The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him (Nahum 1:7, esv).
Not just every fact that can possibly be known. He doesn’t just know, for example, which of His children are in bankruptcy court this morning, or how many of us could eat an entire bowl of popcorn if it was set down before us. His knowledge is not limited—as if it could be—to His lofty, omniscient awareness of the past, present, and future, in all places, everywhere.
Nor does He know only what the Bible makes clear He knows about us—things He knows personally about all His people. Things like knowing our name—“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1b). Or knowing our thoughts—“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2). Or knowing the exact number of hairs on our head, like Jesus referred to with His disciples in Luke 12:7.
Yes, He knows all of that.
And yet maybe even more profound than His knowledge of facts, names, dates, and faces is the liberating truth that “he knows those who take refuge in him.” He knows when you are trusting Him. He knows when you’re believing Him. He knows when you’re refusing to give in to your standard go-to reactions of fear, worry, escape, or addiction, and you are genuinely laying it all down—leaning, resting, and waiting on Him.
He knows. No one else may know it—not yet anyway. But you can be absolutely sure God knows and can be trusted to respond to your faith with living evidence of His love and goodness toward you . . . based on His knowledge of you and your right-now situation.
Maybe someone has harmed you; they’ve said something to you; they’ve hurt you—perhaps repeatedly hurt you—and you’re not over it yet. But the Lord knows if you’ve chosen not to take vengeance on that person or those people. He knows you’re not seeking payback. He knows you’re not going to be mean-spirited or unkind in your thoughts or actions, despite whatever hateful suggestions your emotions may be feeding you.
He also knows if you’ve chosen to take the next step—to forgive them—to write off the whole distressing matter, to let it go. He knows when you’ve determined, as a forgiven person yourself, not to treat someone else with the stone-cold, merciless rejection that God could so easily have expressed toward us as well.
He knows, too, when you’ve chosen to go beyond even these admirable lengths—beyond release, beyond forgiveness—and have trusted His Spirit to help you actually “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He knows when your heart is genuinely turned toward wishing and working for the blessing of these people who’ve hurt you, to the point where you’re taking Paul up on his daring challenge: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:20–21).
God knows when that’s you, just as He knows when it’s not.
Which one do you want Him to know you for today?
Father, thank You for giving me this treasured place in Your Word—this place that is so reflective of Your heart and Your goodness—which reminds me that You notice my reliance on You. Thank You for being that solid rock that gives my trust in You a firm place to stand. Lead me to increasingly believe in the impenetrable safety of You as my stronghold. Help me to resist the temptation to run to false hideouts that provide no safety. When You look at me, may You see Your child who runs first and foremost to You. I praise You for Your faithful goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.