Don’t fret over the guilty

The book of Nahum is not a popular Old Testament and the author is not one of the Major Prophets because the book is very short in length—only three (3) chapters. However, there is a powerful message that can build our confidence in the character and power of God. Nahum predicts and describes Nineveh’s fall. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, a powerful empire during ancient times. The Assyrians were cruel and ruthless enemies of God’s people. But Nahum said:

 “The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.” -Nahum 1:3

Few people can stare into the face of such raw power as that of the Assyrian empire and come away unimpressed. Nahum did so only because he had seen a far greater power—the power of a God whose wrath could shatter rocks. If God was angry, how could Nineveh stand? Nahum’s absolute confidence in God is underlined throughout his book. Nahum sounds unintimidated, almost lordly. He spoke with confidence because he knew God’s character.1

Like Nahum, there’s a sense of boldness and unintimidating confidence when you know a far greater power—the power of a God that spoke the Universe into existence, which we marvel at to this day. Yet, this same powerful God is a loving Father who delights in caring for us and obligates Himself to protect and provide for His people…those who trust and obey Him as their Lord and Savior.

Those who are confident in God’s power and love are not intimidated by others who parade themselves as equal in power to the only living and true God of the Universe. So, like Nahum, we can speak with confidence because we know God’s character.

Too often we fret over the guilty—those who take advantage of others—exploitation, extortion, and oppression. Too often we give up and retreat disheartened by the pain caused when the guilty go free. Too often we compromise our values and succumb to the influence of those guilty of promoting immorality, hatred and injustice. Too often we are guilty of being entertained by the slanderous remarks about those trying to enhance the quality of life for the poor and disadvantaged. Too often we are guilty of joining forces with those who devise plans to set themselves up as the great powers that be—do not fret over the guilty, neither be afraid. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Remember, the LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. Therefore, make sure you’re not among the “guilty.”

More important, if you find yourself among the guilty, there’s a way out. Jesus Christ.  He died on the Cross among the “guilty” although He was innocent. He was crucified with the guilty so that everyone could be declared “not guilty” although we all deserve the penalty of sin. Yet, God’s love is so incomprehensible that He made it as easy as ABC for us…. Admit/Acknowledge your guilt (I am a sinner). Believe in your heart that His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sin, and that He rose from the dead. Confess (declare) with thanksgiving by faith He is your Savior and Lord by asking Him to come into heart,  take control of your life and change you from the inside out.  It’s that simple to start your journey to learn more about God and become confident in His character just as Nahum.  As a result, you won’t have to fret over the guilty.

1NIV Student Bible Journal

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Seeing as God Sees

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But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. I Samuel 16:7 (Amplified)

As we become more Christ-centered and Kingdom-minded our desire should be to see as God sees, especially concerning people. I’ll admit it’s challenging because our sin nature demands that we put people under the microscope that can only see their outward appearance, and yet we make prejudgments based on what we see with the natural eye.

Undoubtedly, even as devoted Christians we have formed opinions and made decisions based solely on the externals. In many instances, we have probably listened to the prejudged viewpoints of others that were based on outward appearances.

However, as we die daily to live in the Spirit it should become easier to see from God’s perspective. Seeing people as being made in the image and likeness of God should motivate us to love as God loves—unconditionally and unbiased. What an awesome privilege the Lord has lavished on us to see people as He does.

More importantly, God wants to use us to see the God-given potential in others, speak and sow into their lives so that they can live purposefully in the Kingdom of God for His glory. Of course, we can only be effective if we have been retrained to see as God sees, hear what He says and do what He commands.

A biblical example of this is recorded in I Samuel 16:7. After Saul’s disobedience his reign as king over Israel had to end. God sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king (this time it would be God’s choice not the people’s choice as with Saul). When Samuel saw Jesse’s eldest son he assumed he would be the one God would anoint as king. This assumption was based on Eliab’s looks. But the Lord told Samuel this was not the one. He said, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Herein is a truth that will never change. Samuel heard God clearly and was not swayed by Jesse or the elders. Jesse’s seven sons passed before Samuel until the last one who was the most “unlikely” appeared—David.

Like Samuel, we have a tendency to look at the outward appearances. We classify people as “most likely to succeed.” Too often individuals are chosen to fill positions, or are given assignments and titles because their appearance suggests a certain status, or their gifts and talents complement a certain style of ministry, or the agenda that we have designed for our church or our ministry.

In addition, we dismiss persons we categorize as “only lay members” in the church, and those who bring nothing to the table. And we definitely rule out individuals in the socio-economically and culturally challenged status quo, not realizing that God has already anointed them for specific assignments in the Kingdom.

To rule out God’s chosen and anointed based on outward appearance is religious discrimination and snobbery according to James. He gives an example of prejudging based on outward appearance (James 2:1-5).

I’m excited about seeing as God sees! I encourage you to get excited too. For in God’s set timing many will be surprised; and probably become depressed as Saul, when God dethrones them, raises up and brings to the front lines the “unlikeliest” individuals who have a heart for God to advance the Kingdom and usher in a mighty move of God through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Notice that even after David was anointed king, no one identified with his kingly anointing. He was still referred to as “being with the sheep.” Although God had anointed him king, he was Saul’s armor-bearer, who played the harp to soothe Saul’s manic depression and bipolar disorder (these are my diagnoses). David was summoned based on his outward appearance (his attractiveness) and his apparent abilities to play the harp, speak eloquently and wage war. These visible qualities were essential for a king and fulfilling God’s purpose, but it was his heart that God saw—David was man after God’s own heart.

When we chase after the heart of God, become more committed to Kingdom building and desiring to see God’s purpose fulfilled in the lives of people, our perspective about life in general will change. It is certain that times change, but the basic need of all people will never change—to be reconciled back to God through faith in Jesus the Christ, Savior of the world.

Thank God! The finished works of Jesus on the cross at Calvary made reconciliation for all mankind possible. And we have been given the ministry and message of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:18-20). It is our responsibility to teach others how to live victoriously through faith in Jesus Christ. However, if we don’t see as God sees we fail to carry out our responsibility.

We all can have powerful and purposeful lives by practicing the Presence of the Lord in everyday living. This is God’s desire for all people. Therefore, it should be our desire also. The externals should not matter: facial features, height, skin color; who they are; who they know; what they have, or don’t have; what they can do… What really matters is their heart’s desire to know their God and serve Him. We must remember that people are special to God—saved or unsaved, they are His people. (Psalm 24:1).

As we continue walking in the Spirit we will not yield to the desires of the flesh. Particularly, looking at the outward appearance, which equates to seeing people only in the natural, with the natural eye will cause us to yield to our sin nature. Instead of seeing the good in people, we only see the bad. Rather than seeing untapped potential, we will focus on past mistakes.

Seeing as God sees liberates us from living in bitterness and unforgiveness toward those who hurt us. We won’t be so eager to sow seeds of discord, spread rumors and gossip based on the externals. I am convinced that God deals with heart matters—hidden motives, thoughts and intentions, especially in His “chosen” leaders. Furthermore, He is able to handle any situation His way, and without our negative input regardless of what we may think we know about someone or a situation. We must trust God to be Sovereign in everything that concerns His kingdom and His purpose. Our responsibilities are to always do the right thing, look for the good and pray. (Okay… I kinda went off there!)

Seeing as God sees eradicates envy, jealousy and strife among family members, brothers and sisters in Christ, and other ethnic groups. Seeing as God sees causes us to speak blessings even upon our enemies. Ultimately, seeing as God sees should compel us to love as God loves.

In order to impact the world with distinguishing qualities and characteristics as that of light and salt according to Matthew 5:13-16, we must maintain a “God-conscious” attitude. This requires a transformation process—a renewing of the mind, which comes through the power of the Holy Spirit and the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, working cohesively as we surrender to the process.

Finally, according to Ephesians 2:10, we are God’s own handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead in time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Therefore, our interaction with people—everyone God places in our path—is as an opportunity see as God sees (the good ), and do the good that God planned for us to do toward others so that we all can live the good life He purposed for us through Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. Seeing as God sees…Is that awesome or what!

Copyright 2006, 2009 Queen E. F. Phillips, Majestic Publishing Ministry
A Majestic Publication—Publishing the good news of the King and His Kingdom.  All rights reserved.  Permission granted to distribute for nonprofit purposes only with credit given to copyright owner.