by Dianne Eckermann
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The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7).
I have only once experienced an earthquake, although I did not instantly realise what was happening. It was an unusual sound, like an extraordinary wind rushing in from nowhere, which was the first sign. Then the house began to creak rather alarmingly as the earth moved powerfully beneath us. The power of the earthquake and our powerlessness as it unfolded were both disconcerting once we realised what was happening.
Nahum begins this prophecy about the downfall of the seemingly invincible Nineveh with a description of the power of God over the natural world. It is God who can make the mountains quake or melt away. It is the power of God that can shatter rocks.
Having established just how powerful God is, Nahum also explains the caring nature of God. God is a God of refuge who cares for those who trust in him. God cares because he knows us; we know we can find shelter and refuge in him. Nahum shows that the power of God over nature means that God is also a powerful refuge.
After beginning this passage with a description of God as a powerful God, before moving to God as a refuge and comfort, Nahum then warns that God has the power to end Nineveh. Does this mean God is changeable? Not at all. God has always been powerful. He has always cared. Nineveh had been warned previously by Jonah that the city needed to change its ways or it would be destroyed, and for a time, they did change before reverting to the behaviour that separated them from God. It is not God who changes. It is people who lose their trust and people whose arrogance separates them from God’s care and comfort. This was true of the people in Nineveh; it has been true throughout history, just as it is true of people today. Our comfort is that God is always a good refuge in times of trouble.
Heavenly Father, in this ever-changing world, we thank you for your enduring care for us and the comfort we have in you. May our trust in you always remain. Amen.
Dianne has worked in varying roles in Lutheran schools and is currently Director of Leadership at Lutheran Education Australia. She lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband Rob, two dogs, and several kangaroos who visit regularly. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, the company of her children and grandchildren and walking along the River Torrens Linear Park Trail.