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The Lord is Good... Tell it wherever you go!

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Nahum - Highest among the minor prophets

The Bible is full of strange names isn’t it. Jabez, Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoshaphat, but there are also some cool sounding names with cool meanings, names like Azriel which means “God is my help”, or Enoch which means, “Dedicated”, or my favorite Theophilus which means “Friend of God”. But today I want to look at Nahum.
Nahum was the highest among all of the minor prophets. So I can see you asking, what is the difference between the Major prophets and the minor prophets. Well, to be honest the only difference the length of the prophecy recorded. The Major prophets would be Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. All are featured in books from the Bible, and Jeremiah may have written two. All expound valuable, biblical insight that foretold important events that were to happen, that had already happened, and how they all reflect God’s love, care, and discipline of us. The Minor Prophets, in alphabetical order, are Amos, Habakkuk, Haggai, Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Malachi, Micah, Nahum, Obadiah, Zechariah, and Zephaniah Their books are considered minor since each is much shorter than the writings of Isaiah (sixty-six chapters), Jeremiah (fifty-two chapters), and Ezekiel (forty-eight chapters).
So who was Nahum? He was a native from Galilee and more specific he was from Capernaum which by the way was the town that Jesus moved to from Nazareth when he started his ministry. Capernaum by the way also means, “Village of Nahum”. Pretty cool to have a town named after you. So a minute ago, we were talking about names, if I were able to change my name, I would change it to Nahum because it means, “Comforter”. Here is an interesting side note about the book of Nahum, in chapter 2:3-4 Nahum talks about chariots with flaming torches, many scholars believe that he was prophesying about the automobile, but I don’t want to get too much, that’s a topic for another time.
Primarily, this entire book, all three chapters is about the judgement against Nineveh. Does that name sound familiar? It should, remember Jonah? Where was he supposed to go originally, before he wound up in the belly of a whale? This book takes place about 150 years after Jonah has gone to there and preached to them to turn from their wicked ways and repent. This morning, we are not going to cover all three chapters, I will leave that to you for homework. It will give you something to read this week, but instead we are going to focus on 1 verse only and that’s Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” In this text this morning, I hope that you will see
A message of tranquility in a time of trouble
A message of comfort in a time of chaos
A message of peace in a time of peril
Let’s pray

The Lord is Good - This reveals the personality of the Lord

Do you like sharing good news? If you received a check from the IRS in the amount of $50,000 you would want to share that wouldn’t you? Well maybe not, you might question why they would send you that and when are you going to have to pay it back. But wouldn’t you want to share that news? What if a long lost relative left you millions of dollars, you would share that too right? We love to share good news, and here is the best news that we could ever share, God is Good! God is not some dictator that is going to force us to do what he says, He is a God of love and compassion and grace, and mercy and the list goes on and on. When we were little, does anyone remember this prayer, “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food” we learned as a young child that God is good. His is good isn’t He? If we look at the book of Genesis chapter 1:1-25 every part of this creation story tells of God’s goodness. Take for example Genesis 1:9-13 “And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.”
Do you know what is so special about this day? When I was in Israel, our guide told us that Tuesday was often chosen for couples’ wedding day because it was the day of the double blessing. On the third day of creation, God caused the waters to be gathered, and the land to appear. He saw that it was good (v. 10). Still on that same day, God caused plants and seed-bearing fruits to grow, and again we are told, “God saw that it was good” (v. 12). Twice on that one day of creation, God pronounces his creation good. Tuesday is the day of the double blessing.
I don’t know what today will hold for you, but I’m wondering if we might start a new tradition – double blessing Tuesday. Like “Throw Back Thursday,” we could post photos of things that we perceive to be double blessings from God: twins, spouse and children, a beautiful day with an opportunity to go for a walk. I am quite certain that through the creativity and thoughtfulness of others, we could multiply and number of those double blessings. God is good.
To me, the greatest demonstration that the Lord is Good was done on the cross. He didn’t have to do what he did. He was God in human form, He could have very easily made things happen differently, but He did not. Jesus knew what was in store for him, at this time, the crucifixion was the worst way to die. It was painful, it was long and agonizing and the individual suffered tremendously before finally succumbing to death. While Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, he prayed a very powerful prayer. He knew what was going to happen and yet He prayed in Luke 22:42Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” This is where God shows his true mercy and love to us. He could have taken the “cup” from Jesus and found another way for His plan to be fulfilled and yet because Jesus was obedient to the Father, He says, “Not my will but yours be done”. Jesus knew that this was the only way that we as humans could truly be saved and so with that, Jesus continued with the plan to die on the cross for each of us sitting here right now. Jesus died, and was laid to rest. 3 days later Jesus conquered death and rose again to show God’s goodness. The crucified and risen Christ shows God’s goodness.

A Stronghold in the day of trouble - This announces the protection of God

The definition of “Stronghold” is “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack”. When a enemy would attack a city or a castle, the people were always told to make way to the stronghold. This was the one place that they could go that would be able to withstand the attack of the enemy. Strongholds were fortified and the walls were super think to prevent the enemy from breaking them down. Think of the cities of the Bible, they usually were surrounded by walls weren’t they? Think about the walls of Jericho, now these weren’t ordinary walls. The walls of Jericho were massive stone walls surrounding Jericho, built about 8000 BC. These walls, at least 13 feet (4 metres) in height and backed by a watchtower some 28 feet tall, were intended to protect the settlement and its water supply from human intruders. The walls of Jericho should have been impenetrable. What Joshua and the Israelites were up against may have seemed impossible to overcome. But they followed God anyway with full trust and hope in His promise, and faithfulness that He would indeed fight for them to claim the land that was promised to them. All believers can rest assure that even if the path seems impossible, or is not what we expected, when we prayerfully follow God’s good plans for us, it will be worth every step of the way.
Our verse says, “a refuge in times of trouble.” John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are never promised a rose garden, in fact it is just the opposite. Jesus says, that we will have trouble. I think about what we have just come through over the past couple of years. COVID is still running wild, there are still people that are not only contracting COVID, but there are people that are dying from COVID still, we will have times of sickness but no matter what, God meets us there. I think back to just a few years ago, my mother became very sick and had to be taken to the hospital. She not only had COVID, but she had COVID Pneumonia. It was terrible, we were not even able to go into her hospital room to see her, even though they said she may not make it, we couldn’t get in to say our good byes in person. But you know, her doctor was a christian and he made special arrangements for my father to “sneek” into the room and spend a little bit of time with her just in case. You know, during that time, I will admit, I was searching, I couldn’t understand why God would allow something like this to happen, but then something special happened, God brought a sense of peace to my heart. You see, he let me see that he was going to heal my mom. He was either going to heal her body and I would have more time with her, or he was going to take her home at which point she would be healed. Either way, I knew that mom was going to be healed. God gave me the peace of mind to understand his grace and mercy. By the way, he did heal my mom and she is stronger today than ever before.
God is there for us when we are dealing with depression. I look around at our world today and so many people are dealing with depression and the medical profession would have you believe that if you just take this medication or that medication you will be okay. Depression has a cure. God’s desire for us is to be free from pain and suffering, including depression. He feels deeply for us and loves us enough to bring light to whatever darkness we might be in. Here are several examples in scripture that show us how God feels toward those in depression.
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
The last part of the verse says,

He Knoweth them that trust in Him - This speaks of a personal walk with God.

Isn’t it special when someone comes up to you and they not only remember you but they call you by name? It’s really neat when people remember you or know you. I remember when I was younger, Hollywood asked the The Salvation Army in Pasadena if they would be able to provide a small brass ensemble to come and play at the premiere of a new movie. The band master asked me if I would be available and of course I said yes… The night came and we all showed up with our special passes and went where we were told. We stood on stage and played Christmas carols while people walked around and enjoyed themselves. When we were done, we were asked to go and relieve the people that were actually standing at the kettles for the event. I found one that was close by and went over and starting ringing the bell. As I was standing there, a large crowd was headed toward me. When they got to my kettle, the crowd parted and standing in front of me were two of the biggest Actors of that time. It was Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. I was star struck to say the least, Don Johnson was one of my favorite TV actors and he was married to Melanie Griffith who was the star of the movie that was being premiered. Don Johnson turns to me and smiles and then asked me a question. He said, are you really The Salvation Army or are you just an actor. I introduced myself and told him that I was really part of The Salvation Army with a big smile. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a $100 bill and put it in my kettle. He said that he love the work that The Salvation Army and to keep up the good work. He walked away and that was the end of it, or so I thought. Later that night I had gone back so that I could play with the band and once we were done playing I was putting my instrument away and Don and Melanie came by again and I waved at them and Don Johnson said, “Hey Robert, keep up the Good work.” WOW!!!! Don Johnson not only remembered me but he also remembered my name! I thought I was going to die… I doubt that he would even remember me now, it’s been so long but you know what is really neat? I met someone that knew my name even before I knew His. As a matter of fact, He knew me even before I was born. I thought it was special to be known by Don Johnson, but God knew me when I was being formed in my mothers womb. I’ve met a lot of important people in my life, but none more important that Jesus. I’ve never met a President, I’ve never met a king but I have met the King of Kings and that makes me feel so special. The verse says He knoweth them that trust in him. I know him and best of all He knows me. We talked about that last week remember, I said that there are over 8 billion people in the world and out of those 8 billion, God knows me personally. When we trust Him he will lead us where we should go. Trust is a crazy things isn’t it. Take for instance a trust fall, does anyone know what a trust fall is? Let me demonstrate. Major Monica, do you trust me? Good, come here for a minute, let’s demonstrate what true trust is… (Do a trust fall)
Major Monica knows that I will always be there to catch her when she falls (figuratively) but you know, God will always be there to catch us. The thing with a trust fall is that you have to trust the person behind you to catch you. If you don’t trust them, you won’t fall, but if you do trust them, you won’t have a second thought about it because you have a close relationship with them and you know that they are there for you. God is the same way, He is so good to us, and in His word, He promises to never leave us. Like I mentioned before, there are over 8800 promises that have been made in the bible, God has fulfilled 7800 of them so far, so why should I doubt Him when he says that he loves me and that he will never leave me.
In closing this morning, I hope that you have seen in this one verse found in Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” that the Lord is truly good as evidenced by Him going to the cross on our behalf, He protects us just like a the strongholds of a fortress, He wraps his loving arms around us to protect us. And Finally because of all these things, He is truly worthy of our faith. I would challenge you this morning to take the message that God is Good to everyone that you meet this week. Find a way to express to them what God has done for you. How has God changed your life, you will be surprised when you let go and let God take control of your thoughts and words, how amazing things will be. The Lord is good, a stronghold in times of trouble. He cares for those who put their trust in Him.
Let’s Pray.
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