Sometimes when people read the Old Testament prophets, they develop a false view of God. They read about God’s judgment, not only for the people of Israel, but also for other nations. They may think God is quick-tem- pered and always watching in order to punish, when the exact opposite is true. The Bible tells us that God is pa- tient and slow to anger (Numbers 14:18; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Nahum 1:3). God did send words of judgment through His prophets, but there was always time for repentance. For example, Noah was told about the earth’s coming destruction, but judgment did not come for 120 years. God told Moses that the Canaanites were wicked people, but they did not receive judgment for 400 years. The Northern Kingdom had 210 years before their exile, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah, did not experience God’s full judgment for over a century.
God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). He is unable to tolerate sin, yet He shows patience for the purpose of bringing people to repentance.
Review: Last week we learned about the prophet Habakkuk. He had a conversation with God about why God was allowing Judah to go unpunished for their sin. When God told Habakkuk that Judah would be punished with the invasion of Babylon, Habakkuk was shocked that God would use such a wicked nation. In the final chapter, Habakkuk’s words change from questions to praise.
What lesson did Habakkuk learn from his conversation with God? Habakkuk learned to trust God no matter what the circumstances, even when he did not understand.
Scripture Reading: Nahum 1–3
The prophet Nahum was a prophet to the Assyrian capital city, Ninevah. His prophecy came over a century later than Jonah’s first proclamation of judgment on this city.
- What does Nahum say is the reason Ninevah is being judged? (1:2–3) The guilty will not be unpunished. Although Ninevah repented when Jonah was sent to them, they had returned to their old sinful ways, and they were a constant problem for Judah.
- What things happen in verses 4–5? The sea and rivers dry up; blossoms fade; mountains quake; earth trembles. Just as God caused the Red Sea to part for Moses and the people of Israel, God can do with the sea as He wishes. Without water the flowers and trees would dry up and die. God brings the flood, and He also brings the drought. When God cuts off the water supply, plant life dies. God is in control of everything; He is
- What does God promise in verse 7? The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust
in Him. Do you trust in God? Have you asked Jesus to come into your life? The Bible tells us that we will be judged by God. He wants us to come to Him and let Him be in charge of our lives. He wants us to be in Heav- en with Him. There is only one way to do this. We must ask Jesus to come into our life and believe that He died and rose again to pay the punishment for our wrongs. We must trust in Him.
The book of Nahum is about God’s judgment against Ninevah, but there is much more to the book. It talks about God’s patience and compassion. He does not take pleasure in sending judgment on anyone, even if they are not following His ways. God always did and still does make a way of salvation for anyone who turns to Him.
John 3:16 is a very familiar verse, but it is a wonderful summary of the main message of the Bible; the message of God’s salvation offered to all. Read or recite the verse together. Use your prayer time in praise and thanksgiving to God for His precious gift.
Directions: Have two family members role play the following:
Instruct family member #1 to tap the other person on the shoulder with their finger over and over. Have family member #2 (the one whose shoulder is being tapped) ask family member #1 to stop. Family member #1 should say he or she is sorry, but then after stopping for only a second, start tapping again. Have the family members repeat this process a few times. Finally have them stop. Talk about whether the person who was tapping was really sorry. Why do you think the person played by family member #1 wasn’t really sorry, even though he or she apologized? Explain how our actions show whether or not we are really sorry. Discuss how God is a forgiving and patient God, but there is a point when God chooses to bring correction to those He loves.
Lesson: June 7th