This morning my Bible reading was the Old Testament prophet Nahum. This is not a book of the Bible that I have read often, nor one that I could have told someone what the gist of the book was about without first reading some explanatory notes.
As I read I tried to pay particular attention for anything that really “jumped out” at me. A word, phrase or verse that clearly spoke with a richer, deeper meaning. And as I read I found such a verse, 1:7, which says:
“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”
That verse leapt out at me with a word of comfort, comfort from God about God’s enduring, everlasting goodness. It reminded me of the refuge that He always offers in our trials, and lastly that He knows, that God knows deeply, those who seek their refuge in him.
Good stuff. Really good stuff. So I posted the verse to Facebook, using my phone, which only allows the posting of a single verse at a time. And that is where the tile of this post, “But…” comes in.
Nahum 1:7 is a wonderful verse and a whole sermon could be preached from it, except that it doesn’t stand completely by itself. There are biblical words that follow that go hand-in hand with this verse. Nahum 1:8 reads:
“But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.”
God not only has full knowledge of those who take refuge in Him, He also has full knowledge of those who don’t, and these people are being characterized by Nahum as God’s adversaries.
An adversary is an opponent. It is someone, or a group, that opposes and attacks someone else. The dictionary source I checked even had an entry for “The Adversary,” i.e. Satan.
Now the dictionary is not the Bible and is not inspired by the Holy Spirit by any means. However in this case it does speak with the truth when it helps us understand that God’s adversaries are directly linked to God’s greatest adversary, his most visible opponent since his entry into the biblical story in Genesis 3.
So evangelical and Reformed Christian that I am, what am I to make of these two joined verses from an Old Testament prophet? Do they still speak today? I believe that they do. They speak with vibrancy and power.
Verse 7 will continue to provide me with great comfort in God’s control and protection in all circumstances, no matter how difficult they may appear. And verse 8 is, for me, a reminder to do what I can, in the places where God has placed me, to bring this word of comfort to those who are otherwise God’s adversaries.
In this life I often have no real idea who God is reaching out to include within His promise of redemption, nor do I know the means in which He will touch people. So I think that best choice may be to touch people in His name and let Him use that touch as He sees fit.
Here is a link to a video of a song, Whom Shall I Fear [God of the Angel Armies], from Chris Tomlin’s upcoming album.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.