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Justice and mercy combined

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READ: Nahum 1:1-9

When a defendant stands before a judge, he or she is at the mercy of the court. If the defendant is innocent, the court should be a refuge. But if the defendant is guilty, we expect the court to exact punishment.

In Nahum, we see God as both a refugee and a judge. It says, “The Lord is good, a refugee in times of trouble” (1:7). But it also says, “He will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness” (v. 8). Over 100 years earlier, Nineveh had repented after Jonah preached God’s forgiveness, and the land was safe (Jonah 3:10). But during Nahum’s day, Nineveh was plotting “evil against the Lord” (Nah. 1:11). In chapter 3, Nahum details Nineveh’s destruction.

Many people know only one side of God’s dealings with the human race but not the other. They think that He is holy and wants only to punish us, or that He is merciful and wants only to show kindness. In truth, He is judge and refuge. Peter writes that Jesus “entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). As a result, he “bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and life for righteousness” (v. 24).

The whole truth about God is good news! He is judge, but because of Jesus, we can go to Him as our refugee. — Dave Branon

Lord, never let us underestimate

You by seeing only one side of your role in our lives. Help us to enjoy your love and kindness while recognizing how much you hate sin.

God’s justice and mercy intersect at the cross.

©2017 ODB Ministries, 3000, Kraft Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49555-0001, USA. Used by permission. For this and other materials contact ODB Ministries at 322 P. Guevarra, San Juan City (Phils.); Tel.: 722-2010.

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