God asks Hosea, a prophet, to marry an adulterous wife and to love her unconditionally, demonstrating to Israel God’s faithful love for His people despite their unfaithfulness.
Hosea’s adulterous, unfaithful wife would be a lesson to the adulterous, unfaithful nation to whom Hosea must minister.
Hosea’s messages were directed toward Israel (the northern kingdom) the people were chasing after other gods.
Hosea’s great love for his wife is a powerful illustration of God’s great love for His people, despite their unfaithfulness.
Hosea’s unfaithful wife
Hosea buys back his wife
The consequences of unfaithfulness
The faithful and endless love of God
Repentance will bring restoration
The prophet Joel understood that his nation, Judah (the southern kingdom) that once was a nation under God was fast becoming a nation without God filled with sin and pagan practices.
Joel explains to Judah that the locust plague that has come upon them is a judgement from God for their sins, he goes on to warn them that greater judgements are to come.
Joel closes his book with the prophecy that came true at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21). I will pour out My Spirit upon all people.
The coming of The Holy Spirit was prophesied hundreds of years before it actually happened, demonstrating the accuracy, reliability, and inspiration of God’s Word.
Joel predicts the plague of locusts
Joel predicts an enemy invasion
Joel predicts the day of the Lord
Amos a prophet to Israel speaks out in blunt and straightforward style against those who exploit and ignore the poor and needy.
While people still think that they are a religious nation, Amos points out their hypocrisy. Many got their wealth by cheating…mixing husks with grain…weighing goods on rigged scales…gouging the poor with unreasonable interest rates.
The golden era of Israel was tarnished with ugly dishonestly, bribery, and a wide range of other evils.
Those who truly love and care about God do not ignore the poor, twist justice, selfishly hoard their money, or look the other way at corrupt business practices.
God wants heartfelt obedience and commitment, not obligatory church attendance and meaningless rituals.
God calls Amos; announces Israel’s punishment
A nation gone corrupt
Amos visions of Judgement
When the armies of Babylon attacked Judah, the Edomites encouraged Babylon, not Judah. They cheered at the fall of Jerusalem, and even captured Judeans and turned them over to Babylon. After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem the Edomites went into the city and helped themselves to what remained.
The message of Obadiah is that the Edomites would not get away with ridiculing and persecuting God’s people.
We must be careful not to plunder or profit from our brothers and sisters. Edom did these things and it is no more. All that remains is their empty city, Petra, now merely a tourist attraction.
Edom will be destroyed
Judah will be restored
Jonah is the story of a person who ran away from God. God wanted him to go to the wicked city of Nineveh, and preach to the people there. These were not just people they were the greatest enemies of Israel, known for their glorification of evil and their brutal practices.
Jonah’s assignment was to call the people of Nineveh to repent, to turn to God, Jonah was afraid that they actually would and that God would forgive them. He could not imagine them getting out of the judgement they so richly deserved.
Jonah was not ready to deal with this so he ran away… he fled into the opposite direction by boarding a boat to Spain.
It is not possible to run away from God. When a great storm hits Jonah knows it is from God and asks the sailors to throw him overboard… a fish swallows Jonah and spits him out on dry land three days later… Johah then goes an completes his assignment from God and the people repent of their sins.
Jonah runs away from God
Jonah prays inside the fish
Jonah goes to Nineveh
God’s mercy makes Jonah angry
Both the northern and southern kingdom of Israel had not only forgotten about God but had taken enjoyment from evil practices, dishonesty, and injustice.
As strong as God love is for His people, His hatred of sin is equally intense. Only discipline could root that sin out, and a healthy dose of it.
Micah pronounces judgement and doom. In Judah, Ahaz was the king in early Mich’s ministry, he sacrificed his own son to pagan gods and nailed the Temple doors shut.
Mich’s message is still fresh and up-to-date. His call is for repentance, cleansing, and forgiveness. Worship God, not personalities. Live a holy life, decide to be faithful to God even if the rest of society has turned away from Him.
God’s sentence on Samaria and Jerusalem
The leaders of Israel are corrupt
The Lord will be king
A prediction of Jesus’ birth and eternal kingdom
God puts His people on trial
God promises restoration for His people
Nahun’s prophecy against the nation of Assyria. God would soon judge the nation for its evil. The nations capital Nineveh would be conquered, never to rise again.
This message brought the promise of hope and peace to God’s people who were subjects of Assyria and familiar with the nations threats and oppression.
A just and holy God brought an end to an empire devoted to idolatry, arrogance, and evil oppression.
God’s patience and power
God will rescue Judah from Assyria
Nineveh will fall
Habakkuk was never afraid to boldly ask God questions, and he never doubted that God had the answers.
God knows what is going on in the world. He declared to Habakkuk; the righteous will live by their faith.
God knows it takes faith to trust Him to have a plan when the pieces don’t seem to fit, to make things right when they don’t seem to make sense.
God may temporarily allow evil people to prosper, but it is not an enduring or permanent prosperity.
God is just, and therefore justice will prevail and so will the godly. This is our great hope and assurance from God.
Habakkuk questions God
God explains His ways to Habakkuk
Habakkuk prayer of praise
Sin is not funny; it is serious business. Sin brings judgement and punishment, rather than a chuckle or laughter. God does not laugh at sin, and God’s people should not laugh at sin.
Zephaniah did not laugh at evil, for he knew that God did not laugh at it. Zephaniah warned against evil pronouncing judgement and punishment upon all who were against the Lord.
Evil is no laughing matter, for it will bring God’s judgement. But God’s forgiveness is like a song, a shout, a time of rejoicing, a time for honor and praise.
Choose to be one of God’s faithful by asking for forgiveness and obeying His word. Then rejoice that one day we will never fear again but will live with the Lord forever In a place of goodness and perfect peace.
Zephaniah predicts the fall of Jerusalem
The future day of hope
The people from the land of Judah, who had been taken captive to Babylon, have now been allowed to return to their homeland.
They came back with enthusiasm and began to rebuild. But as time
passed, the peoples priorities shifted. They began to build their own homes and take care of their own needs. The Temple took second place.
Haggai was a motivator and encourager. He had a way of getting right to the point. Is this the time to live in your paneled houses while the house of God remains in ruins? You say God is most
important to you but you don’t act like it. Get your priorities straight and get busy rebuilding the Temple.
Put God’s work at the top. Don’t make excuses about not having time. The problem is one of Priorities. What is most important in your life? You will always have time for that.
Haggai urges the people to rebuild the Temple
The future glory of the Temple
God’s blessings become of the people’s new priorities
Zechariah encourages the exiles who have returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
He also records several visions he has of the coming Messiah (both His first coming, which has already taken place, and His second coming which is yet to come) and the eternal kingdom He will one day set up for all of those who remain faithful to Him.
These messages gave hope to the people in the midst of the discouragement of returning to their desolate land and rebuilding their ruined city.
Zechariah’s eight visions
Encouragement to finish the Temple
The Messiah King is coming
An eternal fountain of mercy
God will rule forever
Over 80 years have passed since the Temple was rebuilt. The spiritual zeal of the people has faded. The people had expected that when they returned to their homeland after the Exile, the Messiah would come at once and their nation would rule the world.
This did not happen, and many became discouraged and skeptical.
Malachi confronts them with their complacency and neglect, and encourages them to restore their relationship with God.
The sinful leaders
The sinful people
The faithful few
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