What will happen when God holds you accountable?

by Rev. Jack Richards on August 25, 2023


What will happen when God holds you accountable? 


“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will leave you now prey on the earth. The voices of your messengers will no longer be heard.”  Nahum 2:13 NIV 

“I am against you,” declares the Lord almighty. “I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.”  Nahum 3:5 NIV  


The Bible says God is for you. [Romans 8:31] That is such good news. But the above Scripture focus says God can be against you. How is this possible? Is this a contradiction? CAN GOD BE FOR YOU AND AGAINST YOU?    

Too often preachers preach messages about God’s love but fail to preach messages about God’s righteousness. The Bible declares God is both loving and righteous. He is forgiving but also holy. People like to hear sermons describing how much God loves them but seem to be turned off to messages describing how God could judge them. God is both merciful and judging. He forgives, but if people do not repent, He judges.  

People do not like to be judged for their actions. They do not want to be held accountable for what they think, believe, or do. People do not like to suffer consequences. They prefer leniency. But a day is coming when God will have to hold all people accountable. When God sent His Son to the cross to die for man’s sin, He judged man for his sinfulness by saying, “I will send My Son to take the punishment for everyone’s sin. They will not have to be punished if they believe My Son to be their Savior.” God did not make that sacrifice with the thought of someday saying, “I changed my mind. It really was not necessary for my Son to have died. I have decided to overlook all sin regardless of man’s rebellious nature against Me.”   

The Assyrian empire experienced both God’s mercy and destruction. In the book of Jonah, which was written about 150 years before Nahum, God’s judgment was declared over Nineveh, but God’s mercy prevailed. The entire city experienced a spiritual awakening when Jonah preached.  The Ninevites repented of their sin. God did not judge them for their evil ways.   

In the book of Nahum, God’s judgment was declared over Nineveh. This city was the capital of the powerful Assyrian empire. It was the world center for trade and commerce. However, Nahum pointed out Nineveh was a bloody city filled with people who lied and robbed. Sorcery, harlotry, and corpses on the street were evidence as to how these people ignored God and His ways. [Nahum 3:1-3] The Assyrian empire was known for its cruel, ruthless warriors. They would massacre large groups of civilians. Think of the worst human torture that would cause long term agony. This is what they did. It was nothing less than genocide.  

Please note! As Nahum prophesied, another revival could have taken place in Nineveh like it did during Jonah’s time, but it didn’t. Nahum preached, “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”  [Nahum 1:2,3a] The Ninevites ignored God’s warnings and suffered disaster. They refused to repent of their godless ways. God declared them as His enemies. Why? Life is precious in the eyes of God. God created man to live peacefully and in harmony with others. 

Never forget that God is both merciful and judging. The Bible clarifies this all-important truth. When Ezra was a Jerusalem minister, he said, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”  [Ezra 8:22] It needs to be emphasized and not ignored. God is both forgiving of sin and opposed to sin. God wants to bless people but there may come a point when He has to judge them for their godlessness. Yes, God is loving but He is also righteous. His love led Him to give His Son Jesus to die for your sin. Your sin was so bad that God had to give His Son’s life to pay the penalty for the sin.  However, there is another day coming when God will carry out the judgments He warns about in the Bible. He does not want to judge you but to forgive you.  

Someday God’s righteousness will lead Him to judge people because they have rejected His love and rebelled against His ways. One day God’s holy anger and vengeance will become evident. The Bible says, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will repay each person according to what they have done.” [Romans 2:5,6] 

Both the love of God and the judgment of God are true. This is not a contradiction but a consistency. Yes, God is for you but someday, if you have not repented of sin, God will be against you. You choose!    


What can you do to help people turn to receive the love and forgiveness of God? How can you speak about the vengeance of God in a loving, compelling way? 


Heavenly Father, I know You are both loving and holy as well as merciful and judging. Use me to reach people with the Good News. You have provided salvation by sending Your Son to take the punishment for everyone’s sin. Help me to share the GospelAMEN!

Tags: accountability, old, testament, nahum

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