Thursday, August 29, 2019

Nahum: A Prophet of Doom (Nahum 1:7) - The LORD is Good

The Lord is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.

When a parent disciplines a child, the form of punishment is not what causes the deepest pain in the recipient. Rather, it is the knowledge that your parent is the one executing the discipline. The person to whom you are the closest, who loves you the most of anyone on the earth, is punishing you. At such a moment, you may believe your mother or father is the most wicked person who has ever lived. But, after the discipline has been given, you see the big picture. You remember the true nature of your parent, the depths of their love for you, the desire of wanting the best for you. Furthermore, you understand the discipline you just received is to help you understand a bad choice you have made, and, hopefully, to divert you from making similar mistakes in the future.

Nahum has emphasized the approaching judgment coming upon Nineveh by the God who granted their ancestors a reprieve. It would be quite easy to assume that our God is a vindictive, harsh judge who cares little for those under His rule. But Nahum now assures his readers that is not the case. For Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, is “good”.

His discipline is for correction and prevention. His punishment is satisfaction for His justice. Our God, by nature, is a “good” God, not wicked. He is not vindictive, only just.

Furthermore, God is a “stronghold in the day of trouble”. “Stronghold” refers to a fortress. When I hear that word, my thoughts run to the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”. In God, we find security. In God is our hope. The “day of trouble” may be any day or every day. Nevertheless, our God is good and there is safety in Him for those who flee to Him.

“He knows those who take refuge in Him”. He KNOWS means not only He intellectually knows them, but that He also loves them and cares for them. And the ones whom He knows, loves, and cares for are those taking “refuge” in Him. Literally, it is those who are trusting in Him.

When Jonah proclaimed judgment upon Nineveh for their sin, the citizens of the trusted God and fled to His side. He protected them by not executing punishment at that time. But now their descendants find themselves once more engaged in sinful acts. Judgment is coming this time. There will be no reprieve. Punishment comes not because our God is evil but because He is good. The wicked will be destroyed. For those who trust in Him, He provides them safety and love.

Will you flee to God by trusting Christ for your salvation? If so, then you will discover God is good and a fortress for those who trust Him. If not, you will receive the punishment your sin deserves.

No comments: