The violent protector. . .

The prophecy of Nahum is a pretty graphic poem. God pours out his anger on the Assyrians, and in a beautiful monologue, describes how he will ravage their capital city of Nineveh. But in the middle of the passage he pauses to give us a clue as to why he’s unleashing his wrath on the great city.

The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.

It seems oddly placed right after a passage about his fierce anger being poured out like fire and right before one that describes him pursuing his foes.

Or maybe not so oddly placed. For those of us who trust God, he promises to protect us. The “refuge in times of trouble” is most needed when we’re in the middle of violence and suffering. We can never fully comprehend the agony we have to deal with in life, but we can trust God because he cares for us. The almighty Creator and Judge of the universe has taken time to promise us that he cares.

Yes, God is pouring out violence on those who rebel against him. But he’s doing it because he loves us. It’s like the dad whose family is under attack. He explodes in rage and violence upon those who would threaten his loved ones. Yet he turns to them and says, “No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.”

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