The LORD is good,

a stronghold in the day of trouble;

he knows those who take refuge in him.

Nahum 1: 7

 

This verse is an outlier; it jumps up as an interruption in a series of verses that consider various forms of angry rebuke and acts of cleansing furry that will be carried out by the same God that is called good here. Nahum’s God is not divided or a bit imbalanced in His responses to the world; instead, the Lord is reacting to what He sees going on in the world. Where He encounters sin and its manifestations in violence, oppression, greed, and denial of His authority and the rule of God’s Law, the Lord takes action to cleanse away the evil, to purify the land and its inhabitant, and to draw those people back to their true God, Creator and Savior. That is what Nahum is speaking about when he wrote out this prophetic letter. His world in Judah and elsewhere has turned away from God on a large scale, and he believes that it is time for the Lord to set things right. God has confirmed this to Nahum in the form of prophetic vision and with inspired words with which to speak it forth into a broken world.

 

The world where Nahum lived is very far removed from the place that we inhabit, but the nature of people and our capacity for turning away from God and from His Word of Truth has not diminished at all. In fact, it seems that we may have been using the intervening centuries as a form of training ground and developmental laboratory for our capacity and skill at living in an ill-conceived form of independence from God. Humanity today is proficient at godless living, and it seems to revel in doing exactly the sorts of things that the Lord has expressed His distaste for and displeasure in. These might be the times that the prophet was discussing. So, these just could be the days wherein everyone should carefully consider the motivations of their hearts and the actions that proceed out of them, and also, we might be well-served to contemplate the eternal validity of the sources of wisdom that inform these thoughts and actions.

 

History confirms what the prophet said. When people turn away from God, there will be trouble. It has always been so. Much of it comes about because of the way that we treat each other, for God provides us with the ethical, moral, and philosophical basis for loving others, for viewing ourselves with full appreciation of who and what we are intended to be, and for living righteously and justly in the face of pressure to do otherwise. The Lord provides His people with a safe place to find shelter in those times of trouble. He covers us with His Word of Truth and Life, and He breathes that life into our lungs through the presence of His Spirit in and with us. Christ stands with us when we encounter the inevitable opposition that is present in our days, and His courage grants us the peace and the grace that we will require to continue to love others even when they express that opposition to our faith and thus to us. In Christ we find that shelter, and in response to His will, we are led to invite others into this eternal stronghold.

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