The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum i, 7
God is good! This slogan is commonplace in our churches. We shout it out aloud. Yet, Nahum’s comforting statement about the goodness of God should serve as an eye-opener for Christians and skeptics. This brilliant gem of a promise sits on the dark velvet canvas of God’s fiery wrath. In a nutshell, Nahum claims that the goodness of God is illustrated by His sure judgments upon the wicked who oppress God’s people!
We live in an age that is characterized by a general ignorance about God, mostly due to one’s unwillingness to submit to Scriptural assertions about the nature of God. There are Christians who are uncomfortable with the thought of an “angry God” who wrecks vengeance upon His enemies. They consider merciful love and fierce justice as qualities that are mutually exclusive. They wonder how a merciful and good God can ever be someone whose wrath is poured out like fire (v. 6)? Today’s worshipers would rather believe in a God who is a product of their imagination—a “nice” God who never gets angry or sends anyone to hell!
Nahum’s prophecy was a warning directed at Nineveh, the capital of cruel Assyria. The Assyrians were guilty before God because they chose to be God’s enemies and to plot against Him (v. 2, 8, 9). They oppressed God’s people and took pride in their idolatry (v. 14). God’s people were afflicted and brought low.
Yahweh decreed that he would exterminate His enemies (v. 8). He comforted His people: “Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more. And I will break his yoke from off you and will burst your bonds apart (v. 12b, 13). God assured His people who took refuge in Him that the “trouble” called Assyria “will not rise up a second time” (v. 9). In his prophetic vision, Nahum foresaw the destruction of Nineveh. He envisioned a messenger who would glide over the hills, bringing glad tidings of Assyria’s defeat. Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! (v. 15a). Of course, what’s peace to one is death to another. With such an assurance, Nahum exhorted the nation of Judah to celebrate. “Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.”
Isn’t Yahweh a good God to those who take refuge in Him? He hasn’t changed a bit over these centuries. The need for a refuge implies the existence of an enemy, an oppressor. God will consume all oppressors in his wrath and prove His goodness toward His people.
Cheer up, dearly beloved of God! Your afflictions won’t last forever. The LORD is good to you!