Disobedient Prophet

READ : Jonah The Lord says to Jonah, “Go to Nineveh.” How often in the Bible we hear God saying to someone, “Go.” We are inclined to sit back comfortably in the status quo, but the Lord says to us, “Go, I have something for you to do; be up and doing it.” Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, a cruel nation that was a great threat to Jonah’s nation. Jonah was patriotic. He knew if the Assyrians continued in …

Winners and Losers

READ : Obadiah The Bible teaches that all deserve punishment, and that God graciously intervenes in the lives of some, while he allows others to continue in the way in which they choose to go and suffer the consequences. Obadiah illustrates that concept. Both Edom and Israel deserve destruction. For Edom that destruction is permanent, as they justly deserve. For Israel, there is a period of punishment, but they will be restored. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau. They …

Seek God and Live

READ : Amos 5-9 Woe to those who have an attitude of spiritual complacency, living in luxury as do so many of us but not deeply concerned about the sad condition of the church and the nation. “Woe to those who lie upon beds of ivory . . . sing idle songs . . . drink wine in bowls . . . but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” (6:4-6). Amos calls for social justice. “You trample upon …

Prepare to Meet Your God

READ : Amos 1-4 Amos is a prophet from Judah who is called to preach to Israel. He knows how to get attention. He begins by condemning the sins of the neighboring nations. Then he moves on to the sins of Judah. The Israelites are listening with approval. But then Amos shifts to preaching about their sins. Their foremost sin was oppressing the poor (2:7a). Amos preaches social righteousness. He makes it clear that God condemns those who take advantage …

The Day of the Lord

READ : Joel 1-3 The minor prophets used this term, “The day of the LORD,” frequently. Joel uses it five times in this brief book. He begins by speaking of a terrible plague of locusts which has either just happened or is soon to occur. The prophets were so sure that God’s predictions would come true that they sometimes spoke of the future as if it already happened. The day of the Lord is a great day of judgment, either …

Advice to Sinners

READ : Hosea 10-14 Sin is not just a few external actions. The basic problem is, “Their heart is false” (10:2). Sin is putting one’s trust in other things rather than in God: “you have trusted in your chariots” (10:13). Sin is breaking our relationship with God: “my people are bent on turning away from me” (11:7); “they forgot me” (13:6). God still loves sinners. Israel is his people, and though they have turned their backs on him, God has …