The following lesson was prepared for a small group of students ranging in ages 6-8. The lesson is my personal supplement to a Gospel Project lesson on Nahum. The lesson can be adapted to meet the needs of your ministry.
Bible Passage: Nahum
Bible Story Title: Nahum-Punishment or Protection?
Target Age Group: Ages 6-11 (K-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles, items for ‘protection’ grab bag-Bible, umbrella, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, etc. pens/pencils, crayons or markers,
Learning Goal: Students will learn that a person who has placed their faith in Jesus is safe from God’s promised punishment and judgment upon sin.
Learning Activity #1: ‘Protection’ Grab Bag- put items in a bag for students to choose and discuss how the item protects us.
Learning Activity #2: coloring page
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue His enemies into darkness. Nahum 1:7-8
Bible Lesson: Nahum-Punishment or Protection?
(Begin Bible lesson with prayer)
Grab bag of things that protect: hand sanitizer, apron, oven mitt, umbrella, Bible, etc.
Allow one student to choose something from the grab bag. Ask ‘how does this object protect you?’ (Allow responses) Let other students take a turn and choose an object until the bag is empty.
We have been learning that God must punish sin. If people repent and turn from their sin and believe in Jesus they are forgiven and protected from the punishment of sin. If people refuse to repent they will be punished for their sins.
Today our Bible lesson is from Nahum (Nay-huhm). Let’s turn to Nahum in our Bible.
One hundred years after God’s prophet Jonah went to Nineveh, God sent another prophet, Nahum with a message. Who remembers what message Jonah gave to Nineveh? (Repent or be destroyed in 40 days.) How did the people of Nineveh respond to Jonah’s message from God? (They humbled themselves and repented and God did not destroy them.)
The last time we met we learned that God will punish sin and forgives all who turn to Jesus to be forgiven. Unfortunately the people of Nineveh (Assyria) returned to their sinful ways. Let’s read Nahum’s message to Nineveh in Nahum 1:2-3. God must punish His enemies but he is slow to anger.
THE GOSPEL: Every person is either an enemy of God or His friend. Because we are born sinners we all are His enemy. (Ephesians 2:1-3; verse 3 “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”) Our sin separates us from God. Our sin must be punished. God has made a way for our sins to be forgiven through His Son Jesus. Jesus came to this earth and lived a sinless life. He was nailed to the cross and God punished Him for all the sins of every person. Jesus suffered and died in our place. He was buried and rose again the third day. When we believe by faith Jesus died in our place, our status changes from enemy of God to friend of God. (James 2:23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”-and he was called a friend of God.)
The people of Assyria were enemies to God’s people. The northern kingdom Israel had turned away from God and His laws. He warned His people over and over to turn away (repent) from their wickedness and return to Him. Although they had been warned many times God’s people continued to worship false gods and do wicked things in God’s sight. God must punish sin and He used Assyria to punish the people living in the northern kingdom (2 Kings 17:22-23). The Assyrians came in and attacked and destroyed the people and took many back to live in Assyria to be servants (2 Kings 15:29, 17:6)
Assyria was a strong and powerful nation. It has been a few months but when we studied Hezekiah you might remember Sennacherib the king of Assyria came to cities in the southern kingdom and began to invade them. He tried to intimidate God’s people living in Judah not to trust God because no god had been able to protect the people from the Assyrians. King Hezekiah trusted God and prayed for help and God rescued Judah.
Nahum’s name means comforter. His message to Assyria was not comforting. It was very bad news for the Assyrians who chose to sin even after experiencing God’s kindness and forgiveness when they repented at Jonah’s message. Nahum told Assyria that God was going to punish them and destroy them for their wickedness.
As Nahum is giving this message of punishment God also has a message of comfort to those who trust Him. Let’s read Nahum 1:7-8. Do you see the bad news and the good news in these two verses? What is the bad news? (God is going to destroy His enemies) What is the good news? (God protects, (keeps them safe) those who trust in Him)
God always does what He says He will do. God’s people were seeing terrible things happening around them but God said He would keep those who trust in Him safe. God said that He would punish Assyria for their wickedness and even though it didn’t happen right away, He did everything He said He would do. Assyria was destroyed.
Nineveh had thick strong walls that could protect them from human armies but were no protection at all against God’s righteous punishment.
- Without faith in Jesus nothing can protect us from God’s punishment for our sin.
How can Nahum’s message to Assyria help us today? First we need to ask ourselves are we God’s friend or His enemy?
If we are His enemy we are not protected from our deserved punishment for our disobedience to Him.
(Show visual of an umbrella with the Name of Jesus on it.) This picture of an umbrella gives us a word picture of how those who trust in Jesus are safe/protected from God’s punishment. Earlier I mentioned that God punished Jesus for all the sins of every human being. He suffered and died in our place and when we believe by faith He is the sacrifice for our sins we are rescued and delivered from the punishment of our sin (Hebrews 9).
When we become a friend of God that doesn’t mean bad things will not happen in our lives. Until Jesus returns and destroys the wickedness in this world we will experience difficulties. Sometimes the difficulty is because of a sinful choice we made and as a child of God He will use difficulty to discipline us. The difficulty should cause us to repent and turn away from our sin and walk closely with Jesus.
Sometimes bad things happen that are not a consequence of our sinful choice but because of others. God will protect us and help us no matter what difficulty we experience. He will comfort us when we are sad, give us peace when we are scared and give us strength when we have no courage.
(Use smaller umbrellas to visualize parents (Ephesians 6:1), leaders (Hebrews 13:17, and rulers (Romans 13:1).) God gives us protection through our parents, leaders and rulers. When we obey what God tells us in His Word about parents and leaders we will be protected from unnecessary difficult circumstances.
Sometimes we will have people in our lives that are enemies like the Assyrians were to God’s people. Our attitude toward people who hurt us needs to be like the Lord Jesus. He is patient and is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). We should pray that the person who is hurting us will be saved and rescued from God’s punishment. (Jesus says, Luke 6:27-28 “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Romans 12:17-20“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if you enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.”)
Before we pray I want you to take a few moments in silence and think about your relationship with God. Are you His friend or enemy? If you are His friend are you obeying Him and trusting He will protect you even when things are difficult? If you are His enemy today you can turn to Him and put your faith in Jesus and be rescued from the punishment of sin. Finally, if there is a person in your life who hurts you will you take time to pray for him or her? After a few moments I will close us in prayer.
- Where did God send Nahum with His message? (Assyria)
- Who had taken God’s message to Assyria before Nahum? (Jonah)
- What kind of news was Nahum’s message to Assyria? (Bad news)
- Why was Nahum’s message bad news for Assyria? (They had returned to wickedness and God was going to punish them)
- Who was Nahum’s message comforting to? (Those who trust was in God)
- How can we be safe from God’s punishment? (Faith in Jesus who took our punishment for sins)
- Who do you know that needs to hear the news that Jesus can rescue them from sin?
- How can you comfort someone who is a believer that is experiencing difficulty?