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Monday, August 19, 2002

Edifier du jour-With my trip into Jonah just now, I'm reminded that I've rarely, if ever, read through many of the prophets of the Old Testament (Oh, no! Not Nahum again!). Part of the reason is that there's a lot of wrath in those books. You get some positive prophecy in Joel (Pentecostals like to quote 2:28 ) and Hosea and his unfaithful wife Gomer (Gall-eeee!) are a great metaphor for God's love for Israel/the Church, but the rest can get very dark. Today I hopped over into Micah, just up the Bible from Jonah. I had a "oh, that's where that came from" moment in 1:3-4(NASB)
3 For behold, the LORD is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth. 4 The mountains will melt under Him And the valleys will be split, Like wax before the fire, Like water poured down a steep place.
I remember verse 4 being read dramatically by a British-accented guy on the Michael W. Smith Worship album. The chapter goes on to show that the destructive power of God will be used on the people of Israel for their sins.
5 All this is for the rebellion of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem? 6 For I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open country, Planting places for a vineyard. I will pour her stones down into the valley And will lay bare her foundations. 7 All of her idols will be smashed, All of her earnings will be burned with fire And all of her images I will make desolate, For she collected them from a harlot's earnings, And to the earnings of a harlot they will return. 8 Because of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals And a mourning like the ostriches.
When the LORD does come in power, it frequently isn't pretty. I prefer to bring a message of a loving God ready to forgive our sins, but that message gets weakened when we don't also present the vengeful God ready to punish our sins. While we don't care to hear the brimstone-merchants preaching Hell for the unsaved on the campus quad, the "seeker-friendly" churches who ignore all the politically-incorrect passages on damnation and Hell aren't doing people any favors, either.

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