July 15, 2018 – Nahum 1 – 3

Lesson Date: July 15, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: Nahum 1:1-9, 15; 2:8-10, 13; 3:1-7, 18-19

AIM: To lead students to describe the wrath and judgment God promised to pour out upon Nineveh, and to thank the Lord for His goodness to them.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Nahum 1 – 3 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Read the Introduction to Nahum in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Doomed!” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the word “Doomed!” written on the board. Ask the students to suggest definitions for the word. After some responses, tell them the dictionary says the word doomed means to be facing certain defeat, disaster, or death.[1] Ask the students to name some situations in which people would be considered doomed. They might suggest someone who receives a diagnosis of untreatable cancer or someone trapped under tons of rubble after an earthquake. Without Divine intervention, such persons will certainly die. After allowing time for responses, remind them of the passengers and crew aboard the great luxury ship Titanic. Most of them were doomed to watery graves in the frigid North Atlantic. Also mention the 2003 crew of the space shuttle Columbia who blasted off on an exciting mission, not knowing that damage to their craft doomed them all to die during reentry.

Tell the class the word doomed is not limited to disease, disaster, or mechanical failure. In fact, the Bible tells us those who reject Jesus Christ and rebel against God are doomed to an eternity in hell. Today’s lesson is about a group of people who through their actions doomed themselves to face God’s unstoppable judgment.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review and Introduction to Nahum.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson from Micah about?” (Israel was guilty but pardoned).
    • Ask if anyone would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Micah 6:8).
    • Direct the class’ attention to the Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Renewal
    • Remind them that throughout this quarter we have seen that sin brings God’s judgment, but genuine repentance brings renewal and blessings.
    • Tell the students today’s lesson is from the Old Testament book of Nahum.
    • Briefly introduce the book of Nahum using the following outline:
      • Read Nahum 1:1.
      • Nahum’s prophecy is a message of judgment upon the city of Nineveh (locate Nineveh on the map).
      • Nineveh was the capital of the kingdom of Assyria. The people of Nineveh were known for their wickedness, cruelty, and idolatry (Jon. 1:2).
      • In 760 BC. God told Jonah to go prophesy against Nineveh.
      • Jonah didn’t want to go because he hated and feared the Ninevites.
      • After running from God and finding himself inside the belly of a great fish, Jonah finally obeyed the Lord and preached a warning of judgment in Nineveh.
      • Much to Jonah’s surprise, all the rulers and people of Nineveh repented of their sins and turned to God.
      • 100 years later, however, the Ninevites were as wicked and cruel as ever.
      • That’s when God gave Nahum this message of judgment upon Nineveh. God’s patience had run out – the people of Nineveh were doomed!
  2. The Lord’s Unstoppable Wrath Against Nineveh.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Nahum 1:2-3.
    • Ask: “How does God feel toward those who turn away from Him or hate Him?” (fury, vengeance, and wrath).
    • Ask: “What is the first phrase of verse 2?” (“The Lord is slow to anger”).
    • Ask: “Does that mean He won’t punish the wicked?” (no, His judgment might appear slow but it is certain).
    • Read Nahum 1:4-6.
    • Tell the class Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon were very fertile, fruitful places.
    • Ask: “How much power does the Lord have over the sea and the land and the mountains?” (He can dry up the sea, make the fertile places barren, and cause the mountains to shake and melt – He has absolute power).
    • Tell the students verse 6 says no one can stand before the Lord’s indignation and anger.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Nahum 1:7.
    • Ask: “The Lord is what?” (good and a place of protection in times of trouble).
    • Ask: “Who does He know?” (those who trust in him).
    • Tell the students the glorious truth of that verse is that God is good and if we place our trust in Him He knows and cares about us.
    • Read Nahum 1:8-9.
    • Explain that Nineveh’s defenses were incredible.
      • The city walls were 100 feet high and wide enough on top to accommodate three chariots riding abreast.
      • There were towers on top of the walls, reaching as much as another 100 feet higher.
      • There was a giant moat surrounding the city 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep.
    • History reveals that in 612 BC the Tigris River overflowed its banks, destroying part of Nineveh’s great wall. The attacking Babylonian army invaded through the breach in the wall and destroyed the city.
    • God orchestrated events to make “an utter end” of Nineveh. In fact, Nineveh was so thoroughly destroyed that the ruins of the city were not discovered until 1842, almost 2,500 years later!
    • Summarize: The Lord’s wrath toward the city of Nineveh was unstoppable because her people were so sinful and violent.
  3. Nineveh’s Unavoidable Destruction.
    • Read Nahum 2:8-10.
    • Tell the students verse 8 pictures Nineveh’s army fleeing in fear from the attacking Babylonians.
    • Ask: “According to verse 9, what were the conquering Babylonians going to take from Nineveh?” (everything of value).
    • Ask: “According to verse 10, what would be left after the Babylonians conquered Nineveh?” (nothing but dismay, fear, and pain).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Nahum 2:13.
    • Ask: “How did the Lord feel about Nineveh?” (He was against her).
    • Comment to the class that it is a terrible thing for God to be against you.
    • Tell the students the next few verses describe the bloody destruction of Nineveh.
    • Read Nahum 3:1-4.
    • Ask them what they heard in those verses that depict a bloody conquest (the sound of horses, whips, and chariots and the sight of swords, spears, and corpses).
    • Ask: “According to verse 4, why did this terrible fate await Nineveh?” (because of her harlotry – both physical and spiritual – and her witchcraft).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Nahum 3:4-7.
    • Note that for a second time God said He was against Nineveh.
    • Ask: “What kinds of things did God promise to do to Nineveh?” (disgrace her publicly, defile her with filth, and destroy her so thoroughly that observers will be amazed).
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 7, who will be left to mourn for Nineveh or comfort her inhabitants?” (no one).
    • Read Nahum 3:18-19.
    • Ask: “What did God promise would happen to Nineveh’s rulers and people?” (the rulers will die and the people will be scattered).
    • Ask: “Was there any hope for Nineveh?” (no).
    • Note that everyone who heard about Nineveh’s fall would rejoice.
    • Summarize: The Lord decreed total destruction for Nineveh. God’s judicial decree cannot be stopped.
  4. The Lord’s Unwarranted Mercy.
    • Tell the class this is a very gloomy prophecy.
    • Ask the following rhetorical question: “Is there any good news we can glean from the little book of Nahum?” Tell the students there is.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Nahum 1:7
    • Remind the students that the Lord is always good, even when He must pronounce destructive judgment upon sinners. In fact, if He did NOT execute judgment the Lord would NOT be good. It may be popular today to let wickedness go unpunished, but it is not good.
    • Tell the class verse 7 also reminds us that the Lord knows those who trust in Him. That is good news!
    • Read 2 Timothy 2:19 to reinforce this truth.
    • Tell the students there one more piece of good news in Nahum.
    • Read Nahum 1:15.
    • Tell the class it may seem that wickedness and evil are winning, but God will always have a witness. He will always have faithful servants who will bring Good News about how to have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
    • Ask everyone to turn in their Bibles to Romans 10.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Romans 10:15.
    • Tell the class that verse is a quotation from Nahum 1:15. God praises those who bring the “gospel of peace.”
    • Ask the following rhetorical question: “What is that gospel of peace?”
    • Read Romans 10:9-10, 13.
    • Tell the class the Good News the little book of Nahum points toward is the fact that whoever sincerely believes in Jesus Christ and confesses Him with their mouth will be saved. Anyone who truly calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.
    • Summarize: Everyone has sinned and deserves death and hell, but the Lord’s unwarranted, undeserved mercy is evident in the fact Jesus Christ purchased salvation for everyone who sincerely repents and places their trust in Him.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that the people of Nineveh were doomed. Because of their sin, God in His Divine wrath promised that they would be utterly destroyed. Similarly, those who reject Jesus Christ as Savior are also doomed. Because of their sin, they are doomed to face eternal judgment and torment in hell.

Tell the students the people of Nineveh had no hope. Their fate was set.

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God in His mercy has made a way for us to be saved. That is Good News for which we should be very thankful.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask: “Have you every turned from your sin and placed your faith in Jesus Christ? If so, take a moment right now to thank God for His unwarranted mercy toward you. If not, why don’t you confess your sin and ask the Lord Jesus to save you now?” Allow a moment for private prayer and then voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Offer to speak privately after class with anyone who might have spiritual questions. Ask everyone to memorize Nahum 1:7. Tell everyone to thank God daily for His mercy toward us.

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/doomed

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