be in relationship with Jesus. To trust him. There are many wonderful things gained by those who remain in Jesus, but let’s not forget the wonder of escaping the deserved and just wrath of God.

Trusting today you hear the tones of grace as your Heavenly Father calls your name,

Ron Irving.