There are few verses more terrifying that these from Nahum chapter 1:
The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.
The Lord is good, but… is not something that you want to hear directed toward you. These words were directed toward the city of Nineveh through the prophet Nahum. Apparently, since the time of Jonah, Nineveh had not sufficiently proven that their initial repentance was of genuine faith. Now, a few centuries later, the city is prepared for destruction and God is ready to wipe them out.
Why these verse appear at all is interesting. If God were about to whet His sword and bring a city to ruin, why bother announcing His goodness? What good would it do? Well, if we’ve learned anything from Manasseh over the last few days, it would seem that God announcing His own goodness at the 11th hour does much good. Manasseh turned to the Lord from his wicked ways at the brink of his own destruction at the hands of Assyria. So why would some in Nineveh not hear the call of God and turn as well? For God reminds them that He knows those who turn toward Him. He knows them because they are his lost sheep. He knows them because He loves them. And their turning and finding shelter in Him will be the proof of His love for them. God calls and His people respond.
God will judge the world. All evil will come to destruction, and there will be no refuge for the rebellious, but God will shelter those who find their rest in Him. He will keep those who call Him Lord, even if they only come at the final call. He does not show partiality. God saves up until the very last breath. But we must not miss the call. The fate of Nineveh is the fate of all who fail to put their hope in Christ. They are not uniquely destined for God will by no means clear any of the guilty. But because of Jesus, because Jesus died in place of the guilty, we have only to trust in Him and be saved from death, brought into the very family of God forever.
God is good.