“Unit 31: Day 4, Nahum 1–Zechariah 2,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 31: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
This lesson covers the teachings of five prophets. Nahum prophesied the downfall of Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. Habakkuk asked the Lord questions regarding the punishment of the wicked. The Lord answered his questions and he praised the Lord. Zephaniah prophesied of the disasters that would accompany the fall of Judah. Through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the Lord exhorted the Jews to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, and He promised them great blessings if they obeyed.
Imagine that the arrows in the illustration represent the evils and perils that threaten us in our day.
Under the arrows, list some of the evils and perils that you might be facing or will face in the future.
Notice the phrase “the burden of Nineveh” in Nahum 1:1. This refers to a message of doom pronounced against Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. By this time the Assyrian army had destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel and was planning to conquer the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The people of Nineveh had repented once before, when Jonah preached to them, but over 100 years later, at the time of Nahum, the people of Nineveh had again become wicked.
Read Nahum 1:1–8, looking for words and phrases that describe the nature of God, including His anger and His power.
Notice the phrase “the Lord is slow to anger” in verse 3. This indicates that the Lord had given the people of Nineveh adequate time to repent. Because they chose to continue in wickedness, His justice would be poured out in judgment on them.
According to Nahum 1:7, what will the Lord be for those who trust him?
Consider marking “strong hold” in verse 7. A stronghold is a fortress or position that provides a strong defense against attacking forces. On the illustration at the beginning of the lesson, draw a stronghold around the figure that would be a protection from the arrows.
One principle we can learn from Nahum 1:7 is that the Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust Him.
Read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and consider writing it in your scriptures next to verse 7: “To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7)” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
- Write the following in your scripture study journal:
Answer the following question: In what ways have you witnessed the Lord bless those who trust Him?
Set a goal to help you better show your trust in the Lord.
In Nahum 1:9–14 we learn that Nahum prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed for its wickedness.
Read Nahum 1:15, looking for what Nahum reminded the Jews to do.
As recorded in Nahum 2–3, Nahum saw that Nineveh’s downfall would be desolating. These prophecies about the destruction of Nineveh can be likened to the destruction of the wicked in the last days at the Lord’s Second Coming.
The prophet Habakkuk may have lived sometime between the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (722 B.C.–721 B.C.) and the destruction of Jerusalem (587 B.C.). Other prophets during his time may have included Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Lehi, as well as others. Habakkuk 1–2 records that Habakkuk learned that the Lord would use a wicked nation (the Babylonians, also known as Chaldeans) to destroy the kingdom of Judah. This troubled Habakkuk, and he asked the Lord why He would use a wicked people to destroy His chosen people. The Lord answered kindly and encouraged patience, assuring Habakkuk that in time the wicked Chaldeans would also be punished.
Habakkuk 3 contains a prayer of praise to the Lord. Read Habakkuk 3:17–19, looking for what Habakkuk learned from his dialogue with the Lord. A hind is a deer that can travel easily across rocky and uneven terrain.
Notice that like Habakkuk, who was troubled by the state of the world and the difficulty of his own personal circumstances, we too can rejoice in the goodness and mercy of the God of our salvation.
Circle one of the following events. Then, in the space provided, explain what you would do to prepare for that event.
Athletic meet or game
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is an event that we need to prepare for. Why does it matter how we prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming?
The prophet Zephaniah probably lived during the time of Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Lehi, and other prophets, and he joined them in warning the kingdom of Judah of approaching destruction. Zephaniah’s prophecies also apply to the latter days and warn of the calamities to come before the Second Coming of the Savior.
Zephaniah 1 records the Lord’s description of the destruction awaiting the Jews because they “turned back from the Lord” (Zephaniah 1:6). When the Lord invited His guests to come to Him before “the day of the Lord” (Zephaniah 1:7), they were clothed with “strange apparel” (Zephaniah 1:8). “Strange apparel” in this context likely means foreign apparel worn for idolatrous purposes, thus they would have been showing indifference for Jehovah, placing foreign manners above loyalty to God.
Read Zephaniah 1:14–15, looking for how Zephaniah described the day of Jerusalem’s destruction. These verses also describe the great day of the Lord’s Second Coming.
Read Zephaniah 2:1–3, looking for what the Lord counseled the Jews to do before the day of destruction.
If possible, ask someone in your family what he or she thinks it means to be meek.
President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following about meekness: “Meekness implies a spirit of gratitude as opposed to an attitude of self-sufficiency, an acknowledgment of a greater power beyond oneself, a recognition of God, and an acceptance of his commandments” (“With All Thy Getting Get Understanding,” Ensign, Aug. 1988, 3–4).
One principle we learn from these verses to help us prepare for the day of the Lord’s Second Coming is that as we seek the Lord, seek righteousness, and seek meekness, we can be protected from harm in the day of His judgment.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How do you think we can seek righteousness and meekness?
Consider the following qualities, and then mark how you would rate yourself (1 = never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = often, 4 = almost always, 5 = always). Spiritual growth is a gradual process, and no one is perfect, so you should expect to rate yourself better on some qualities than on others.
I am meek and lowly in heart (see Matthew 11:29).
I trust in the Lord for help.
I am sincerely grateful for the blessings I have received from God.
I appreciate direction from my Church leaders and teachers.
I strive to be submissive to the Lord’s will, whatever it may be.
Zephaniah 2:4–3:7 contains Zephaniah’s prophecy that the Lord would destroy several wicked nations. Similar destruction will come to all of the wicked in the day of God’s judgment before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Read Zephaniah 3:8, looking for what the Lord counseled the righteous to do to prepare for the Second Coming. You might want to mark what you find.
What do you think it means to “wait” upon the Lord?
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the following about waiting upon the Lord:
“In the scriptures, the word wait means to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, long-suffering, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end.
“To wait upon the Lord means planting the seed of faith and nourishing it ‘with great diligence, and patience’ [Alma 32:41].
“It means praying as the Savior did—to God, our Heavenly Father—saying: ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done’ [Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2]. It is a prayer we offer with our whole souls in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Waiting upon the Lord means pondering in our hearts and ‘receiv[ing] the Holy Ghost’ so that we can know ‘all things what [we] should do’ [2 Nephi 32:5]. …
“Waiting upon the Lord means to ‘stand fast’ [Alma 45:17] and ‘press forward’ in faith, ‘having a perfect brightness of hope’ [2 Nephi 31:20]” (“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 72).
Think about some ways we can show that we hope for and anticipate the Lord’s Second Coming.
Read Zephaniah 3:17–20, looking for what the Lord promised those who wait upon Him. You may want to mark what you find.
One principle we can learn from these verses is that if we will wait upon the Lord, He will deliver us from our sorrows, afflictions, and captivity.
- In your scripture study journal, write about someone you know who has been delivered from sorrows, afflictions, or captivity as he or she has waited upon the Lord.
Locate the names Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah on the diagram “The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah at a Glance” in the lesson for 1 and 2 Chronicles (Unit 21: Day 1 lesson). Identify the general time period in which these prophets lived.
Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah were prophets in Judah before the Jews were taken captive into Babylon. After the Jews arrived in Jerusalem, they invested great effort to rebuild the temple, the city, their homes, and their lives. However, because of opposition from the Samaritans and their own apathy, they stopped working on the temple for several years (see Ezra 4:1–5, 24).
At this time Haggai began to prophesy to the people. Read Haggai 1:8, looking for what the Lord instructed the people to do. The word house in this verse refers to the temple.
What does “consider your ways” mean? How might you consider your ways?
In response to the Lord’s call to build, the Jews, led by Zerubbabel and Joshua, resumed building the temple. After nearly a month of working, their progress was slow. Read Haggai 2:4, looking for how the Lord encouraged the people.
How do you think the Lord’s words in this verse helped the people?
The Lord also encouraged the Jews through the prophet Zechariah. As recorded in Zechariah 1–2, Zechariah prophesied that there would be peace in the land so that the temple could be rebuilt. He also prophesied that in the last days Judah would be gathered to Jerusalem and the Lord would dwell in the midst of His people.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Nahum 1–Zechariah 2 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: