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September 6 – An oracle, a burden

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. – Nahum 1:7

Scripture reading: Nahum 1:1, 6-7 and Proverbs 13:1-5

Happy Labour Day! It is part of the creation order for men and women to work. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He gave them the instruction to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). Work can also be a burden. Nahum declared, as the superscription to his writing, “an oracle concerning Nineveh.” That word oracle is an important one to understand.

The KJV translates this word oracle as burden. Think of it this way. A Christian parent might say, I have a burden for my children. I know they are grown up and have moved away, but I am still burdened for them, concerned because they have wandered far from the LORD our God and the mercies of Jesus Christ. What will such a burdened parent do? A loving mother will go to the throne of grace, where Jesus is seated and pray for her dearly loved children. A faithful father will speak, warning his children, so they know they are removing themselves far from the blessings of God.

Nahum’s inspired use of the word oracle shows he is not celebrating the downfall of Israel’s enemies. He is urgently concerned for their salvation at that time and in eternity. He is aware that the punishment of the Living God is beyond anything humans can inflict. To live a life mocking the Holy One is to invite His wrath. No wonder Nahum was burdened. As long as God granted him breath, he would work to speak, calling for repentance.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for the gift of work and pray to be faithful in the task He has given you; pray, as one burdened, for the salvation of family members, friends and co-workers who do not know Jesus Christ and His glorious salvation.

Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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