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From “Christ is Everything to His Followers.” Used also at Belhaven University and in counseling and prison ministry.
Last time we began to look at Nahum 1:7 which summarizes much of the Bible in a nutshell. If you missed it, you can read Christ is Good (Even in Hard Times)
The LORD is good, A refuge in time of trouble;
And He cares for those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)
This is Part 2 of 3 reflections on this single Scripture and I take a Christ-centered approach to this Old Testament (“OT”) verse. The Apostle Peter reminds us that the OT prophets were filled with the Spirit of Christ, pointing ahead to Jesus’ sufferings and Jesus’ glories that follow.1 Christ says through Nahum that He is our refuge in time of trouble. The Hebrew word means a stronghold, a mighty fortress, a haven, a hiding place. Why do we need that? You may know the answer.
The Devil is our Enemy
The Bible says that Satan is a fallen angel and our adversary. He is the slanderer who thinks, speaks, and acts in constant opposition to God and to God’s people. The devil hates the Lord and hates us, because we are God’s image bearers. Satan knows He can’t hurt God, so He tries to hurt God by hurting us.
The LORD created all human beings. Every color, shape and size, we are precious in God’s eyes. Jesus loves all of His people in the world.2 But the devil disguises himself as an angel of light to fool us, tempt us, destroy us. Scripture calls Satan a serpent, a dragon, a roaring lion who tries to devour us. The devil is the Evil One, a liar, and a murderer. He is sly, hateful, ferocious, and cruel to God’s people. So we need Christ to keep on being our Almighty Refuge.
A Parallel Proverb
Proverbs 18:10 says: The LORD is a strong tower; believers run to Him and are safe. Jesus is not just our Bridge to God; He is also our refuge, our shield, our fortress. Christ guards us all the time, if we are His. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Christ says–I number all the hairs on your head; I put all your tears in my bottle; I write all your days in my book.3 Jesus says: That’s how much I love you. So don’t run away from me. Run back to me in time of trouble.
Through Nahum (around 600 BC), Christ was originally talking to a handful of believers in Nineveh.4 They were leftovers from God’s revival in Jonah’s day, the remnant chosen and preserved by grace. Now Jesus speaks to you and me today through His Scriptures. God’s only Son still comes to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. Jesus protects us today all around the world.
Christ Demonstrates His Love in Hard Times
Like a loving parent or Elder Brother, Jesus shows His care most of all when we are disturbed and distressed, ailing and afflicted, fearful and failing. When we feel like we are coming un-hinged or un-glued. That’s how great His love for us is. Christ says in Nahum 1:7: I am your refuge in time of trouble. The Hebrew original says: In the day of tribulation. This means that bad things don’t last forever for Jesus’ believers. The worst suffering in this life is only temporary. Thanks be to God!
Suffering is Only Temporary
Mothers often remember how long their labor lasted for their baby. Maybe 8 hours? Maybe 18 hours? The pain can be very bad. But when your baby arrives, you are relieved. The suffering ends and you have wonderful new little girl or boy, a precious gift from God. If we follow Jesus, our distress in this life will not last forever. Christ promises!5
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.6
Jesus is so loving, He wants the best for you. He is so wise, He knows what’s best. And He is so strong, Christ always does what’s best for His followers. So taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are you who take refuge in Him.7
The Apostle Peter says: Rejoice in Christ greatly, though now for a little while you suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Hang on, because God will give you praise, glory, and honor when Jesus comes back. Hang on, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Hang on, because in God’s great mercy you have new birth into a living hope through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Hang on, because you have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. It is kept in Heaven for you, and through faith you are shielded by God’s power until Christ returns for you. Read 1 Peter chapter 1.
Surely some of you reading have been hurt by Satan and other people. You’ve suffered the painful consequences from your own sins and other people’s sins against you. You’ve been burned and kicked around, abandoned and abused. Time does not heal all wounds; that’s a lie. But Christ promises to heal all that ails us. Partial healing may come in this life. Total healing is guaranteed in Heaven.
Believe God’s promises of eternal protection! Run to Jesus now in faith and in prayer. Run to Him for the first time and all the time. Ask Christ to help you today. Jesus says: Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Jesus says: Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.8
Pray now to God silently or out loud. Just as you are, just where you are. The right time is now, beloved! Today is the day of salvation!9 Christ gives His followers eternal protection. That’s why we lovingly warn unbelievers to flee from Jesus’ wrath. That’s why we lovingly plead with them to be reconciled to God in Christ.
Nahum 1:7 says: “The LORD is good, a refuge in time of trouble. And He cares for those who trust in Him.” Let us trust and obey Jesus Christ and live in His perfect peace.
Next time, we’ll explore more truths from this wonderful Scripture.
Notes (various translations): 1 1 Pet 1:10-11. 2 Ps 145:9; Matt 5:45; Luke 6:35; Acts 14:17. 3 Matt 10:30; Ps 56:8; Ps 139:16. 4 Nineveh was located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. 5 1 Peter 1:6; 5:10. 6 John 16:20-22. 7 Psalm 34:8. 8 Matt 11:28-30. 9 Isaiah 49:8; 2 Cor 6:2; 1 Tim 4:10.