March 22, 2020
A GOOD GOD FOR BAD TIMES
Nothing is known of the author of this book, other than that he identifies himself as Nahum, the Elkoshite. Nahum means “consolation” or “comfort.” The book of Nahum is one of the shortest and most often overlooked books in the Old Testament. This book has only three chapters and forty-seven verses. The focus of this book is its prophesy of the fall of Nineveh, the capitol of Assyria, one of the cruelest, vilest, most powerful, and most idolatrous empires in the history of the world. Nineveh sat on the Tigris River, very close to the modern Iraqi city of Mosul. One hundred years before Nahum’s call, Jonah had preached in the streets of Nineveh; the people heard God’s message and turned their lives around. One hundred years later, the city again returned to its evil ways, and Nahum pronounces judgment on this nation. But God intended for the message to Nineveh to be overheard by His people, Judah. For God’s people, the message of Nahum was a message of comfort. Their comfort would be in knowing that God is still in control. When we consider the difficulties we are facing here in Memphis and Shelby County, across America, and around the world, we need a message of comfort during a time of chaos, a message of hope during a time of despair, a message of tranquility during a time of trouble. We need the reassurance that God is still in control. To those who are feeling stressed and depressed, or who are feeling beaten up by difficult circumstances, I want to tell you that we have: “A Good God for bad times!” Notice what the text says:
The Lord is good…(The personality of the Lord). This expression speaks to the absolute goodness of God. It is God’s nature to be good. Goodness is part of the character or personality of God. It is important for all of us to know this, especially in seasons of adversity. When things happen in life that are not good, that does not mean that God is not good, and it does not mean that God’s goodness is not being experienced or is not flowing into your life. Some of you know that God can take the bad and bring the good out of it (what does Romans 8:28 say?) Don’t become suspicious of God’s goodness when adversity strikes. Even when things are bad, God has a purpose that is good, a plan that is good, and a reason that is good, because God is good. Can you testify to God’s goodness? So because God is good, we know we can endure difficult days.
A stronghold in the day of trouble…(The protection of the Lord). The safest place in South Florida during the hurricane season may be the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The structure consists of 10-inch concrete walls capable of withstanding Category 5-level winds of up to 185 mph. Because these storms come every year, the Center is there to provide a safe working environment for the people who monitor the weather and issue weather warnings. When other residents leave the area, they have to stay. And just like hurricanes, storms also come in our lives. Often they come without warning, and linger long enough to test the limits of our faith. But God has given us a place of safety in the midst of our situations. The text says, that the Lord is, “A stronghold in the day of trouble. In Psalm 46:1-2, the psalmist stated, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear even though the earth be removed.” The people of Nineveh thought they were safe in their fortifications, but their security was nothing in comparison with the comfort and safety that God provides for His people. It is not our strength but God’s strength that shields us during the storms of life.
He knows those who trust in Him (The personal walk with the Lord). The word “trust” implies relationship, and a personal walk with God results from placing one’s trust in Him. How reassuring it is to consider the fact that God knows those who trust in Him. Jesus said, I know My own sheep, and they know Me (John 10:14). God knows you; He knows your prayers, your tears, fears, desires, He knows what you are, He knows what you’re not; He knows all about you. And, in times like these, it’s good to know Him. It’s good to know that whatever is going on, we can depend on God to see us through. It’s good to know that we can hold to His unchanging hand. It’s good to know that in tough times He’ll never leave us or forsake us. He’ll prop us when we’re leaning, He’ll shield us from danger, He’ll enfold us in His love, and save us by His grace! I’ve got a feeling everything’s going to be alright!