Day 1—Ecclesiastes 7:1-14
Day 2—Ecclesiastes 7:15-8:1
Day 3—Ecclesiastes 8:2-9
Day 4—Ecclesiastes 8:10-17
Day 5—Ecclesiastes 9:1-10
Day 1—Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3
Day 2—Ecclesiastes 4:4-16
Day 3—Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Day 4—Ecclesiastes 5:8-20
Day 5—Ecclesiastes 6:1-12
Day 1—Proverbs 31:10-31
Day 2—Job 31:1-10
Day 3—Job 31:11-20
Day 4—Job 31:21-30
Day 5—Job 31:31-40
Day 1—Proverbs 31:10-31
Day 2—Ruth 1
Day 3—Ruth 2
Day 4—Ruth 3
Day 5—Ruth 4
Day 1—Proverbs 25:1-14
Day 2—Proverbs 25:15-28
Day 3—Proverbs 26:1-12
Day 4—Proverbs 26:13-19
Day 5—Proverbs 26:20-28
Day 1—Proverbs 23:19-28
Day 2—Proverbs 23:29-35
Day 3—Proverbs 24:1-10
Day 4—Proverbs 24:11-22
Day 5—Proverbs 24:23-34
Day 1—Proverbs 18:13-24
Day 2—Proverbs 19:1-14
Day 3—Proverbs 19:15-29
Day 4—Proverbs 20:1-15
Day 5—Proverbs 20:16-30
Day 1—Proverbs 10:1-17
Day 2—Proverbs 10:18-32
Day 3—Proverbs 11:1-15
Day 4—Proverbs 11:16-31
Day 5—Proverbs 12:1-14
A Quick Word on Reading “Proverbial” Wisdom
What we generally think of when we hear “Proverbs” are short, practical, pithy (short, to the point, forceful, memorable) sayings that state general rules of living life. Starting this week in Chapter 10, through Proverbs 22:16, we will be reading this type of “wisdom” writing.
These verses are all a type of poetry, common in Hebrew literature, called Parallelism. With Parallelism, there are generally two connected lines, usually within one verse, that make a quick statement about life and living. These lines are arranged in a pattern of “A, what’s more B” to emphasize/explain a certain aspect of the statement by comparison or contrast. There are four basic types of parallelism used in Proverbs, with Antithetic being most common.
1. Antithetic—the opposite of the first line is found in the second line (Proverbs 12:2; 10:16; 17:1).
2. Synonymous—the first line is essentially repeated in the second, with a slightly different emphasis (Proverbs 12:28; 16:18; 11:25). This is very handy if we aren’t exactly sure what the first line is saying!
3. Emblematic—uses “like,” “as,” and/or “so” to draw a comparison and make a point (Proverbs 11:22;26:14).
4. Non-parallel lines—the second line simply finishes the thought begun in the first line (Proverbs 16:3; 16:7).
PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES to read the descriptions and examples; I have found it very helpful in my study to categorize the sayings in this way.
Day 1—Proverbs 8:1-11
Day 2—Proverbs 8:12-21
Day 3—Proverbs 8:22-31
Day 4—Proverbs 8:32-9:6
Day 5—Proverbs 9:7-18
Day 1—Proverbs 5:1-22
Day 2—Proverbs 6:1-11
Day 3—Proverbs 6:12-19
Day 4—Proverbs 6:20-7:5
Day 5—Proverbs 7:6-27
Week 2 (August 2): Proverbs
Day 1—Proverbs 3:1-20
Day 2—Proverbs 3:21-35
Day 3—Proverbs 4:1-9
Day 4—Proverbs 4:10-19
Day 5—Proverbs 4:20-27
The Two (General) Types of Wisdom Literature:
Last week, we discussed how “Wisdom Literature” fits into the types of writings found in the Bible. This week, let’s look at the two basic types of writing found in the Wisdom Literature:
Contemplative/Speculative: Essays, stories, debate, poems, and prayers which ask about the meaning of life, discuss problems (like suffering), and cry out to God. Job, some of Psalms, some of Proverbs, most of Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon are all this type of writing. Our readings from the Book of Proverbs last week, this week, and the next couple of weeks fall into this category. Be especially mindful as you read this week and next week for the phrase “My son…” Mark it in your Bibles, if that is helpful to you. This divides the sayings of the wise man into general categories of wisdom in Chapters 2-7.
Proverbial: Short, practical, pithy (short, to the point, forceful, memorable) saying that state general rules of living life! This is what we generally think of when we hear “Proverbs,” and Proverbs 10:1-22:16 is a great example of this type of “wisdom” writing.
Day 1—Proverbs 1:1-7
Day 2—Proverbs 1:8-19
Day 3—Proverbs 1:20-33
Day 4—Proverbs 2:1-9
Day 5—Proverbs 2:10-22
A Quick Introduction to the Wisdom Literature
One of the issues when we are reading the book of Proverbs (or the other books in the Wisdom Literature: Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) is that they are so different from other types of literature found throughout different books in the Bible.
How is the wisdom literature different/unique when compared to the rest of the Old Testament?
Here are some common (but not all) types of Old Testament writing styles and a brief summary of each:
Historical Narrative: “This is what happened, when it did, and (sometimes) why…”
Law: “You shall do this, and you shall not do that. Here is the justification for these commands (usually “I am the LORD”), the blessings for keeping them, and the penalty for breaking them…”
Prophets: “This is what the LORD says about what’s going on…”
Wisdom Literature: “Based on experience and observation, here is what you should do in these real life situations…” (Psalm 37:25-26; Proverbs 24:30-34).
The wisdom literature, especially the book of Proverbs, approaches subjects in a practical, common sense, every-day sort of way. It contains the answers to the most basic of questions: “Why?” and “What will happen if…?” It often addresses the same topics as other places in scripture, but from a different, more personally-applicable perspective. For example:
Historical Narrative: “David committed adultery with Bathsheba, resulting in some disastrous consequences.” (2 Samuel 11-1 Kings 1)
Law: “You shall not commit adultery, and the penalty for doing so is death.” (Leviticus 20:7-10)
Prophets: "David…Thou art the man! The Lord says…” (2 Samuel 12:1-15)
Wisdom Literature: Adultery will cause YOU a world of trouble, too!(Proverbs 6:26-35)
This is an example of “right vs. wrong,” but the Wisdom Literature often goes beyond “right vs. wrong” to “wise vs. foolish.” If we are willing to listen, these inspired words can make our life so much better and easier!
The Wisdom Literature is one of the (relatively few) places in scripture where we are “put in the place” of the reader/recipient of the sayings. It is appropriate and necessary to read them as if they were written to us! I encourage you to read these together with you family and ask, “What is this saying to you, in your life?”
Day 1—Malachi 1:1-14
Day 2—Malachi 2:1-9
Day 3—Malachi 2:10-17
Day 4—Malachi 3:1-15
Day 5—Malachi 3:16-4:6
Malachi: “My Messenger”
· Written to Judah (the Remnant) from 445-435*
· Ezra (especially Ch. 7-10); Nehemiah; Haggai; Zechariah
No Kings of Judah Listed:
· The book of Malachi finds the temple rebuilt in Jerusalem, worship of Yahweh restored, and idolatry largely a thing of the past, but still the hearts of the people are still far from God. Malachi describes how the Priesthood is corrupt (2:8), the worship is a drudgery (1:13), divorce is widespread (2:14-16), social justice is ignored (3:5), and financial giving (tithing) is forgotten (3:8). Sadly, despite the message of this prophet and the leadership of Nehemiah, much of their hypocrisy in practicing “true” religion would continue to the time of Jesus—including the 400 years of Biblical silence.
I. The Corruption of Vain, Heartless Worship (1:1-14)
II. The Corruption Priestly Leadership (2:1-9)
III. The Corruption of Marriage and Divorce (2:10-17)
IV. The Future Purification Prepared by God’s Messenger (3:1-6)
V. The Corruption of Tithes and Offerings (3:7-12)
VI. The Corruption of Understanding of God (3:13-15)
VII. The Dividing of the Righteous and Wicked in Judgment (3:16-4:6)
1. “If I am the Father, where is My honor?”...Yet you say, “In what way have we despised your name?” (v6)
2. But you have departed from the way; You have caused many to stumble... (v8)
3. Behold, I send my messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. (v1)
4. The day is coming…the great and dreadful day of the LORD. (v1, 5)
Portrait of a Theme: Rebellion
Day 1—Zechariah 12:1-9
Day 2—Zechariah 12:10-14
Day 3—Zechariah 13
Day 4—Zechariah 14:1-15
Day 5—Zechariah 14:16-21
Day 1—Zechariah 7
Day 2—Zechariah 8
Day 3—Zechariah 9
Day 4—Zechariah 10
Day 5—Zechariah 11
Day 1—Zechariah 1
Day 2—Zechariah 2
Day 3—Zechariah 3-4
Day 4—Zechariah 5
Day 5—Zechariah 6
Zechariah: “Yahweh Remembers”
· Written to Judah (the Remnant) from 520-518 (or later)*
· Ezra (Especially Ch. 4-6); Nehemiah, Haggai, See also—The Book of Revelation
No Kings of Judah Listed: Zerubbabel is the Governor of Judah
· The first deportation into Babylonian captivity took place in about 605, with the temple being destroyed in about 587. The return to Jerusalem by a remnant occurred from 538-536 and at that time the foundation to the temple was laid—but further work was shortly abandoned. Haggai and Zechariah both begin to prophesy in 520, almost 20 years after the return of Judah from Babylonian captivity. Haggai is sent with a short and direct message to God’s people in straightforward form: Build the temple! Zechariah, his contemporary, comes with a very similar, but expanded message. Zechariah commands them not just to rebuild the temple…but also emphasizes the rebuilding of their covenant with God, and how this renewed commitment would eventually lead the Messianic Age. He continues prophesying for at least two more years after Haggai using fantastic images and visions—giving us one of the best examples of Apocalyptic Literature in the Old Testament.
I. A Call to Repentance (1:1-6)
II. Eight Visions Concerning Judah, the Temple, and the Nations (1-6)
1. Four Horses and Many Riders (1:7-17)
2. Four Craftsmen/Horns (1:18-21)
3. Measuring Line of Jerusalem without Walls (2)
4. High Priest in Dirty Garments (3)
5. Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees (4)
6. Flying Scroll (5:1-4)
7. Woman in a Flying Basket (5:5-11)
8. Four Horses and Chariots (6)
III. Two Messages Concerning Feasts and Fasting (7-8)
1. Obey God instead of “Fasting” for Yourself (7)
2. Your Fasting Will Turn to Feasting (8)
IV. Two Oracles Concerning Messianic Victory (9-14)
1. Judgment Against the Nations (9-11)
2. The Uprising of God’s People to Prepare for the Kingdom of God (12-14)
1. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Return to Me…and I will return to you.” (v3)
2. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that say, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst.” (v11)
3. “Take way the filthy garments from him. And to him He said, ‘See I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’” (v4)
4. “The is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (v6)
5. “‘This is Wickedness!’ And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth.” (v8)
6. “Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the Lord…if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.” (v15)
7. “When you fasted…during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?” (v5)
8. “The fast…shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.” (v19)
9. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!...Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation…” (v9)
10.“Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain…” (v1)
11.“Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock!” (v17)
12.“It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (v9)
13.“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion…Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered…” (v7)
14.“And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem…” (v8)
Portrait of a Theme: Consummation
Week 14: Haggai
· Written to Judah (the Remnant) in 520*
· Ezra (Especially Ch. 4-6); Nehemiah, Zechariah
No Kings of Judah Listed: Written to Zerubbabel the Governor of Judah and Joshua the High Priest (1:1)
· The first deportation into Babylonian captivity took place in about 605, with the temple being destroyed in about 587. The return to Jerusalem by a remnant occurred from 538-536 and at that time the foundation to the temple was laid—but further work was shortly abandoned. Haggai begins his prophesy in 520, almost 20 years after the return of Judah from Babylonian captivity. He has a simple but direct message to God’s people: Build the temple! The book goes on to chronicle the poor conditions in which the people were living because they weren’t making the Lord their first priority—and their subsequent obedience to God’s call.
I. Message 1: Rebuke for Apathy (1:1-15)
II. Message 2: Comfort for Despair (2:1-9)
III. Message 3: Blessing for Zeal (2:10-19)
IV. Message 4: Hope of Exaltation (2:20-23)
1. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!” (v5)
2. “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former,” says the LORD of hosts. “And in this place I will give peace.” (v9)
Portrait of a Theme: Repentance
· Written to Judah from 625 (probably 612)-606*
· 2 Kings 22-25; 2 Chronicles 34-36; Job (thematic); Jeremiah; Isaiah 40-55; Zephaniah
No Kings of Judah listed
· The political climate during this time was one of upheaval, change, and uncertainty—both for Judah and the nations of the world. Assyria had fallen (or would shortly fall); Egypt was defeated in its attempts to assist Assyria (and Josiah was killed in the process); and the Chaldeans (Babylonians) gained supremacy over the nations of the world with their victory at Carchemish. In Judah, Josiah had become king in 640 at the age of eight—following some of the darkest spiritual days in the nation’s history. At sixteen he sought Yahweh, and at twenty he began the major spiritual reforms that would last until his death. During his reign the book of the law was “rediscovered” and guided the total, though sadly shallow, revival of service to God. In 609 Josiah was killed in battle with Pharaoh Necho, and Jehoahaz his wicked son reigned in his place. Thus began the quick and disastrous final slide into captivity.
I. The Two Questions of the Prophet (and Answers by God): (1:1-2:4)
II. The Five Woes on the Wicked: (2:5-20)
III. The Prophet’s Psalm: (3:1-19)
1. O LORD, how long shall I cry, And you will not hear?...the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. (v2, 4)
2. The just shall live by his faith…the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silent before Him. (v4, 20)
3. I might rest (quietly wait) in the day of trouble. (v16)
Portrait of a Theme: Revelation
Zephaniah: “Yahweh Hides” or “Yahweh has Hidden”
· Written to Judah from 630-625*
· 2 Kings 21-25; 2 Chronicles 33-36; Jeremiah; Habakkuk
Kings of Judah Listed:
1. Josiah (640-609)
· Josiah became king of Judah in 640 at the age of eight—following some of the darkest spiritual days in the nation’s history. At sixteen he sought Yahweh, and at twenty he began the major spiritual reforms that would last until his death. During his reign the book of the law was “rediscovered” and guided the total, though sadly shallow, revival of service to God. Zephaniah’s prophecy encourages this reform by painting vivid scenes of Judgment and the impending “day of the Lord,” followed by the assurance that those who seek the Lord will be “hidden” in the day of the LORD’s anger and ultimately a remnant will be restored.
I. God’s Judgment against the Land (1:1-2:3)
A. God’s Judgment against Judah and Jerusalem (1:1-6)
B. God’s Judgment against Sinners (1:7-13)
C. The Bitter Day of the Lord Described (1:14-18)
D. The Call to Repentance (2:1-3)
II. God’s Judgment against the Nations (2:4-3:7)
A. Judgment against Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia and Assyira (2:4-15)
B. Judah will not be Spared (3:1-7)
III. God’s Redemption of the Faithful Remnant (3:8-20)
A. God Restores a Meek and Faithful People (3:8-13)
B. The Honor, Joy, and Glory of the Restored (3:14-20)
1. The great day of the LORD is near…the noise of the day of the LORD is bitter. (v14)
2. Seek the LORD all you meek of the earth…that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. (v3)
3. The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness and speak no lies. (v13)
Portrait of a Theme: Redemption
Week 11: Micah
Day 1—Micah 5
Day 2—Micah 6:1-8
Micah’s Summary of the Prophets’ Message
The Book of Micah provides us with a great encapsulation and summarization of the prophets’ message.
He begins his prophesying during a period of some prosperity, concluding during the reign of the good king Hezekiah. Although both the Northern and Southern kingdoms experienced this commercial success during most of his time as a prophet—it was also a period of fear of invasion and social corruption. During this time the Northern kingdom of Israel was taken into Assyrian captivity and the Sothern Kingdom of Judah was invaded by Assyria who destroyed many cities and laid siege to Jerusalem. They were spared destruction and were delivered by God because of the spiritual reforms of King Hezekiah and the plain, fearless preaching of Isaiah and Micah. Despite this good leadership and the top, corruption still was the order of the day in Judah. Micah describes how the people coveted more wealth and land—and thus robbed the poor, were dishonest in business, and even cast women out of their rightful possessions. There were false prophets who controlled the people, priests available for hire, and judges who judged for bribes.
He paints a picture, spiritually, of a people who worshiped God superficially. Hezekiah forced reforms, but like in the days of Josiah two generations after him, Judah did not “turn to God with their whole heart, but in pretense.” Thus, God had a legitimate charge against them.
Read Micah 6:1-8.
The people had two problems: 1) their view of God (physical/pagan idea of God): 3:11, and 2) their lack of heart in worship. They said, “how much do we have to do, God?” Can we bribe God into being okay with us? It was a business transaction. They were willing to do a lot, but not what God wanted. They were willing to give something, but not everything—not their heart. Homer Hailey said of these verses, “In all these questions they indicate a willingness to do anything except what Jehovah required.”
Such is the corruption of religion. Like Naaman, it was not “some great thing,” but relatively small things that were commanded of them, and us. Baptism for remission of sins, proper mode and manner of worship, prayer, study, and care for others…these commands are not complicated or burdensome, but they are a stumbling block to some.
Like them, some cry out today, “Why can’t the church do more to…reach the lost, help me, provide things for my family, or entertain me?!” But they are only excited when that “more” is what they want to be done, or if it requires no effort on their part, or if the “more” is a change to something new that imitates "the nations around us"—rather than a change of attitude toward the present.
So what is required of us?
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
This is one of the most all encompassing statements found in the prophets. Micah takes the foundational teachings of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah and combines them into one statement. Amos emphasized the need for justice and righteousness; Hosea’s theme is God’s loving-kindness and mercyon His people despite their disobedience; and Isaiah pleaded with the people to have right relationship with God by humbling themselves to His will.
The timelessness of the statement is clearly seen. What more does the Lord require of our attitudes and behavior today?
Day 1—Hosea 10
Day 2—Hosea 11
Day 3—Hosea 12
Day 4—Hosea 13
Day 5—Hosea 14
Hosea in the New Testament
Hosea is one of the most often quoted Minor Prophet books!
· Matthew 2:15 (Hosea 11:1)—Jesus is on every page of the Bible, if we are looking for Him.
· Matthew 9:13; 12:7 (Hosea 6:6)
· Luke 23:30 (Hosea 10:8)—Judgment is coming, and there is no escaping the Day of the Lord. It is a day of expectation and hope for the faithful, and a day of dread and calamity for the unfaithful.
· Romans 9:25, 26 (Hosea 1:10)
· 1 Corinthians 15:55 (Hosea 13:14)
· 1 Peter 2:9-10 (Hosea 1:10-2:1, 2:23)
The Bride and Groom: God and His People
God loves His people, chose them, and called them out of Egypt. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as His bride. Unfortunately, we also see His people rebel against Him and serve other Gods (commit adultery). He warns of judgment, and calls them to repentance.
In my opinion, the climax of this metaphor is found in Chapters 13-14. It contains some of the harshest words of judgment, but also some of the most hopeful words of future restoration and consummation.
The allusion to the people of God being His bride is used heavily in the New Testament with Christ and the Church. 2 Corinthians 11:2 uses similar terminology to Hosea; and Ephesians 5 and Revelation 19 also come to mind. I believe it is this metaphor that we should take with us above all else from the book of Hosea. We are the Bride of Christ. Let us be faithful to Him as a holy wife!
Day 1—Hosea 5
Day 2—Hosea 6
Day 3—Hosea 7
Day 4—Hosea 8
Day 5—Hosea 9
We have attempted to read through the prophets in a logical and orderly way. Jonah and Nahum are both prophesies to Nineveh, though over 100 years apart. Joel is likely the earliest of the Minor Prophets, but has an unknown date. Obadiah is likely much later (after the captivity), but is written to Edom at an unknown date. Starting with Amos and Hosea we are following (basically) the chronological order, and each of these books were primarily written to Israel. To see how these books "fit" together, consult the charts below! -RAM
The Prophets (Dates and Audiences)
The Minor Prophets
Beginning in830 (early date)
585-553 (late date)
The Writing Prophets
Assyrian Captivity of Samaria/Israel (722)
Babylonian Captivity of Jerusalem/Judah (586)
Babylonian Captivity of Edom (553)
Lamentation (Jeremiah) (586)
To the Jews in Babylon:
To the Remnant:
Charts Charts Adapted from Chris Reeves
Day 1—Hosea 1
Day 2—Hosea 2:1-13
Day 3—Hosea 2:14-23
Day 4—Hosea 3:1-4:10
Day 5—Hosea 4:11-19
· Written primarily to Israel from *755-710.
· 2 Kings 14-17; 2 Chronicles 26-29
· Contemporary with Amos and Isaiah. Amos’ emphasis is the need for justice and righteousness; Hosea’s emphasis is God’s loving-kindness and mercyon His people despite their disobedience; and Isaiah’s emphasis is for the people to have a right relationship with God by humbling themselves to His will.
Kings of Israel listed:
1. Jeroboam II (793-753—King during Israel’s “Indian Summer” before its decline and fall)
Kings of Judah listed:
1. Uzziah (792-740)
2. Jotham (750-732)
3. Ahaz (735-716)
4. Hezekiah (716-687)
· Hosea and Amos both began prophesying during a period of some prosperity, concluding during the reign of the good king Hezekiah. Although both the Northern and Southern kingdoms experienced this commercial success during most of his time as a prophet—it was also a period of fear of invasion and social/moral corruption. During this time the Northern kingdom of Israel was taken into Assyrian captivity and the Sothern Kingdom of Judah was invaded by Assyria who destroyed many cities and laid siege to Jerusalem.
I. Israel’s Adultery (Chapters 1-3)
II. Prophetic Discourses (Chapters 4-13)
III. Conversion, Salvation and Pardon (Chapter 14)
1. Jezreel, Lo-Rahamah, and Lo-Ammi (v4, 6, 9)
2. She will chase he lovers, but not overtake them (v7)
3. Love a woman who is loved by a husband (v1)
4. For the Lord brings a charge…my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (v1, 6)
5. Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah (v 8)
6. I desire faithfulness and not sacrifice (v6)
7. Ephraim is a cake unturned (v8)
8. They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind (v7)
9. My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him (v17)
10. The idol also shall be carried to Assyria (v6)
11. Out of Egypt I have called My son (v1)
12. The Lord brings a charge against Judah (v2)
13. O Israel, you are destroyed, but your help is from Me (v9)
14. Return to the Lord…I will love them (v1, 4)
Portrait of a Theme: Compassion
Day 1—Amos 5:16-27
Day 2—Amos 6
Day 3—Amos 7
Day 4—Amos 8
Day 5—Amos 9
Eight Common Themes in the Minor Prophets:
(The Prophetic Paradigm)
1. Revelation—God spoke TO and THROUGH the prophets. Though we see the personalities and styles of the different writers, ultimately God is the author of these books and all things. (Hosea 1:1, 2; 4:1; Amos 1:1-2; 3:3-8)
2. Election—God chose Israel out of all the nations of the earth to fulfill His purposes and plans. This was a great blessing, but along with the blessing was added responsibility and expectations from God. God gave them much, and He expected much out of them. (Hosea 11:1; Amos 3:1-2)
3. Rebellion—The people of Israel often forgot that the Mosaic covenant, and all of its blessings, was conditional. Furthermore, attached to this covenant was not just blessing for faithfulness but curses for unfaithfulness. When the people turned away from God in rebellion, they broke this covenant—and faced the curses contained therein. (Hosea 11:2; Amos 2:4)
4. Judgment—If God’s people turn away from Him in rebellion, God’s justice and righteousness require that He judge and punish His people for their sins. This is the backbone of the Minor Prophets: “Judgment is coming—REPENT!” (Hosea 9:1-3; Amos 4:2-3)
5. Repentance—Hand and hand with judgment, the call to repentance is perhaps the most common element of the prophets of the Old Testament. This call wasn’t always received well or properly acted upon, but God always gave His people ample opportunity to “turn and live!” (Hosea 6:1-3; 10:12; Amos 15:14-15)
6. Compassion—Even as God is sending judgment, He does not want His people to lose all hope! He is still a compassionate, longsuffering, loving God—abundant in mercy and grace. This picture is often lost in the Old Testament, and we are told by many in the world that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was a mean and petty God. Nothing could be farther from the Truth, and the prophets reveal this to us. (Hosea 11:8; Amos 7:2-3, 5-6; 5:25-27)
7. Redemption—If the people repent, restoration is promised. This theme especially comes into play with the “Righteous Remnant.” The prophets tell us, “Become or remain faithful, and you will be rewarded.” (Hosea 14:4-7; Amos 15:5; 9:11-15)
8. Consummation—The final theme is closely connected to, and flows from redemption and compassion. Many think only of future events when they think of the prophets: fulfillment in the end of time or fulfillment in modern days. Sadly, it only adds to our confusion if we try to use these books as a means to speculate on the unrevealed. However, the prophets distinctly carry the idea that history is going somewhere; that in the “fullness of time” God will complete His work. This theme primarily focuses on what God is going to accomplish in the Kingdom and through the King: Jesus Christ. (Hosea 1:10; Micah 4:1-3; Amos 9:11-12)
Day 1 - 1:1-4
Day 2 - 1:5-9
Day 3 - 1:10-11
Day 4 - 1:12-16
Day 5 - 1:17-21
This might be a great read for WARRING SIBLINGS at home!
Obadiah: “Yahweh’s Slave”
Written to Edom at an unknown date (most likely after 586* and the fall of Judah)
Conflict between Jacob (Judah) and Esau (Edom): Genesis 25:21-34; 27; 32-33; Numbers 20:14-21; 1 Samuel 14:47; 1 Kings 11:14-22; 1 Chronicles 18:12-13; 2 Chron. 21:1-10; 2 Chron. 25:5-13; Isaiah 34:5
Prophetic Judgment pronounced against Edom: Jeremiah 49:7-22; Lamentations 4:21-22; Ezekiel 25:12-14, 35:1-15
From about 734 until the fall of Jerusalem (in 586), Edom was under Assyrian control. This was a time of prosperity for the nation, despite their position as a vassal state. Upon the fall of Assyria, however, Edom was faced with the choice to align themselves with the Babylonians or their neighbors to the Northeast and distant kinsmen, Judah. Though Obadiah indicates that they should have helped their “brother,” instead they participated in Judah’s demise. Their victory would be short-lived, however, because Edom would also fall to Babylon in 553, as prophesied in Obadiah and confirmed in the Nabonidus Chronicle—an ancient history of the Babylonian empire.
I. The Announcement of Judgment against Edom (v1-9)
II. The Day of the Lord (v10-16)
III. Judah’s Final Exaltation (v17-21)
1. Though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down (v4)
Portrait of a Theme: Rebellion
Day 1—Joel 1:1-14
Day 2—Joel 1:15-2:11
Day 3—Joel 2:12-27
Day 4—Joel 2:28-3:8
Day 5—Joel 3:9-21
Joel: “The LORD is God”
Written primarily to Judah and Jerusalem at an unknown date (most likely either about 830* during the early part of the reign of Joash king of Judah or after the return from exile and the completion of the temple from the late 500s to 400s).
Early Date (Pre-Exilic):
· 2 Kings 11-12; 2 Chronicles 22
Late Date (Post-Exilic):
· Haggai, Zechariah
· Deuteronomy 27-30 (the blessings and curses of the covenant)
Kings of Judah or Israel listed: None.
· There are some common elements to the political climate during the writing of Joel’s prophecy to be considered, whichever date a student chooses to follow. There is no mention of a reigning king. Instead, the elders (1:2), the nation at large (1:2, 8), and especially the priests (1:13-14) are called to restore a right relationship with God through repentance. In addition, very little is mentioned in the prophecy of rebellion—in fact, drunkenness is the only specific sin mentioned (perhaps even metaphorically), while idolatry, vain worship, foreign alliances and the like are not considered. Whatever the rebellion, Joel seems confident in the tender hearts of the people to turn to the Lord in the repentance when faced with the great and powerful judgment of God—matching the attitude of the nation in the days following Haggai and Zechariah and in the early days of Joash the King!
I. The “Day of the Lord” for Judah; the Prophet’s Call to Repentance (Chapter 1:1-2:17)
A. Judgment in famine and pestilence: the locust invasion (Chapter 1)
B. Future judgment in military conquest: the invading army from the North (Chapter 2:1-17)
II. The “Day of the Lord” for the Nations; the Promise of Blessings for a Faithful Judah (Ch. 2:18-3:21)
1. What the (locust) left, the (locust) has eaten. (v4)
2. The day of the Lord is coming…So rend your heart, and not your garments. (v1, 12)
3. Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears (v10)
Portrait of a Theme: Repentance
Written to Nineveh from *663-612.
Genesis 10:11; Jonah; 2 Kings 23
No Kings of Judah listed
A hundred years earlier the city of Nineveh had repented by the preaching of Jonah, but now Nahum proclaims the fall of the same city. The Assyrians had forgotten how the Lord had relented from destroying them and had once again returned to their evil ways. They had known God, but as a result of their backsliding they were completely destroyed. Assyria was a nation bent on world domination and suppression. Beginning with Tiglath-pileser III in about 750, Assyria began a systematic attempt at world conquest which included the destruction of Israel and the invasion of Judah. Sargon II finished the siege began by Shalmaneser V (or simply took credit for it upon his ascension to the thrown) and Samaria fell in 722. The next king, Sennacherib, conquered the Judean city of Lachish and boasted of shutting-up King Hezekiah “like a bird in a cage.” By 663, Assyria had taken Egypt with great effort and brutality. However, these long, extensive wars depleted the “native” Assyrian armies and their cruelty garnered no real loyalty on the part of their “allies” (who were only interested in the wealth Assyria, and especially Nineveh, had obtained through trade and conquest). Thus, the nation was ripe for a fall—a fall that came at the hands of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) in 612.
I. Nineveh’s Doom—by the decree of Yahweh (Ch. 1)
II. The Siege and destruction of Nineveh (Ch. 2)
III. The Justification of Nineveh’s Destruction: Her Sins (Ch. 3)
1. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. (v3)
2. For the LORD will restore the excellence of Jacob…though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, Now they flee away. (v2, 8)
3. Are you better than No Amon (Thebes)? Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity. (v8, 10)
Portrait of a Theme: Judgment
Written primarily to Assyria (specifically Nineveh) from *790-750.
· 2 Kings 14:23-15:7 (see especially 14:23-25); 2 Chronicles 26; Matthew 12:39-41; Luke 11:29-32
· Contemporary with Hosea, Isaiah and Amos. Along with Nahum, Jonah is one of two prophets to bring a message of judgment and fall against Nineveh, the capital of the kingdom of Assyria.
Kings of Israel during this time:
1. Jeroboam II (793-753—King during Israel’s “Indian Summer” before its decline and fall)
During this time the nation of Assyria was in the midst of a 40 year period where the national circumstances were the poorest experienced since its rise to the mightiest nation on earth. They were weakened by war on multiple fronts, widespread famine and disease, revolts among their conquered nations, strife among their leaders, and the gradual concession of lands that had once belonged to smaller nations (including large portions of Syria that went back to the control of Israel, swelling her northern border to a size not seen since the days of David and Solomon). Also, there was a notable solar eclipse in 763. The depressed conditions and events of nature made the nation ripe for repentance when faced with God’s message of judgment through Jonah.
Outline (taken from George L. Robinson, The Twelve Minor Prophets):
I. Jonah’s Disobedience: Running Away from God (Chapter 1)
II. Jonah’s Prayer: Running to God (Chapter 2)
III. Jonah’s Preaching to Nineveh: Running with God (Chapter 3)
IV. Jonah’s Complaints: Running ahead of God (Chapter 4)
1. But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD… (v3)
2. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly (v1)
3. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD (v3)
4. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry (v1)
Portrait of a Theme: Repentance (3:5-10)