We're almost through with the entire Old Testament - just one more week after this one! This week we continue our way through the minor prophets as we finish all of Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai and the first chapter of Zephaniah.
Here is some background info for you to consider as you read this week:
AMOS - This prophet was from the southern kingdom but his message was for the northern kingdom of Israel before their exile. The basic message of this book is that God puts his people on the same level as other nations - he expects purity of them all. Israel and Judah will not be exempt from judgment over their sins.
OBADIAH - Obadiah is said to have been a convert to Judaism, as originally he was from Edom (those descended from Esau). This makes him the perfect person to go back and prophesy against Edom for their arrogance and wickedness.
JONAH - Jonah and the whale right? But the best part of this story is that this prophet really understands the heart of God and wrestles with that. For he is reluctant to pronounce judgment because he knows God's heart of mercy and love and he doesn't want to see the Ninevites forgiven.
MICAH - The name of this prophet means "Who is like Yahweh?" and he hails from the southern kingdom of Judah. This book has three major divisions (1-2, 3-5, 6-7) and each alternates announcements of doom with expressions of hope. He reproaches unjust leaders, defends the rights of the poor against the rich and the powerful, and preaches social justice while looking forward to the time of the Messiah (the world of peace under a new king from the line of David).
NAHUM - Nahum means "comforter" and yet his book is not about comfort. This prophet followed Jonah in prophesying to Ninevah around the time of the invasion of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. Ninevah was the captial city of the Assyrian empire and this book deals with prophecies regarding its complete and final destruction.
HABAKKUK - Not much is known about Habakkuk. Because the final chapter of his book is a song or psalm, many scholars believe that he was from the tribe of Levi which served as musicians in Solomon's Temple. One of the interesting features of this book is the conversation between God and Habakkuk.
ZEPHANIAH - The great-grandson of one of Judah's kings (Hezekiah), Zephaniah prophesied during the days of King Josiah in Judah and was one of Jeremiah's contemporaries. His book contains many warnings about the "day of the Lord," a judgment that will extend beyond Judah to other nations including Assyria. And Assyria did collapse in 625BC when Ninevah burned to the ground.
HAGGAI - Haggai was one of the prophets who ministered after the return of the people from exile to Jerusalem. Both chapters of this book urge the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the temple.
ZECHARIAH - Like Haggai, Zechariah ministered to the exiles after they returned to Jerusalem.
His name means "Yahweh has remembered" and he was of the priestly line.
Here is the schedule:
14, Sunday: Amos 6-9
15, Monday: Obadiah 1 - Jonah 3
16, Tuesday: Jonah 4 - Micah 3
17, Wednesday: Micah 4-7
18, Thursday: Nahum 1 - Habakkuk 1
19, Friday: Habakkuk 2 - Zephaniah 2
20, Saturday: Zephaniah 3 - Zechariah 1
May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.