Complaining to God because he lets evil triumph over good; Hoping in God’s promises for what’s yet to come; Warnings not to rob God; and a guy swallowed by a really big fish! Welcome to the Minor Prophets.
The Minor Prophets refer to twelve books of the bible that are relatively short in length, hence “minor prophets.” These books are great to read if you’re short on time but don’t be fooled by the name, there’s a major message inside these short books!
We’re starting a new series, looking at four books of the Old Testament: Haggai, Habakkuk, Malachi, and Jonah to hear the major message that God declared through each prophet, and how that message is still relevant today.
Haggai was a man who lived during great distress in Israel. The nation had been overrun and most of the Israelites were living in a foreign land. As the people slowly trickled back into Israel, they rebuilt their homes but not the house of the Lord. God challenged his people, instructing them to focus on building his house. This is because God was getting ready to do something special: he was going to “shake all the nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in.” You see, God was preparing to build his kingdom on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, hunting for treasure throughout the nations. The same message applies to us. Are we interested in building God’s Kingdom and are we Treasure Hunters? We need to be Kingdom Builders and Treasure Hunters!
Habakkuk liked to complain, which is why he’s often called the “complaining prophet!” But Habakkuk had a lot to complain about. In his day, evil triumphed over good and justice was rarely done. Why do evil people succeed while good people suffer, asked Habakkuk. God answered Habakkuk’s complaint by reminding him that the righteous, those who truly shine, live by faith. The same message applies to us. Bad things happen in this lifetime, and oftentimes evil seems to triumph over good, but only temporally because God will set all things right in the end. What Goes Around, Comes Around.
Malachi challenged the people of Israel to think long and hard about what’s most important to them by referring to their tithes and contributions. The people of Israel weren’t giving God the best of the hard work because, fearing that there wouldn’t be enough for them. God challenged the people of Israel, telling them that when they give him their best he will “open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings until there is no more need.” The same message applies to us today. Are we robbing God? Are we holding back from giving God our best? Give God Your Best and Trust Him with The Rest!
Jonah is famous for being swallowed by a big fish! But Jonah was also the guy who wasn’t happy that God saved a group of people whom he felt were undeserving. In fact, when God saved the Ninevites, Jonah said, “I knew it! I knew that you would save these people because you’re a merciful God!” What’s special about this story is that God demonstrated to Jonah that he doesn’t save the deserving, he saves the undeserving. The same message applies to us today. Who are the Ninevites for us? And are we sad, glad, or mad when God shows mercy to them? If you’re sad or mad, then you need to be reminded that you’re not deserving; rather, you’re underserving of God’s mercy and grace. The truth is this: God Doesn’t Save The Deserving, He Saves The Underserving.
I hope that you’ll join us! Better yet, invite a friend! Everyone knows someone who needs to hear the gospel. And you probably know someone who’s asking and searching for answers to some really hard questions. Inviting someone to church is a great way to let someone know that you love them. I’m excited for this series and look forward to seeing you. And remember, We’re Living With Jesus Together So Others May Know Him!