Dear 365 Readers,
Tomorrow (9/15) we start our reading of the “minor prophets”, those short little books at the end of Old Testament that can be hard to find and keep sorted out in your mind! I’m going to give you a brief overview here, maybe you can print it out and keep it with you as you read:
Hosea – to the Northern Kingdom, in the days of its last evil kings. A painful personal love story of Hosea’s marriage to a woman who acted like a prostitute. He was good to her and she humiliated him with her unfaithful, brazen behavior. It is both a true story, and a symbolic story of God’s love for His unfaithful people.
Joel – to the Southern Kingdom/Judah, during the time of Elisha. A plague of locusts had come to discipline the nation, Joel called people to return to God before an even greater judgement came. The Holy Spirit is promised here as well.
Amos – to the Northern Kingdom, in the days of its last evil kings. Amos spoke against those who exploited or ignored the needy, reminding people that God calls his people to fight against injustice.
Obadiah – to the nation of Edom, in the days of Elijah. Obadiah spoke against the pride of Edom and its violent actions against God’s people.
Jonah – to the city of Ninevah in the nation of Assyria, prior to the fall of the Northern Kingdom and the rise of Assyrian empire. God sent Jonah to warn Ninevah to repent or face judgement, but Jonah didn’t want to go, and there was a drama with a big fish! When Jonah finally went, the people of Ninevah repented and God relented.
Micah – to the Southern Kingdom/Judah, prior to the fall of the Northern Kingdom. Micah predicted the fall of both kingdoms as discipline for God’s people. Good King Hezekiah listened to Micah, and thus delayed the fall the of Southern Kingdom/Judah.
Nahum – to the nation of Assyria, after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. Assyria oppressed the Southern Kingdom/Judah, and the people of Judah admired the wealth and power of Assyria. Nahum warned that the mighty Assyrian empire would soon fall. God would judge Assyria, and God rules sovereignly over all the earth.
Habbakuk – to the Southern Kingdom/Judah, during the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Habakkuk asked God why He didn’t punish the wicked in the Southern Kingdom/Judah. How could God allow such evil exist? God promised to use the Babylonians to punish Judah, and then to punish the Babylonians as well. Habbakuk chose to hold on to the hope that God would be faithful and strengthen him in time of disaster.
Zephaniah – to the Southern Kingdom/Judah, during the time of Jeremiah. Zephaniah warned that a day will come when God, as judge, will punish all nations. But after judgment, He will show mercy to all who have been faithful to Him.
Haggai – after the return of the exiles to Jerusalem. Haggai warned that the temple of God was only half finished, yet the people had lost interest and instead built beautiful homes. Haggai encouraged the people to finish the temple, and not to prioritize their jobs and possessions ahead of God.
Zechariah – after the return of the exiles to Jerusalem, same time as Haggai. Zechariah also encouraged the completion of the temple, and shared many visions of an eternal kingdom that gave people hope.
Malachi – the last prophet of the Old Testament, after the temple and walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt completely. Malachi warned that the people’s relationship with God was broken because of sin, in particular the sins of the priests and society’s complete disregard for the sanctity of marriage. Careless living has consequences, but those who repent will find favor with God. The coming Messiah is promised.
And then there was silence for 400 years.