Nahum 1:7: “The LORD [is] good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
Nahum was a prophet in the days of King Josiah. He was an Elkoshite, a religious order devoted to peace and trusting God in everything. He served under King Josiah of Judah who was a Godly king all the way up to the end of his life when his faith failed him. The Assyrians were the world power at that time but were in decline due to internal conflicts with the rising power of the Babylonian Empire who would soon overrun Nineveh their capital city and then the Babylonians would set it up as their capital. Egypt had been under the rule of the Assyrians but with the weakened state of Assyrian the Egyptians were able to establish some sort of independence from the Assyrians but were very much aware of the rising threat of the Babylonians. Located right in the middle of the Assyrian Empire and the Egyptian empire was the Kingdom Judah. Assyrian had attempted to conquer Judah as it had its Northern Empire but because of Godly kings of Judah Jerusalem was not conquered by the Assyrians.
Not only that but because of the internal conflicts of Assyria and Egypt trying to reestablish itself as an independent kingdom, Judah enjoyed relative peace and prosperity under the Godly King Josiah who became a king at the age of 8 and through the influence of a Godly mother and priest. He instituted great religious reforms and turned the people back to God and away from idolatry. Yet at the end of his life, he failed to listen to the voice of God though the Prophet Nahum and failed to trust God to take care of world affairs. When Egypt attempted to come to the aid of Assyria against the Babylonians, King Josiah tried to stop them as he felt that if the Assyrians did throw off the Babylonians they would use their renewed power to take down Jerusalem. Yet, God said: “Hey don’t sweat it, I have everything under control. But King Josiah still had to do something so he attacked Egypt in the Valley of Megiddo as Egypt tried to join up with the Assyrians. A brutal battled ensured and King Josiah was killed. Egypt went on to join the Assyrians but still lost to the Babylonians which is what King Josiah wanted in the first place and what God had predicted would happen without King Josiah’s interference. .
Still, King Josiah was well aware of the prophecy of Nahum and chose to ignore it. King Josiah was afraid of the Assyrian Empire even though it was in decline. He feared it was rising back up and once reestablished they finish the job they started with Israel. Yet, through the prophet Nahum, God clearly told King Josiah and Judah they had nothing to worry about. Nahum 1:15: “Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; pay your vows, for never again will the wicked one pass through you, he is cut off completely.”
Nahum then proceeds in the next two chapters to give in precise detail just how the destruction of their enemy would take place. Their warriors would be dressed in scarlet with red shields. This was done so that if the warrior was wounded his enemy would not see the blood and would not realize he struck a fatal blow. Assyria would be destroyed with the very weapon that made them a world power, chariots. Only these chariots had those Ben Hur wheel covers, you know the ones with the razor sharp knives and they would run through the cities to and fro slicing and dicing. The razors shinning off the sun’s reflections like lightning flashes. With a prophecy like that from a well established holy man and prophet like Nahum, you would think a Godly King like Josiah would utter those famous words of Alfred Newman: “What? Me worry?” But he did worry.
Nahum tells King Josiah, the Lord is good or tov in harmony with you. As a result He is a stronghold in the day of trouble. A stronghold is ma’oz which is a place of safety. It comes from a Phoenician word. The Phoenicians were great ship builders and merchants of the seas. During times of stormy weather their ships would seek a ma’oz or a safe harbor to ride out the storm. That is what God is saying, when you are caught in the storms of life, just pull into God’s harbor which is a safe harbor and ride out the storm. King Josiah felt a storm was coming and rather than seek a safe harbor in God, he got an army together and took matters into his own hands, resulting in his death. The verse goes on to say; “He knows those that trust Him.” Safe harbors meant you must have treaties with the country providing the safe harbor, if they don’t recognize or know your nation, you are going to be riding out the storm in the storm. That word know in the Hebrew is yada’ which is an intimate knowing. God knows you intimately, you are not only welcomed to find shelter in His safe harbor, but he will wine and dine you while you ride out the storm.
I recently faced a storm in my life. I could not help but related to King Josiah. A man who served God since the age of eight. I too served God from an early age, I loved Him and sought to always put Him first. As a result He did many wonderful things in my life. You would think by my later years it would be snap to trust God when that storm came, to pull into His harbor as I had done some many other times in my life. Yet, even after all those years, I found myself seeking the arm of the flesh, taking matters in my own hands to weather this storm until God brought me to the Book of Nahum and the failure of King Josiah to remind me that no matter how many years I faithfully served God and trusted Him, that is no guarantee that the enemy can’t send a storm in my life and cause me to panic and seek the arm of the flesh rather than just trust God.
I think the enemy just delights in taking us older, experienced, seasoned believers like King Josiah and throw a storm in our life that causes us to reach out to destroy Egypt through our own power rather than just sitting back and trusting God to care of it. No matter how many years we served God, the enemy can still take us down. It cost King Josiah his life.
1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”