Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Minor Prophets (Part 3)

8. Habakkuk
      Name means “One Who Clings” (cf. 3:17-19).
      Contemporaries: Jeremiah, Nahum, Zephaniah.
      Prophesied in Judah c. 610-605 BC about the impending judgment of God by the hands of the Babylonians.
      How can a righteous God use a wicked nation to carry out judgment?
Message of Habakkuk
      God is just.
      Judah will be punished at the hands of the Babylonians, but the Babylonians will also be punished for their wickedness. 
      Even when we don’t understand God’s ways, we can trust that his ways are right.
      Habakkuk 3:18, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

9. Zephaniah
      Name means “Yahweh Hides.”
      Prophesied in Judah c. 630-622 BC. 
      Contemporaries: Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk.
      Zephaniah’s purpose was to initiate change by pronouncing God’s judgment; just prior to Josiah’s reforms (621 BC).
Message of Zephaniah
      The day of the LORD’s judgment is fast approaching.
      Be humble and seek the LORD.
      Beyond judgment the LORD intends to restore his people.
      Zephaniah 3:12, “I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.”

10. Haggai
      Name means “Festive.”
      Prophesied c. 520 BC, the second year of Darius king of Persia. 
      Contemporary of Zechariah. 
      Some Jews have returned from exile to their homeland to rebuild the temple, but over a decade and a half later it is not finished.
      Haggai preaches a series of fiery sermons to motivate them to complete the project.
Message of Haggai
      The importance of getting priorities in order: “Consider your ways” (1:5, 7; 2:15, 18).
      The importance of the temple to glorify God among his people (1:8; 2:7-9).
      Reassurance of God’s abiding presence (1:13; 2:4, 5).
      Haggai 2:9, “‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts” (cp. Luke 2:21-49; Matt. 26:55).

11. Zechariah
      Name means “Yahweh Remembers.”
      Prophesied c. 520 BC, the second year of Darius king of Persia. 
      Contemporary of Haggai.
      Like Haggai, Zechariah is commissioned to motivate the post-exilic Jews, but unlike the fiery motivational speeches of Haggai, Zechariah encourages with positive glimpses of Jerusalem’s future. 
Message of Zechariah
      Learn from and do not repeat the sins of your forefathers.
      Visions of Jerusalem’s glorious future.
      Warnings to the enemies of God’s people.
      Messianic allusions (e.g. 9:9; 12:10; 13:7; 14:9).
      Zechariah 1:3, “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Return to me,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

12. Malachi
      Name means “My Messenger.”
      Prophesied to post-exilic Jews (c. 450-430 BC); contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah.
      Rebukes corrupt priests, no sabbath-keeping, failure to tithe, divorce and religiously mixed marriages, and various social problems.
Message of Malachi
      The LORD deserves to be respected, honored, and worshiped.
      The LORD expects faithfulness and permanence in marriage. 
      An Elijah-like figure will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord and subsequent judgment against nationalistic Judaism (3:1; 4:5-6).
      Malachi 3:6-7, “‘For I am the LORD, I do not change Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the LORD of hosts 

Each of these “minor” prophets challenged the people of his day to be faithful to Yahweh. Warnings of judgment are balanced by hope for the future. Each prophet, as a voice for God, is still worth listening to. 

--Kevin L. Moore

Related PostsMinor Prophets (Part 1)Part 2

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