After hours trying to figure out how to teach Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, I gave up. In complete defiance to my usually very carefully typed lesson, I had no typed lesson, no handwritten notes. I opened my Bible to Nahum and started teaching.
In Nahum, we learned of God’s judgment on Nineveh–but wait, we asked, didn’t God show mercy to Nineveh? Why is He now going to destroy them?
In Habakkuk, we heard Habakkuk’s lament that God isn’t doing justice: “Why aren’t you giving people what they deserve?” We learned that God is just–which means that He DOES give people what they deserve.
My students had a legitimate question: “But didn’t we just learn last week that God is merciful–that He doesn’t give people what they deserve?”
I explained how God doesn’t give us what we deserve because Jesus volunteered to take what we deserved and give us what He deserved.
We moved on to Zephaniah to review the Day of the Lord–the day when God executes judgment on His enemies and shows mercy to the enemies that He’s made His friends.
We talked about God’s justice and God’s mercy. We talked about substitutionary atonement. We talked the salvation of God.
There’s no way I could have ended up there except for God’s orchestration of this unplanned lesson.
God is good.
I copied over my lesson for Zechariah and Malachi–and this time I don’t have any idea what I taught.
Ah, well. I guess we can’t remember everything.
Next week, I’d be moving into the New Testament–a terrifying chapter after the easy Old Testament.
Why do I say the New Testament is terrifying? I wrote about it on this blog as I moved into Acts:
“Teaching the Old Testament is easy.
Almost every line tells of our desperate need for salvation and our absolute inability to effect salvation of ourselves. Every line points forward, from where many of my students likely are (unregenerate) to Christ’s work.
Teaching the New Testament is hard.
The epistles are especially hard, since they’re written to believers. Most of the epistles answer the questions “What just happened?” and “Now what?”
Good questions, necessary questions, but ones I have a hard time teaching to little unbelievers.”
Read the rest of my explanation here.