Thoughts About What We’re Reading…
This week I thought I would do a brief overview of the importance of the twelve books known as the Minor Prophets.
We are in the midst of reading Amos and Micah now in our plan. As I was trying to decide which book to write about, a thought struck me to do an overview of the Minor Prophets as a whole as many of us are tempted to just quickly read or scan through them.
Most of what you will read through this blog today I took directly from James Boice’s Commentary on the Minor Prophets.
The Minor Prophets emphasize basic attributes of God – His Sovereignty, Holiness, and Love. In these books we also find His judgment, mercy and salvation.
Central to the thinking of the Minor Prophets was the fact that God is the sovereign Lord of history and that nothing happens, either to Israel or to the gentile nations, that is not the result of His direct determination.
The locust plague of Joel was His doing. The destruction of Nineveh was from Him, just as its earlier repentance under the preaching of Jonah was God-given.
When Israel was invaded by Assyria and when Judah was invaded by Babylon, it was the Lord who did it.
Whatever problems the prophets may have with the specific nature of God’s actions—Habakkuk is one who had great problems—they never doubt for a second that the almighty God is in charge of history.
An awareness of holiness was the driving force behind their sharp denunciations of sin. It makes no difference where the sin was found, whether in foreign lands (Edom, as in Obadiah; Assyria, as in Nahum) or among God’s people—it was still an offense to God and called for judgment.
Nowhere in the Bible are there stiffer denunciations of sin and heartier calls for a deep and pervasive repentance than in the Minor Prophets. Apart from repentance, judgment falls.
The conjunction of love and justice is sometimes hard to understand but it is because of God’s great love for His people (even His love for Nineveh) that He sends prophets with the message of judgment and, indeed, eventually sends the judgment itself.
God knows that sin is an outrage against Himself, humanity, and even the one pursuing it. He knows that sin is destructive. So He judges sin—in the case of His own people in order to turn them back from sin to Himself.
Sin not only brings misery, it also leads to a final judgment from God that is furious, deadly, and eternal.
This offers a compelling reason for us to seek salvation from God today. His character has not changed and his promises cannot be broken.
As we learn from Micah, God does not desire to destroy His people but desires to show mercy.
But how can a holy God forgive sinners? The answer is the central point of Micah’s salvation message: God will send a Savior to deliver us from His own judgment on our sin.
If we come to Him seeking forgiveness, we will find Him ready to offer us mercy and love.
Until next time… keep reading!
Helpful resources for further study – The Minor Prophets Volumes 1 & 2 by James M. Boice and Jonah and Micah, by Richard d. Phillips