2 Chronicles 5:1-6:11, 1 John 4, Nahum 3, Luke 19 

Author - Jim McCracken Jr.

Nahum 3….Nahum was a prophet of God living in Jerusalem during the Assyrian occupation.  He was the second prophet sent by God to Nineveh.  Jonah was the first.  Jonah had a problem with the mission.  Nahum accepted his without complaint.  Both were given the assignment to speak a message of God to the fiercest, bloodthirsty nation on the planet.  Both prophets had seen and heard of the savage way Assyrians treated their Israeli brethren.  Neither prophet was afraid of the mission.  Both probably figured that they would die as martyrs on the mission.  The main difference between the two men was one of the heart.  Jonah hated the Assyrians and wanted them to experience the wrath of God for what they had done to his relatives.  Nahum loved God and left the judging of Nineveh to God.  Nahum would speak the words of God as he was given them.  He would not add or subtract from the very words of God to the enemy, Assyria.  The words were hard, harsh words.  Nahum held nothing back.  God was going to totally destroy evil Assyria for their unmerciful treatment of God’s people and their continued worship of the false goddess, Ishtar.  Nahum was God’s faithful messenger.  He was given a great commission to give his life away for the undeserving and take the news of God one more time to a rejecting people.  Sounds just like the assignment that God the Father gave the Son, Jesus…and the assignment that Jesus has given to us.

1 John 4…”Beloved, do not believe every spirit….”  The apostle John was writing to the churches under his care.  Some of the leaders of those church plants had deviated from the apostles’ teachings about Jesus.  They had fallen victim to false teachers who were teaching that Jesus was spirit only…that He was never in the flesh…and therefore He could never be the atonement for anyone’s sin…and in addition, they believed He never rose from the dead.  So John was writing to teach the brethren how to know a true teacher from a false one.  Where do they line up with Jesus?  Was HE God in the flesh, living and dying on the earth, upon a cross, in order to pay for our sins and purchase us a place in heaven that we could never acquire on our own?  Was Jesus’ dead human body laid in a tomb and shut up with a huge stone?  Did Jesus, in that same body, rise from the dead on the third day after His death?  Did His disciples see Him, talk to Him, and touch Him, after He came forth alive from the tomb?  Where do the teachers line up with Jesus?  Don’t believe every spirit….believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

1 Chronicles 5…The Temple was finished.  There would be a great celebration and King Solomon would lead a formal dedication of the House of God there on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem.  But before that grand opening, God did something to remind Solomon, the priests, and the people of Israel  (AND EVEN US) what was wonderful about the building.  God filled the place with a “cloud.”  Everyone was filled with fear and terror.  God was in the House, just as He was in the burning bush, just as He was over the Israelites leaving Egypt and through the Red Sea …and once a year on the Day of Atonement in the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and now the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple.  All of this was a foreshadowing of the Gospel….God’s presence, not in a place, but in a person…the person of Jesus Christ.  No wonder Jesus would say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life….God is not in the Temple of stone any more.  He is Me and I am in you…you’re my temple.  And I won’t just visit you once a year.  I’ll live in you, never to leave you nor forsake you.”  That’s Good News.

Luke 19:1-10….”Jesus was entering Jericho and was passing through.”  Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.  And Jesus was just passing through Jericho.  Or was He?  The forty-five mile walk up and down and around mountains toward Jerusalem would include narrow passages, dangerous terrain and thousands of people on that same roadway.  Surely Jesus was on a schedule.  He had to reach Bethany before sundown Friday or he would have to spend another night on the perilous roadway since they couldn’t travel on the Sabbath.  There would just be little or no time for casual meetings and visiting.  And yet, Jesus spots a man in a sycamore tree and speaks to him like He knew him.  “Come down Zaccheus, let’s eat dinner together, at your house.”  It didn’t matter to Jesus that Zaccheus was a lying, cheating, stealing tax collector…by most Jews, he was considered the most despicable sinner in town.  But that did not matter to Jesus.  Yes, Jesus needed to get to Jerusalem, but Zaccheus needed to get to heaven one day.  Jesus could hear some self-righteous comments in the crowd and even see the confusion on the faces of some of His followers.  And then Jesus said, “Behold, I have come to seek and to save the lost.”  And as the story goes, an alert and compassionate Savior shared the message of the gospel with Zacchaeus and he repented and began to do the will of his new Lord. The Gospel of Christ is too good to hoard and keep secret.  As we go, in a hurry or not, may we be alert and aware of those God puts in our path.  Maybe it’s a Zacchaeus who needs some good news.