The book of Nahum is only three chapters long, and it’s one of the minor prophets that doesn’t get a lot of attention by church leadership when planning worship services! While we may encounter some harsh language, we need to keep in mind that Nahum was prophesying to a stubborn group of people who were refusing to repent.
Historically, Nahum’s focus is on Nineveh, and we’ll see the prediction and celebration of Nineveh’s demise. Nineveh was the center of the Assyrian empire, and the Assyrians had been used by God to bring Israel to its knees for their own rebellion and sinfulness. We encountered Nineveh before in the book of Jonah.
We can tell a lot about James’ audience by what he teaches them. It seems they may have had a lot of similar faults to people we may recognize. Jealousy, selfishness, boasting, and lying are not uncommon in our culture today and might even be running rampant. What does James say about that? “Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.”
Take a moment to let that sink in. Demonic. It makes sense. Those attributes are certainly distasteful when you have experienced the Holy Spirit living inside you. James warns us to stay away from such things, for in them evil resides. Clearly his readers are having a hard time trading in their worldly habits and ideas in exchange for God’s viewpoint. Thankfully, James gives us a solution.
You can’t read this account and not wonder why Joab is still free to kill whoever gets in his way. You’ll recall that David replaced Joab with Amasa. What fuels Joab’s anger? Is it jealousy?
In this case, it certainly could be. Amasa had taken his place beside the king. But Amasa was his cousin! Shouldn’t Joab have showed some mercy? Amasa was even on a different mission than Joab. This isn’t the first time Joab acted with such ruthlessness that a life was lost.
Saul has it right, but for all the wrong reasons. What keen irony that Saul would think David is after this place on the throne. It is actually God’s plan, and Saul has not be privy to this information. David is certainly making a name for himself and becoming quite popular with the people.
We have not seen David ever try to manipulate Saul or take the limelight. But God is with David, and everything David touches is successful. Wouldn’t it be healthier for Saul to see that David is a loyal warrior? Every victory of David only makes Saul, the king, look that much better for having chosen so wisely!
When we think about how the world began, Adam and Even no doubt come to mind. The names Cain and Abel may also be familiar to us as the first two sons born of the first couple. Sibling rivalry at it’s worst. If you’ve had children or had siblings growing up, you know that there are times when kids don’t get along. Since each of us is gifted differently, there are bound to be issues. For instance, the musically inclined may wish they were athletic and visa versa. Perhaps the oldest (or the youngest) gets more attention. It’s when jealousy gets so overpowering that it can be dangerous.
In our Biblical account, the jealousy turned deadly. We’re not told why Cain’s sacrifice wasn’t accepted, but that was a big deal for him. We did hear that Abel brought “choice” lambs from the “best” of his flock for his sacrifice. It didn’t say Cain’s was bad, but it didn’t indicate it was his “best” stuff. God could clearly see the heart. In Cain’s despair, God cautioned him, “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Obviously, Cain was not able or willing to be a master over this evil. Continue reading “Genesis 4:1-16 – Jealousy”