Sunday, January 04, 2015

Contineo – the Sequel

I resisted the temptation to dive into a new set of Bible notes until the New Year began.  There is a sense in which I think God almost sighs, even yawns perhaps, when I dig these things out. I have a ticky-box gene along with all the other interesting genes.  I am not saying that quiet times are a bad thing because they are not but sometimes they can become part of a routine – something you do because you have always done it and there may be this vague idea of a bad day ahead if you don’t.  When it ceases to be life or stir your innards and becomes words just tossed about in your head maybe it’s time to do something else instead.

The opening studies are all about Nahum.  I wonder if, in heaven, there are many people that go up to Nahum and say, “I really loved your book, by the way.” Perhaps he is one of the book writers of the Bible who heaven dwellers avoid because they know they never read his book. I am reading it.

It’s about Ninevah.  When I think of Ninevah I think of Jonah and the Whale. Jonah warned the inhabitants of Ninevah about God’s coming judgement upon them.  They repented, seriously so, the king coming down from his throne and tearing his clothes, and the punishment was averted.  Jonah sat sulking for a while under a vine.  Jonah spoke his warning one hundred and fifty years before Nahum began prophesying.  You’d think that having come so close to being obliterated by God the people would have been a lot more careful about how they treated God and God’s people.  A slow slide away from honouring God over the next one hundred and fifty years led to them being told that the end was coming.  One hundred and fifty years of forgetting how close they came to destruction. There was going to be no mass repentance this time and no king climbing down from his throne.  This time there would be nothing left of them. Nahum was no Jonah. This time there would be no escape.

The name Nahum means comfort and consolation.  Nahum was not there to comfort or console the inhabitants of Ninevah.  His words of comfort and consolation were for God’s people who had been mistreated for years.

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7

How much more comfort do you need? It must be hard to hold on to such words when life all around you seems to be saying that God isn’t good, that he can’t help you and he doesn’t care what happens to you.  Life says it.  Nahum said otherwise.  We need, sometimes, to stop listening to life and pay attention to Nahum.

There is another verse that I really connected with:-

“Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.” Nahum 1:13

What an incredibly strong picture that presents!  The yoke broken spoke to me about release, complete and lasting. The yoke is broken so that it can’t be used again. The shackles are torn away.  They are not placed in a storage box to be taken out at a later date and put back on. God comes across as angry that His people have been enslaved.  Throughout the Old Testament God uses other nations to punish Israel for their idolatry, but when the nations he uses takes the opportunity given them to have victory over Israel and take it too far, becoming too cruel, God gets angry.

What particularly came to mind was a yoke of sickness and shackles of illness.  Many of my friends are involved in Healing on the Streets.  I saw them in my mind breaking yokes and tearing off shackles.

I shared all this in our meeting this morning.  One of my friends had been off work for quite a while struggling to overcome a virus. He needed to be back at work. A move to a lighter task in the workplace was a possibility but not guaranteed. My friend wanted his health back.

Contineo – my Latin word, “to hold together, to keep together, to connect or to join.” I had connected with a word spoken by God to Nahum. I had connected to a word about breaking yokes and tearing off shackles.  I had connected that in my mind to victory breaking a yoke of sickness.  The circuit was almost complete.  

Praying scripture is amazing.  It’s God’s word on the issue, not mine.  It’s God’s power on display, not mine.  I prayed for friend, speaking out the words of Nahum into the situation.

Yes, perhaps God sighed again.  There were no yawns this time.  The connection between His word and his healing touch had been made. 


The adventure continues

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