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Nahum 1:7 1
7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

Background

Nahum is the seventh of the books of the minor prophets.  The Hebrew name “Nahum” means “comfort” or “consolation.” The theme of the prophecy is the fate and destruction of Nineveh, the one-time capital city of the mighty Assyrian empire, which had destroyed Israel and taken many inhabitants of the land captive  in 722 B.C..

The message was proclaimed to Judah  in Nahum 1:15  and not to the 10 tribes of Israel who were already in captivity. Nahum’s announcement was a “comfort” to the inhabitants of Judah, as it predicted the downfall of Assyria, a savage and cruel enemy of Israel and Judah.

His message was simple, the  Lord is good.  In the midst of God’s judgment He remembers mercy even when threatening judgement. Those that trust in God should not be alarmed at even God’s threats. They will be spared from wrath for the Lord their God knows those who trust in Him.

Items for Discussion

  • When someone is in distress, what do you do to bring comfort to them?
  • Why should people fear God’s judgement?
  • Why should those who trust God not fear judgement?

 

Luke 17:11-19
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Background

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem where he would be crucified. At this point in His journey He was on the border between Samaria and Galilee. The exact route that Jesus took is not clear to us. He started the journey on the road through Samaria (9:51-56), which was the shorter route. But the last part of his journey seems to have been through Perea (Matthew 19:1, Mark 10:1). Perea is on the east side of the river Jordan. From there, he went through Jericho (19:1). The most likely explanation is that Luke did not put these events in order of time.

Here Jesus encounters lepers. By law they had to keep at a distance from other people. So, these 10 lepers had to cry out with loud voices. They asked Jesus to pity them. They may have expected to receive a gift of food or money. They did not ask him to cure them.  Jesus told them to go to the priests. The priests would examine the lepers. The priests would decide whether the disease had gone or not (Leviticus chapter 14). The lepers obeyed Jesus and they went. That showed that they were trusting Jesus to cure them. Then as they went, Jesus cured them of the disease.

One of the lepers came back to thank Jesus. He did not first go to the priest to check that he was free of the disease. He knew that Jesus had cured him. He praised God in a loud voice. The other 9 did not come back. This man was a Samaritan. In normal circumstances the Jews and the Samaritans would stay away from each other. But this Samaritan leper was with Jewish lepers. Unlike them, he could not go to the Jewish priests. So instead this Samaritan returned to give honor and thanks to Jesus, a Jew. He was the last one that we would expect to thank Jesus. But he was the only one.

Jesus expressed surprise that only this foreigner had returned to give God thanks. God had cured 10 men; they all should be very grateful to God. But the other 9 men were not praising God for the wonderful thing that he had done for them. Jesus told the Samaritan to get up and to go on his way. The other lepers had believed and Jesus had cured them. But Jesus told the Samaritan that his faith had made him well. This must mean more than what the other lepers had received. Jesus had cured their bodies. But Jesus made this man whole. Maybe this man received the greatest gift, the salvation that Jesus preached.

Items for Discussion

  • What exactly is trust?
  • If you had to give an example of trust to someone, something that involved your own life, what would it be?
  • Have you ever had to trust in something in the middle of what seemed like a crisis or disaster?
  • What do you think about the 9 lepers who never came back to thank Jesus?
  • Do we do the same thing today as Christians? Can you give examples?
  • Why did the Samaritan gain more from his encounter with Jesus?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we as a church show people it is OK to trust God, even when things are going badly?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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