The Minor Prophets. It sounds like A) underage fortunetellers, B) unimportant books, or C) a good name for a ska band.
Okay, so you probably never really thought A or C, but we do tend to treat them like B (At least I know I have). When really they are only named this because their books are (delightfully) shorter than those of Isaiah, Jeremiah and the other “Major Prophets.” But we don’t read them. I don’t. I have, but usually part of a “read through the Bible” or “read through the Old Testament” sort of exercise and I have failed to let them make an impact in my mind and my soul.
So this year, I’m making a change. I’m not just going to read the Minor Prophets, but I’m going to do so reflectively: taking time to dwell on each chapter, looking for the nuggets ready to be mined. This is why I’m taking my own devotional time to Twitter (@Zeulner). With its limit of 140 characters per tweet, I am forced to refine, refine, refine my thoughts in the passage. And because of its public nature, I am forced to think through not just what makes sense to me, but what will hopefully makes sense to most anyone who comes across my posts on Twitter or Facebook.
Beyond just a better understanding of the wisdom and truth found in each book, an additional emphasis in this #LTTMP is to look for the “arrows” pointing to the Gospel. This might be hints of something greater than what is already found in the Old Covenant, breaking points that cannot find their resolution in the law or in man’s state of sin, or glimmers of hope and a better promise that God desires for His people. With each of these, my intent is to mark it with a tag, #OTGospel, to help us uncover how the whole Bible, even the Minor Prophets, is pointing to and fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. (But remember, I only get 140 characters and that tag is 9! So we’ll see how that goes!)
A couple of disclaimers:
- I may not get it right every time. As this is part of my own devotional time, I am not taking time each day to consult commentaries and other technical resources. These are my own personal observations and might be shown wrong by superior scholarship – I gladly welcome that. In fact, I always welcome people doing more research on the Bible, even if it is just to prove me wrong!
- This may get repetitive. The primary function of these prophets was to call the people of Israel and Judah out for their sin and warn them of God’s coming judgment if they don’t change. But, as Jesus’ primary message was one of repentance… I don’t mind the repetition, hopefully you don’t either.
- This is intended for application. It’s not a sermon where I get to take time dissecting the author’s original meaning and intent for his original audience and then move to what we can take from it today. I’m doing that first part in my head and then trying to move to today, which means my tweets aren’t saying what the passage “means” but rather how it should be “significant” for us. If you think I missed something, well, refer back to disclaimer #1.
Let me finish with a quote from Charles Spurgeon, comparing each of the major prophetic works of the Old Testament to different constellations in the night sky:
I am not at a loss to find a constellation for the minor prophets: they are a sweet group, of intense brilliancy, even though but small: they are the Pleides of the Bible. –Charles Spurgeon
Feel free to check back at this page, where I’ll update with links to the summaries as I finish each book.
Hosea // Joel // Amos // Obadiah // Jonah // Micah // Nahum
Habakkuk // Zephaniah // Haggai // Zechariah // Malachi