The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness. Whatever they plot against the Lord he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time. They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble. From you, Nineveh, has one come forth who plots evil against the Lord and devises wicked plans. This is what the Lord says: “Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be destroyed and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, Judah, I will afflict you no more. Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away.” – Nahum 1:7-13
Here is the “rest of the story” for the previous passage in Nahum. It answers a lingering question I had from that passage. The question I had was whether the murky metaphor about God and dust was some sort of prophetic reference to the the coming of Jesus. This passage would suggest the answer is yes.
The passage begins with a reassuring statement that “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.” This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the Chronicles of Narnia when Mr. Beaver describes Aslan:
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
So God is also good, but He is not necessary “safe” from an earthly perspective. God “cares for those who trust in him”, but there are apparently consequences for choosing not to trust God, “with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh”. So although God stands ready to receive those who are willing to trust Him there is clearly judgement for those who choose to be free of God. The passage make it clear that God is willing to go to great lengths to reach out to those willing to take His hand, “he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.” This is basically what Jesus did, He pursued His foes (hopefully our foes as well) into the darkness on our behalf.
Those who choose a way apart from God have a pretty bleak future to look forward to: “They will be entangled among thorns and drunk from their wine; they will be consumed like dry stubble”. This imagery of entanglement reminds me of a passage from the Psalms (Psalm 124:1-8) that describes our earthly condition as being like “fowler’s snare”. Interestingly, the passage in the psalms also refers to a flood, “the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.”
In this passage, like the one in the Psalms, God makes it clear that the “snare has been broken“. There is no flood great enough or large enough to separate us from God if we trust in Him. God is the ultimate “life preserver” when we encounter turbulent water and the river that no one can cross. The promised rescue may not look like what we are expecting, just like Jesus did not fit the mold that the people of Israel had prepared for Him when he came to set us free.
Prayer: Thank You God for standing ready to rescue us from all floods, snares, and thickets in which we find ourselves.