“November 28–December 4. Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah: ‘His Ways Are Everlasting,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“November 28–December 4. Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
Reading the Old Testament often means reading prophecies about destruction. The Lord frequently called prophets to warn the wicked that His judgments were upon them. The ministries of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah are good examples. In dreadful detail, these prophets foretold the downfall of cities that, at the time, seemed strong and powerful—Nineveh, Babylon, and even Jerusalem. But that was thousands of years ago. Why is it valuable to read these prophecies today?
Even though those prideful, wicked cities were destroyed, pride and wickedness persist. In today’s world, we can sometimes feel surrounded by the evils that were condemned by the ancient prophets. We may even detect traces of them in our own hearts. These Old Testament prophecies reveal how the Lord feels about pride and wickedness, and they teach that we can turn away from these evils. Perhaps that’s one reason we still read these ancient prophecies today. Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and the others weren’t just prophets of doom—they were prophets of deliverance. The descriptions of destruction are tempered by invitations to come unto Christ and receive His mercy: “Seek ye the Lord … ; seek righteousness, seek meekness” (Zephaniah 2:3). This was the Lord’s way anciently, and it is His way today. “His ways are everlasting” (Habakkuk 3:6).
Nahum’s mission was to foretell the destruction of Nineveh—the capital of the violent empire Assyria, which had scattered Israel and brutalized Judah. Nahum began by describing God’s wrath and matchless power, but He also spoke about God’s mercy and goodness. You might consider identifying verses in chapter 1 that help you understand each of these attributes—and other attributes of God that you notice. Why do you think it is important to know each of these things about the Lord?
Some might find it difficult to reconcile the scriptural teaching that “the Lord is good” (Nahum 1:7) with the teaching that He “will take vengeance on his adversaries” (Nahum 1:2). In the Book of Mormon, Alma’s son Corianton had similar questions “concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner” (Alma 42:1). To learn more about God’s mercy and how it relates to His justice, read Alma’s answer to Corianton in Alma 42.
Even prophets sometimes have questions about the Lord’s ways. Habakkuk, who lived at a time of widespread wickedness in Judah, began his record with questions to the Lord (see Habakkuk 1:1–4). How would you summarize Habakkuk’s concerns? Have you ever had similar feelings?
The Lord responded to Habakkuk’s questions by saying that He would send the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) to punish Judah (see Habakkuk 1:5–11). But Habakkuk was still troubled, for it seemed unjust for the Lord to stand by “when the wicked [Babylon] devoureth the man that is more righteous [Judah]” (see verses 12–17). What do you find in Habakkuk 2:1–4 that inspires you to trust the Lord when you have unanswered questions?
Chapter 3 of Habakkuk is a prayer of praise to God and an expression of faith in Him. What impresses you about Habakkuk’s words in verses 17–19? How is the tone of these verses different from Habakkuk 1:1–4? Ponder how you can develop greater faith in God, even when life seems unfair.
Zephaniah prophesied that the people of Judah would be completely destroyed by the Babylonians because of their wickedness. “I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord” (Zephaniah 1:2). And yet Zephaniah also said that a “remnant” would be preserved (Zephaniah 3:13). As you read these prophecies, notice the kinds of attitudes and behaviors that led Judah and other groups to destruction—see especially Zephaniah 1:4–6, 12; 2:8, 10, 15; 3:1–4. Then look for the characteristics of the people God would preserve—see Zephaniah 2:1–3; 3:12–13, 18–19. What message do you feel the Lord has for you in these verses?
Zephaniah 3:14–20 describes the joy of the righteous after the Lord “hath cast out thine enemy” (verse 15). What blessings promised in these verses stand out to you? Why is it important to you to know about these blessings? You might compare these verses to the experiences described in 3 Nephi 17 and ponder how Jesus Christ feels about His people—including you.
How is the Lord like “a strong hold”? Perhaps your family could build a simple stronghold or fortress in your home and discuss Nahum 1:7 while inside it. What makes our day a “day of trouble”? How do Jesus Christ and His gospel fortify us? How do we show that we “trust in him”?
How can we help fulfill the prophecy in this verse?
What do we learn from Habakkuk’s example in these verses?
You could play a game in which family members have to find the words “righteousness” and “meekness” on a page with many other words. They could then talk about examples of righteousness and meekness they have seen in each other. What does it mean to seek righteousness and meekness?
What do we find in Zephaniah 3:14–20 that makes us want to “sing, … be glad and rejoice with all the heart”? Perhaps your family could sing hymns or songs that come to mind as they read these verses.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Seek the Lord Early,” Children’s Songbook, 108.