Good News about the Bad News You Hear

Nahum’s words offer encouragement and an invitation.

It seems the news isn’t news unless it’s bad news. You know, apart from a context of truth, the daily news feels like a wet blanket on our flame. But remember, the news chases ratings and clicks—not the whole truth.

Good News about the Bad News We Hear

(Photo by Photodune)

As I read the news each day, I have to remember it isn’t reporting the progress of God’s kingdom. In fact, headlines tend to hide the other half of the truth and focus only on the negative.

The prophet Nahum pulls back the curtain and shows us what God is doing in a world where it seems like the wheels have fallen off.

In the midst of the bad news you’ll hear today, there’s also some good news you need to hear.

Nahum’s News isn’t New

Centuries ago, God gave Nahum the message that Jonah wished he could have preached 100 years earlier: the wicked nation of Assyria would be destroyed.

  • The short-lived repentance the Ninevites had shown to Jonah did nothing but delay the inevitable.
  • The impending doom on Nineveh, the capital of the wicked Assyrian Empire, represented the justice God promises to mete out on all who refuse to repent and to believe in the Lord.

On the other hand, the book of Nahum offers comfort to all of God’s people “who take refuge in Him.”

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, 
and He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood
 He will make a complete end of its site,
 and will pursue His enemies into darkness. —Nahum 1:7–8

The good news? Even though He may temper His timing with patience, God’s justice will come one day on a world that snubs Him.

God gives good news

(Photo: Roland Unger, GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

In times of unprecedented evil and of God’s seeming absence—we can take comfort in knowing there will come a day when all believers will find satisfaction and all who ignore God will find condemnation under the scrutiny of God’s impartial justice.

For the Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob Like the splendor of Israel,
 even though devastators have devastated them and destroyed their vine branches. —Nahum 2:2

An Invitation to the Nations Who Snub God

In addition to Nineveh, God would later give Babylon and even Jerusalem a similar message of judgment (Is. 47:1–3; Ezek. 16:37). This message reveals that the Lord opposes any nation that thumbs its nose at His authority and disregards the value of human life.

  • Even though Assyria’s godless ways had endured for centuries, God devastated it when His sovereign purposes had run their course.
  • The ruins of Nineveh stand as a warning to all countries that scoff at God’s Word. The Lord unequivocally stated: “I am against you” (Nah. 2:13).

The good news? God offers grace to any nation whose citizens see their wicked ways and repent (Jer. 18:7–8)—just as Nineveh did during the preaching of Jonah (Jon. 3:10).

Good News about the Bad News We Hear

Not only did God promise to destroy the Assyrians, but the Lord also promised to restore the “splendor” of the Jews.

  • The Hebrew term for “splendor” refers to an exaltation associated with authority and power, a prophecy Israel will realize only when the Messiah rules from Jerusalem in His millennial kingdom (Dan. 7:14–15).
  • The “vine branches” destroyed by Nineveh will find restoration in the Messiah’s reign, an era which prophecy characterizes as an age of abundant wine—and which Jesus foreshadowed at Cana in His first miracle (Gen. 49:11–12; John 2:1–11).

The good news? As Christians, we also look forward to the time when we, along with Israel, will rule the world under the authority of the benevolent direction of Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:4–6). All the devastation of our lives will vanish in the light of Christ’s glorious presence.

As we read the news each day, let’s keep the big picture in perspective. The Bible gives us the other half of the story.

The Word of God gives us some good news to the bad news we hear.

Tell me what you think: How do you keep the good news in mind each day? To leave a comment, just click here.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, “Nahum,” in Insight’s Bible Application Guide: Isaiah–Malachi (IFL Publishing House, 2015), pages 186-188.

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