Intro. Nineveh was a great city and the capitol of the Assyrian Empire. It was a wicked city and destined for destruction because of their sin. God said that He was going to bury them because they were so vile. A hundred years before Nahum prophesied the pending judgment Jonah was sent to the city with a warning from God that they had just 40 days until the judgment fell. At that time the people repented, and were spared the judgment. Now they have reverted again to their old ways and the judgment of God is about to come. The prophet has been declaring the fierceness of God's anger and the indignation, and fury that is to be poured out like fire. In the midst of the description of the judgment of God he declares;
I. THE LORD IS GOOD.
A. There are often circumstances in our lives that would cause us to challenge that truth.
1. We often experience painful situations that we cannot understand.
2. We are prone to ask, "If God is good, why did He allow this to happen to me."
B. In Psalm 73
Asaph the author of that Psalm began with the declaration, "Truly God is good." But then he went on to reveal how he was almost tripped up because he could not understand how the wicked seemed to prosper while he was going through such great affliction.
C. Pain, suffering, sorrow, tribulation, trials, disappointment these are times of challenge when my faith is being tested.
1. Does God allow pain?
2. Maybe we should better ask, "Why does God allow pain?" for it is obvious that He does.
3. Why does God allow me to suffer?
4. Look at Joseph. Cruelly mistreated by his brothers, sold as a slave to a caravan of people going to Egypt. Falsely accused and imprisoned. Spent two years in prison as butler forgot about him. Any one of these experiences could be a great challenge to faith, and the belief that God is good.
5. Look at Job. Lost everything, possessions, family, health, friends. "He knows that way that I take, and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
6. Look at Paul the Apostle. Beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, finally beheaded. "The present suffering is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed." The light affliction which is but for a moment worketh an exceeding eternal weight of glory."
7. In Hebrews 11
we are told what things God allowed to happen to men of faith.
And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in desert, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.
8. Ask any of them about God, and I am certain the reply would be a declaration of the goodness of God.
II. HE IS A STRONGHOLD IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE.
A. We can all expect to have days of trouble.
1. This is true if you are a Christian or not.
2. We are living in a world that is in rebellion against God.
3. The result of that rebellion is manifested all around us in the lawlessness, and general breakdown of our society.
B. Where can one turn to find safety?
1. What is a truly safe investment?
2. Travellers are now warned not to take anything of value with them when they travel.
a. Don't even take fake jewelry, some of the thieves are not smart enough to recognize it as fake.
b. Where in the world can you go and be truly safe?
C. The Lord is a stronghold. A hold is a fortress, so He is a strong fortress.
1. In time of trouble the people would run to the fortress for safety. The fortress could withstand the attack.
2. In Proverbs we read, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe."
3. In looking at tho world, the only safe place has always been the Lord.
William Cushing wrote:
O safe to the Rock that is higher than I
My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly
So sinful so weary, Thine, Thine would I be,
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee.
In the calm of the noontide, in sorrow's lone hour,
In times when temptation casts o'er me its power;
In the tempests of life, on its wide heaving sea,
Thou blest Rock of ages, I'm hiding in Thee.
How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,
I have fled to my Refuge and breathed our my woe;
How often when trials like sea billows roll,
Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul.
C. When in trouble, where do you turn? Do you turn within for that extra grit to bear up under the pressure?
1. People often live by motto's.
a. What you can't cure, you must endure.
b. Just grin and bare it.
c. I think I can.
d. Every day and in every way, the world is getting better and better and better.
2. In real trouble, motto's aren't much help.
3. But where do you turn? To a friend, a family member? Have you ever turned to a friend for help, only to find that he had greater problems than you?
4. I would advise you to turn to the Lord, He is a stronghold in the time of trouble, and I want Him to keep a stronghold on me.
III. "AND HE KNOWETH THEM THAT TRUST IN HIM."
A. It is interesting how many people there are that think that they know the Lord.
1. They have their ideas and concepts about God.
2. The God that they know is not the God that I know.
3. The God that I know is the One who has revealed Himself through the Bible.
4. So many people want to create their own God.
5. There are things in the Bible that they do not understand, concepts that they do not like.
6. They are not happy with a God that punishes sin.
7. They do not want a God who demands holiness.
8. So they give up the true God for one of their own making.
B. Jesus tells us that when the day of judgment comes, there will be many who will say to Him in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many marvelous works? And then I will profess unto them, "I never knew you." The Lord knows those that put their trust in Him.
1. Have you put your trust in the Lord today?
2. Can it be said of you, "There is a person who truly trusts in the Lord."
C. I am amazed at the things that people will put their trust in, all the while declaring their problem of putting their trust in the Lord.
1. There were those who put their trust in Gibraltar Savings for it was as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.
2. David said, I will not trust in my bow, neither in my sword to save me.
3. Isaiah said, "God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid."
4. He also warned against trusting in the help of Egypt in their horses and chariots.
5. The New Testament warns us against trusting in the uncertainty of riches.
D. Put your trust in the Lord today, He knows them that trust in Him.