“His way is in the whirlwind and the storm…” (Nahum 1:3)
This summer as we’ve been moving through the Minor Prophets, we have reiterated the fact that the God of the Old Testament gets a bad rap. Admittedly, I have often shied away from diving too deeply into these earlier books of the Bible because I simply can’t rectify the God of peace and love that I know, with some of the horrific judgments we see occur there.
Nahum is one of the prophets to foretell of such judgment. He actually follows up on the promise made by Jonah to the people of Nineveh, that if they do not change their ways, they will have to answer to Almighty God. While the book as a whole clearly shows God’s willingness to punish those guilty of wickedness, and His power to carry out His desire for judgment, it also contains rays of hope shining through the darkness. Most significantly, the people of Judah would have taken hope in the idea that Nineveh, their primary oppressor for generations, would soon come under judgment from God.
Have you ever been in a truly DARK place? Like, one of those times where you try and try and try but there is simply NO crack where light is coming through. You feel like you are failing, like you can’t measure up, like there is simply no purpose for your being here. You didn’t accomplish what you wanted to in school or your career, you literally cringe when people ask “what you’re up to these days”, and your personal life is repeated train wrecks. Surprise, surprise, I am speaking from personal experience. This life can be SO. HARD. It is sad, and painful, and pretty much unbearable sometimes. I can’t even imagine how much bigger those feelings must have been for the people of Judah, who were literally enslaved. The only way I can actually make sense of Nahum’s words of affirmation and comfort is to compare it, in some way, to human relationships.
No relationship is “good” all of the time. In fact, it is often viewed as a negative thing if long-term couples have “never even had a fight”. We learn quickly that you only REALLY know somebody during the hard times. It’s easy to think somebody is wonderful when everything is going right, but seeing how they fight or how they handle stress lets you know who they really are. Admittedly, this is an over-simplification of where we find the nation of Judah in this story, but the concept applies. Nahum is telling his people that their good God; the one who loves them and has promised justice for their oppressors followed by peace and healing for them; He is on the way.
They are so tired of waiting. But “His way is in the whirlwind and the storm”. God asks them (and us) to TRUST Him when the path is just too hard. He promises that this is not where our story ends; rather it is where we see JUST who He is. It is the fight. It is where we can either walk away from our relationship with the Creator of the universe, or we can stick it out and let our faith grow. And He promises….PROMISES…that if we grow in the storm….our peace and healing is on the way. The raw and real power of God shows up on our behalf. He is fighting for us every step of the way through the darkness…and He CANNOT be defeated.