12 Prophets, one question: a study of the Minor Prophets
In case you have missed it, we have this habit of grouping like things together and the bible is the same. Like-minded things have been placed together often by subject or idea rather than chronologically. We have grouped the Gospels and the Epistles (the letters written to churches or individuals) in the New Testament, in the Old Testament we find the first 5 books, what we call the Pentateuch or Torah, which is about the formation of God’s people Israel. We have grouped the wisdom literature or poetry, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Songs, the histories that period of time when Israel took ownership of the promised land till the time when Babylonians came, conquered and exiled Israel, (Joshua- Chronicles) and then we have the Prophets.
The prophets are intermixed time wise with the histories, but we gather all seventeen of them together and place them towards the end Old Testament.
And again, we find that we further sort them into groups. 5 Major Prophets, and then we have the twelve minor prophets. These names do not imply that the major prophets are more important than the minor prophets but refer to the major prophetic books being much longer writings than the minor ones. The minor prophets range from Obadiah; a single chapter to 14 chapters found in Hosea and Zechariah.
Written over a period of about 400 years these writings while containing different events are united under one theme: Israel’s relationship with God. The prophets time and time again ask one very major and important question; what does God demand of his followers?
These prophets had a rough gig. While they had the privilege of sharing the amazing news of redemption and restoration, it usually wasn’t until after they laid down the coming judgment of God. Their calls for repentance didn’t usually fall onto listening ears or teachable hearts, and bad marriages, terrible nightmares, and much weeping often plagued them. They predicted and warned about the Assyrian takeover, the destruction of their own people brought forth by idolatry, and Babylonian captivity.
For our next sermon series, we will be looking at the Minor Prophets and asking what is God trying to say to his people? Back then and today.