The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.Nahum 1:7(NASB)
Nahum was a Jewish prophet whose name means 'consolation' or 'comforter'. He had a grave and weighty message from Jehovah concerning the evil city of Nineveh. His burden was to pronounce a severe sentence on the Assyrian stronghold. He prophesied of their irrevocable punishment, irreversible judgement, and the certain destruction of this oppressor of Israel... while promising the people of God, "a stronghold in the day of trouble, refuge for those who trust Him, and comfort for His people."
150 years earlier, Nineveh had repented of her sins and been spared God's bitter wrath when the prophet Jonah brought a message of hope from the Lord, calling them to turn from their wicked ways and trust in Him. However, their slide back into sinfulness, their subsequent failure, their threats to God's people, and ungodly domination of the known world, sealed their fate. Nahum revealed that God is jealous for His people... but also a God of justice.
The three chapters in Nahum spell out the stages of this proud people's downfall. In chapter 1, we read of God's anger rising against Nineveh and a declaration of their certain destruction. Chapter 2 speaks, in the strongest of languages, of Nineveh's "Desolation! Decimation! Devastation!" and how "Hearts melt, knees tremble, loins shake, and every face grows pale!"
But amid the destruction of the corrupt capital city of the arrogant Assyrian Empire, there are precious promises of hope and comfort, and assurance of respite and restoration for the remnant of God's people - for those who trust in Him. And in the midst of Nahum's indictment of Nineveh, the little remnant of God received a promise that, "The LORD is good. The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knows those who take refuge in Him."
God is jealous of His holy name and He is protective of His people and His character. He is not only perfect love but also consummate justice. He is protective towards those who trust in Him, but also metes out chastening and correction for His people, "for the Lord disciplines those He loves and punishes every son He accepts." But we must never forget that God is also a consuming fire and His burning wrath is against the wicked. "He will never exonerate the guilty or leave them unpunished."
There is a reluctance in the churches of today to admit that our God of comfort, hope, joy, and love, is also a jealous God, Who avenges evil, judges the wicked, and destroys His enemies. The book of Nahum is a stark reminder that, "those who plot against the Lord, will be brought to complete destruction."
Nahum opened his prophecy by announcing that the Lord is a jealous God Who takes vengeance on His enemies and is fierce in His anger. The Lord takes revenge against His foes and is furious with His adversaries. The Lord is slow to anger but He is great in power and will never leave the guilty unpunished. His path is in the whirlwind and the storm. Clouds are the dust are beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea so that it dries up, and He makes all the rivers run dry.
But amid all the certainty that the almighty God will destroy His enemies, is the equal certainty that, "the LORD is good. He is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and knows those who take refuge in Him." Although this truth was written TO Israel it is also written FOR the Church.
We live in the midst of much uncertainty and confusion. The proud nations of the world rage together, and the arrogance of evil men... who strut along the corrupt corridors of power and pass legislation that angers the Lord, are seeking to entrap His people. But we must never forget that GOD is in control of the entire universe. The same God that flung stars into space and rides on the winds of the wind, has scheduled every day of our individual lives and promised to care for each of His own. Praise His holy name!
We must never forget that the LORD is good and a stronghold in difficult times, and He knows those who have taken refuge in Him. Those who trust in Him must always remember that Christ won the victory at the Cross... when the burning fires of God's jealous anger was poured out in Him instead of on us - so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
He is the Rock of our Salvation and He is our Shield and Buckler. He is the good Shepherd of the sheep and our great God is the consuming Fire, Who will judge the world in righteousness - for HIS name's sake.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Who You are and what the Lord Jesus has done for us. Thank You for being our good and gracious God. Thank You that You are my stronghold in the day of trouble and the Comforter to Whom I can fly for refuge. How I praise You for Your never-failing faithfulness to Your people Israel and grace towards the Church. Thank You that You are not only a God of love but a God of justice, and that a day is coming when You will avenge all those that have suffered at the hands of Your enemies. I pray for those who have not yet trusted in You and remain dead in their sin, and ask that they may be convicted of sin and come to faith in Christ. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.