In the meta-narrative of the Old Testament, you have the Creation, the calling of Abraham and his descendants, the Exodus, the Wilderness, the Law, the Monarchy, the Tribes of Judah, Judges, kings, empires, Samuel and David, Assyrians and Babylonians, the schism of a Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Israel in the North, Judah in the South, wars and more wars and more wars, the building of the Temple, the destruction of the Temple, the Exile, the re-building of the Temple, more wars . . . and in the midst of all of that . . . at least in the last third of all of that . . . Israel gets complacent.
They keep the law less. They worship God less. They break the Ten Commandments more. They align themselves politically with foreign adversaries more. And God takes notice.
Prophets emerge in both the north and the south starting eight hundred years before Jesus and lasting at least 300 more. These prophets each have an individualized message to a specific group about a specific problem, but when you group these voices together . . . you start to see similarities.
Their style of writing is similar. Oracles. Days of the Lord pronouncements. Talks of retributive justice, yet also clear verses of grace and forgiveness too. These writings are so prolific, the scholars who canonized the Bible couldn’t exclude them from scripture. As a matter of fact, Jesus himself read these writings as a part of his Bible. Today, we know these writings as the Book of the Twelve, or the minor prophets. And this summer, we’re jumping into them one by one. It’s impossible to tell the full scope of each book in such a short amount of time, but hearing from each prophet weekly will elicit a unique tone that God used that that we need to hear today: The voice of the prophetic.
Join us this summer, as we study together how the Israelite Monarchy collapses, how their infrastructures weaken due to selfish and politically expedient motivations, why they were cast out into exile, and how, ultimately, through what appears to be a retributive justice system, is actually a lens for us to see God unveiling a restorative one. The minor prophets have a lot to offer us today . . . most importantly . . . even in the face of complete and utter failure . . . God still comes to us with love. We look forward to seeing you this summer at First Baptist.
June 2 | Amos 1-2 | The Book of the 12 (an overview)
The Bible Jesus read consisted of the Law (Genesis - Deuteronomy), the Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) and the Prophets (Major and Minor). One of the most important genres of the Bible is the voice of the prophet, who speaks in oracles and pronouncements, and it is time we hear from them. One of the best illustrations we have is from Amos. His “oracles against the nations” proves just why the prophetic matters.
June 9 - Pentecost and Communion | Hosea 11:1-11 | Hosea: Looking Into the Heart of God
Hosea is a northern prophet who speaks to the Northern Kingdom, Israel. Hosea’s chief message is to warn the ruling elite of their “promiscuous” lifestyle with foreign adversaries. Israel has set up an international agribusiness that aggressively taxes their own poor while the elite benefit from foreign aid. Worship has diluted into nothing short of pagan worship and God is tired of it. In Hosea 11, we see a rare glimpse into the heart of God. God laments the state of Israel and calls for their repentance. The depiction of God in Hosea 11 is the image we need today to help re-author who God is for us.
June 16 | Joel 2:10-14 | Joel: The Day of the Lord
Joel threatens the Day of the Lord (which is code for both when God acted and when God will act decisively). In the prophets, this phrase is always bad. It symbolized how and why God is coming to judge and destroy. Joel clearly is warning Israel to repent from their sins and it appears they do we hear Joel say that God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and full of love. This language is the golden calf story from Exodus. Even in the face of sin, when God’s people repent, God reveals God’s mercy.
June 23 | Obadiah | Pastor Larry is Preaching
We know very little about Obadiah. As a matter of fact, Obadiah may not have even been his name. Obadiah means, “worshiper of Yahweh.” Whether Obadiah is his real name or not, what we do know is he was a prophet living in the 6th century who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. The southern kingdom Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and all the Judeans were sent into exile. Where did all these people go? Edom. Obadiah’s prophecies speak directly to Edom while the Judeans are in exile.
June 30 | Micah | Pastor Nate is Preaching
We know very little about Micah. His name means, “Who is like Yahweh?” Thanks to the superscription, we can date him to the 8th century around the Judean kings of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. This means he is writing to the southern kingdom, Judah, as a native, during the pivotal years of the Assyrians trying to lay siege to Jerusalem, but ultimately failing. His earliest oracles predate the destruction of Israel in 722. The back half of his book clearly speaks of Israel’s destruction and Micah’s warning that those same events not happen to Jerusalem in the south.
July 7 | Amos | Pastor Lacey is Preaching
Amos is contemporaries with Micah and Hosea. He’s a southern farmer from Tokoa who travels to the northern kingdom, Israel, to speak to Jeraboam II and his government warning them of Assyrian allegiances. Amos is one of the easiest to date. He’s an 8th century prophet speaking to the northern kingdom, Israel, during Assyrian rule.
July 14 | Jonah | Intern Annette Coe is Preaching
There’s no other book quite like Jonah in the Bible. It’s almost completely self-contained without the interference of other writers, historical figures, or references to Israelite history. There’s no date given or historical precedent for why Jonah’s been called by God. What we do know is Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14 during the reign of Jeroboam II which would have been the 8th Century and Assyria gaining power. We know Ninevah was destroyed by Babylon in the 6th Century, so it stands to reason Jonah is somewhere between the two. Regardless, this folklore-style prophecy is one of the most descriptive and peculiar books in all the Bible.
July 21 | Nahum 3.18-19 | Nahum: Deep Suffering is Important to Recognize
Nowhere in the Bible is it more obvious that some people strongly believed in the “an eye for an eye.” This entire book is a fantasy on revenge. The Israelites hate the Assyrians and dream of their demise. It is in this lens we must understand that Nahum is only part of the voice that we need to hear from. The payoff of a well-worked-through deep suffering is the recognition of deep love. Understanding Nahum’s place in our scripture is important. It is not the gospel by itself. But it also helps flesh out the complexities we all face in life.
July 28 | Habbakuk 1.2-4; 2.1-3; 3.2-3 | Habbakuk: The Cycle of Lament
Habbakuk is fed up with waiting on God. The destruction of Israel and the sinfulness of other nations is too much to stay silent about . . . so Habbakuk laments. Through lamenting, he arrives on a firmer foundation and by the start of the second chapter he is ready to stand on a watchtower and wait. By the beginning of Chapter 3, he is fully on board with God’s plan and has the endurance to wait. Habbakuk shows us a wonderful process for grief that still applies today.
August 4 | Zephaniah 2:11-15 | Zephaniah: The Remnant
Zephaniah starts like most of his contemporaries casting judgment on the wicked, especially the wicked nations. His words of passionate exhortation changes to compassion towards the “remnant.” This word is used three times between chapters 2 and 3. It is clear Zephaniah sees that God’s wrath will not be for all people. A small, remnant will ‘take refuge in the Lord’s name.’ This remnant is a hopeful reminder that even in the worst of things, there is still hope.
August 11 | Haggai 2:10-19 | Haggai: Reconstructing the Temple
The exile is over. Persia is in control. Israel is invited back to Jerusalem. Instead of rebuilding the temple right away, Jerusalem starts rebuilding houses. Haggai shames them for this decision and demands the reconstruction the temple. As they rebuild, Haggai gives more warning about their continued faithfulness to God.
August 18 | Zechariah 8:1-13 | Zechariah: Returning to Eden
Perhaps the wildest prophetic book comes to a close with the dream that we can return to Eden. Coming right on the historical heels of Haggai, Zechariah paints a scene for the the Messianic figure’s return to a newly rebuilt Jerusalem and calls this Eden. With wild dreams and crazy predictions, Zechariah helps reorient Israel’s focus from the present to the future.
August 25 | Malachi 3:1-12 | Malachi: The Refiner’s Fire
God is ready to send a Messenger (Jesus). He will perform a spiritual alchemy for the world. Spiritual alchemy is the boiling down of our spiritual malpractices and letting the Holy Spirit create in us something new. We will know something new is taking place when we begin to see new works emerge. One of the best ways to see these works is following how we spend our money.