NBC Sunday School Manual For December 26, 2021 : Topic – JUSTICE FOR GOD’S BELOVED PEOPLE
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
SUNDAY, December 26, 2021
JUSTICE FOR GOD’S BELOVED PEOPLE
Background Scripture reading: Nahum 1
Lesson Scripture reading: Nahum 1:1-3, 6-8, 12-13, 15
Golden Text: The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; The LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. Nahum 1:2
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
.▪︎ Discuss how the mercy of God is interwoven with His power to punish sin.
-▪︎ ldentify God’s promises to the people of Nineveh.
-▪︎Resolve to promote justice for the sake of God’s beloved people.
One of the most contended subjects in the Bible is God’s judgment and the reality of heaven and hell fire. Some people have ignorantly argued that heaven and hell are in planet earth. The argument is based on the foot that anyone who lives in affluence is already in heaven while the poor are in hell. One of the most cherished programmes of the Baptist Students’ Fellowship of a popular university is their yearly village outreach. Last year, they travelled to a village not too far from the main campus. According to the team leader, he regretted that many people are ignorant of the reality of hell. He met some youngsters who presumed that God is not callous to allow any of His children go to hell. Others claimed that they will outsmart God and jump into heaven in the struggle to throw them to hell fire. What a misconception! Even though the Bible repeatedly describes God as merciful, yet He is ready to take vengeance on His foes and punish unrepentant sinners. In other words, He will definitely act justly in His judgment toward His enemies and kingdom.
The subject of Nahum is different from that of Jonah. While Jonah records the city’s reprieve, Nahum predicted its destruction because it was one of the most hated oppressive powers that ever existed in the ancient world. Its fierceness and cruelty in warfare was notorious, especially its policy of deporting captives of conquered countries. Thus God Himself promised utter destruction (Nahum 2:13). The focal point of today’s lesson is God’s plan to execute justice to His beloved people.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A God’s Anger against Nineveh Revealed Nahum 1:1-3
Soon after Assyria returned to their warlike ways and conquered Israel (2 Kings 17:5-23), the word of the Lord came to Nahum, who was from Elkosh. The theme of the message is about the Lord’s terrifying anger against His enemy, the city of Nineveh. He, however, promised to show mercy to those who will obey Him. His message to the people of Nineveh was clear and concise. He categorically stated the attributes of God as follows:
The Lord God is jealous and avenging. It means God does not tolerate any rivalry either from reputed gods or from human beings because He is the only God (Exodus 20:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:24).
He punishes those who oppose Him and pays them back in His anger.
~▪︎ God is not easily angered but He takes vengeance on His enemies.
While it is true that God’s primary nature is love (1 John 4:8), He also punishes evil, especially those who oppose Him. Prophet Isaiah refers to this as God’s strange/alien work of judgment (Isaiah 28:21). It must also be noted that God’s anger is not arbitrary but always directed at injustice and unrighteous acts. While some people may interpret jealousy as a petty emotion, the meaning of the Hebrew word is deeper. When Nahum said that Yahweh is jealous (v. 2), he did not mean God’s envy of false gods who contended for Israel’s attention, but rather the zeal and passion God holds for His people. Nevertheless, Nahum’s message was meant to caution the people of Nineveh not to undermine God’s mercy so that His wrath will not be kindled against them. Many people do not believe in God’s judgment. They take the grace and mercy of God for granted. They fail to understand that though God is holy and compassionate, He will surely judge the world according to the deeds of everyone.
Discussion Time 1
1. Discuss God’s ability to punish evil vis-a-vis His nature of being merciful.
2. List some of the attributes of God, according to the passage.
B. God’s Judgment against Nineveh Revealed Nahum 1:6-8
God’s anger and judgment against the people of Nineveh was expressed by Prophet Nahum. In verses 4 and 5, he extols God’s power to command and how the mountains trembled dnd the hills melted in the presence of the Lord. In verse 6, he asked some rhetorical questions about the personality of God, especidlly when He is angry. He asked, “Who can withstand his indigndtion? Who Cdn endure his fierce dnger?” His wrdth is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.” He also stated God’s ability to core for those who trust in Him. Furthermore, he declared God’s judgment against the city of Nineveh to completely destroy them with a great rushing wind and pursue His enemies into darkness.
God is merciful but He does not tolerate sin. He abhors every form of wicked acts and He is always ready to punish. Unfortunately, today, we often hear people say God loves; therefore, He will not punish His children whom He had created in His own image. But today’s lesson serves as a reminder that God will punish those who oppose Him and avenge them in His anger. The only way to avoid God’s promised judgment is to practise justice towards God’s beloved people.
Discussion Time 2
1. Discuss how Christians can escape the anger of God.
2. How did the passage describe God’s anger in verse 6 and what lesson does it teach?
C. God’s Promised Mercy Revealed Nahum 1:12-13, 15
One of the characteristics of God is compassion (His readiness to always forgive). The first two sub-lessons present God’s anger and judgment against Nineveh because of their sinful acts
but suddenly, the subject changed. God spoke kindly to the Israelites with a promise to show them mercy. He said in verse 12, “Although they have allies (the Assyrians) and are numerous, they will be cut off and pass away.” In other words, God promised never to make His people suffer again instead, He made a pronouncement to end Assyria’s power over them and break the chain that binds them. He made a decree that the Assyrians will not have descendants who will bear their names and as well, He will destroy their graven images. Furthermore, He promised to prepare graves for the Assyrians because they do not deserve life. However, God promised to send a messenger who will announce victory to His people (v. 15). Therefore, they were called to respond in two ways: to celebrate their festivals and pay their vows in remembrance of their freedom from foreign domination. The wicked, He said, will never invade their land again.
This aspect of Nahum’s message is both God’s promise of victory and mercy to the people of Judah. It also includes a promise to destroy the Assyrians who had oppressed them, wipe out the idols in their temples and prepare their graves. In the post, God used the Assyrlans as a rod to punish His covenant people during the reign of Ahaz and in the time of Manasseh (Isaiah 10:5), but eventually He turned everything around. He promised restoration, victory and good news to the people. Consequently, joy and jubilation will Characterise the celebration of festivals and the people will praise God and pay their vows in memorial of freedom from their oppressors. When our ways
are right before God, He intervenes in our situation and turns everything ground for good. He knows the best way to punish those who oppress dnd ensldve us with the right judgment. This dssurdnoe should strengthen us, as believers to trust in God to fight our bottles against our foes.
Discussion Time 3
1. If we know that God has the power to fight our bottles, why do some Christians pray against their enemies and even wish them dead?
2. What can we do when we discover that our will to do what is right is weakening as we become discouraged? .
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
▪︎ Class members should identify some wicked practices that do not glorify God in our nation, Nigeria.
▪︎They are to set aside a time to fast and pray for God’s intervention.
~▪︎ Those who deliberately disobey God will be punished.
~▪︎ God will punish evil and reward good in His time.
-▪︎God is merciful but His punishment and judgment against the wicked is sure.
-▪︎Believers should not let tempordry difficulties shake their faith in God.
-▪︎Believers should ovoid everything that will mr them enemies of God.