In the beginning God…Genesis 1.1

God is self-existent, he has always been and will always be. This is the foundational belief that we hold to be true and from this we understand our place and purpose. The only other option is to believe that matter has always been and somehow this matter came into being and had inherent power to change and create life. An impersonal substance somehow was able to create personal beings. If we hold this to be true there is no need for God and our lives can be lived by our own desires because we are free to act as we want. We are not accountable to anyone ,there is no moral code that we must submit to. Once we acknowledge that there is a God then we also must acknowledge that we are accountable to him. Our Creator is a kind and benevolent God who created human beings for his pleasure and to be the objects of his love. He is a good God and everything he does is based in his goodness. True life begins when we understand the first sentence of the Bible and place our lives under the rule of our Creator.

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God’s standards…Micah 1:9

9 For Samaria’s disease is incurable. It has infected Judah; it has spread to the leadership of my people and has even contaminated Jerusalem!

The sins of the northern kingdom had spread to the southern kingdom of Israel. God’s judgment was going to take place and it would be devastating. Sinful behavior spreads quickly until judgment falls and people realize the consequences of their sins. God is merciful and compassionate when true repentance occurs. His standards cannot be compromised and severe consequences are the results of disobedience.

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Immediate response….Jonah 3: 4-5

When Jonah began to enter the city one day’s walk, he announced, “At the end of forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown!”

5 The people of Nineveh believed in God, and they declared a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

The prophetic warnings of Jonah were taken seriously and the peoplke responded immediately  and changed their behavior. There are many prophetic warnings in the Bible regarding our present era. Yet many do not beleve they have validity and ignore them. God is delaying the execution of his warnings but this does not negate their validity. The Ninevites believed and took action to avoid the judgments Jonah declared and thus avoided the judgment. God is merciful when the respoinse is sincere.

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Take responsibility for your actions…Jonah 1:12

12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea to make the sea quiet down, because I know it’s my fault you are in this severe storm.”

The first step in resolving relational problems is taking responsibility and admission of our actions that have brought on our condition. Denial is the response of pride but admission of guilt is the mark of humility. Jonah’s disobedience had caused the problem that affected the sailors on the ship as well as others boats that were near them. God had a plan for the people of Nineveh and Jonah was part of this plan to rescue the people from God’s judgment. Jonah’s admission of his rebellion against God was the first step in restoring his relationship with God. Jonah probably thought his life was over when he was thrown in the sea but God had another plan that would be fulfilled by Jonah.

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Security…Psalms 35:27

27 May those who desire my vindication shout for joy and rejoice! May they continually say, “May the LORD be praised, for he wants his servant to be secure.”

God is our defender. When we are falsely accused or attacked God will stand with us. He wants us to feel secure in his love of justice. He will come to our aid and fight against our enemies. He rescued David from many situations that seemed like David had no way out. God supernaturally intervened and David was quick to give God praise among the people. We can always count on God to show up, he will never abandon us in our time of trial.

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Defending the poor…Proverbs 22:22-23

22 Do not exploit a poor person because he is poor and do not crush the needy in court,

23 for the LORD will plead their case and will rob those who are robbing them.

God has compassion for the poor and he will defend them and punish those who oppress them. The poor are often abused and are not able to defend themselves. They may be falsely accused and condemned for their situation by people who do not take the time or have an interest in understanding their circumstances and issues that have led to their poverty. God’s people should be actively involved in defending the rights of the poor.

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Defending the poor…Proverbs 22:22-23

22 Do not exploit a poor person because he is poor and do not crush the needy in court,

23 for the LORD will plead their case and will rob those who are robbing them.

God has compassion for the poor and he will defend them and punish those who oppress them. The poor are often abused and are not able to defend themselves. They may be falsely accused and condemned for their situation by people who do not take the time or have an interest in understanding their circumstances and issues that have led to their poverty. God’s people should be actively involved in defending the rights of the poor.

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Equality…Obadiah 1:15

15“The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.

God’s system of justice and retribution is based on equality. What one does to harm another is the measure God uses to exact his punishment. The Israelites could only respond to violations in an equal manner. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is an example of equality. The punishment must fit the crime.

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