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Come, Follow Me — Old Testament Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 49, November 28–December 4
Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah — “His Ways Are Everlasting”

Nahum Nineveh Returns to Wickedness

“Nahum” means consoler or comforter. This prophet’s ministry was in the southern kingdom of Judah, around 650 BC or later. Unlike other prophets in Judah, he doesn’t speak of the evils of his own people, but in all three chapters he speaks of the pending destruction of Nineveh, capital of Assyria (see Nahum 1:1-2; 2:8-10; 3:1-7); this being a little over 100 years after the king and people of Nineveh had repented in response to the preaching of Jonah.

The decadence and destruction of Nineveh can also be taken as symbolic of latter-day societies and their destruction at the Second Coming; this is confirmed in Nahum chapters 1-2 headings and in Nahum 1:5-8; 2:4-6, 10, 13; 3:1-7, 15, 18-19.

Habakkuk “Yet I Will Rejoice in the Lord”

This prophet also labored in the southern kingdom of Judah, about 600 BC, making him contemporary with Lehi and Jeremiah. The name Habakkuk means “embracer” or “wrestler.”

  • In Habakkuk 1:2, the prophet laments to God, “how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!” In reply, the Lord affirms in verses 6-11 that he will “raise up the Chaldeans” (Babylonians) to overcome Judah.
  • It troubles Habakkuk that the Lord would raise up a wicked nation to punish His covenant people, but read also Mormon 4:5.
  • In chapter 2 the Lord instructs Habakkuk to “wait” for Him to fulfill His work, and in verse 3, He says, “the just shall live by his faith.” Faith can mean many things, and often it means “patience.”
  • What things in your life have prompted you to “wait” for the Lord? What does it mean to you to “live by faith”?
  • The Lord adds in verse 14 that the “just” (righteous) shall be rewarded for their faith and patience, for the Millennial day will come in which “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.”
  • Habakkuk 2:18-19 speaks of the futility of fashioning false gods, for they are “dumb” (cannot speak) and have no breath nor life. What contrasting truths does Habakkuk teach in verse 20? (see also D&C 6:36; 101:16).
  • Chapter 3 is a poetic tribute to the Lord and His work. Read verse 17, in which Habakkuk lists a number of things that could go wrong in our lives, however Habakkuk declares, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength” (verses 18-19).
  • What will help us to “rejoice in the Lord,” even when trials come our way?

In the October 2020 general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Twelve taught:

“How long do we wait for relief from hardships that come upon us? What about enduring personal trials while we wait and wait, and help seems so slow in coming? Why the delay when burdens seem more than we can bear?…

“There will be times in our lives when even our best spiritual effort and earnest, pleading prayers do not yield the victories for which we have yearned, whether that be regarding the large global matters or the small personal ones. So while we work and wait together for the answers to some of our prayers, I offer you my apostolic promise that they are heard and they are answered, though perhaps not at the time or in the way we wanted. But they are always answered at the time and in the way an omniscient and eternally compassionate parent should answer them. My beloved brothers and sisters, please understand that He who never sleeps nor slumbers cares for the happiness and ultimate exaltation of His children above all else that a divine being has to do. He is pure love, gloriously personified, and Merciful Father is His name…. Sooner or later we learn that the times and seasons of our mortal journey are His and His alone to direct….

“Faith means trusting God in good times and bad, even if that includes some suffering, until we see His arm revealed in our behalf. That can be difficult in our modern world when many have come to believe that the highest good in life is to avoid all suffering, that no one should ever anguish over anything. But that belief will never lead us to ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13).”

Zephaniah “Seek Ye the Lord”

Zephaniah was another prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah, from about 640 to 610 BC. His name means “The Lord hides” or “God has hidden.” He follows a pattern we have seen in the Old Testament; (a) prophesying the fall and destruction of wicked Israel and/or Judah; and (b) their spiritual decline and national ruin being a type of latter-day wickedness and woes, leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:

  • What did the Lord say He would do to ancient Judah? (Zephaniah 1:2-3, 6, 8, 12-13, 18; 2:4-5; 3:6-7).
  • What are the reasons given for the Lord’s judgments against them? (Zephaniah 1:5-6, 9, 12, 17; 2:10; 3:1-4).
  • What did Zephaniah tell the people (and us) to do? (Zephaniah 2:3, and the first line of 3:8).
  • What does it mean to you to be “meek”? How does one become meek? (See also Alma 7:23.)

But there is a glorious future for Jerusalem; note that in Zephaniah 3:9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19-20 the Lord describes Jerusalem in the Millennial day.

Zephaniah 1:7-8 “He Hath Bid His Guests”

Verse 7 invites us to prepare and wait for the coming of the Lord, “for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” This is reminiscent of a great supper mentioned by the Lord in other places. Read and ponder Luke 14:16-24; Revelation 19:7-9; and D&C 58:8-11. None of us is perfect; but it is valuable to ask ourselves, “What can I do, stop doing, or strive to become, so that I may be prepared and ready for Him?”

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