"For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets" -Amos 3:7 (ESV)
The Prophets Inspire Hope
To offer a summary of the Prophets is virtually impossible, but it’s important to take note of the message of the prophets because the prophets inspired in Israel hope. They lit a spark, a little fire of hope within the heart of Israel during this time of failure, especially among the faithful. No doubt the faithful were wondering, as they saw the Israel sliding down the hill into rebellion, what’s going to become of God’s world? What’s going to become of the promises made to David about a world kingdom in which one of his descendants would rule on the throne forever and incorporate the nations into the restoration of the whole creation? So it’s important, even if we can’t take account of the diversity of the prophetic message, to note the message that they did pass along in the sense of how Israel appropriated that in their hope.
A Messianic Kingdom
What Israel heard from the prophets was that God was not giving up on His redemptive program. There was a world kingdom coming. There was a kingdom where one of the rulers in David’s line would sit in the throne and that world kingdom would be ushered in by a Messiah, an anointed king.
Now that Messiah was seen as a world ruler, one who would rule all Israel and all the nations. This world kingdom would be ushered in by a Messiah who would become a world ruler. But also the Spirit would be poured out. The coming of the kingdom would be a work of the Spirit. The Spirit would be a gift of the end times. Joel says, “In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit.” (see Joel 2:28). And other prophets gave a message that was similar. The Spirit would be the one by whom the power of salvation would come in the last days (see Mark 9:1; Acts 2).
The Work of the Spirit
The vital work of the Messiah, the work of the Spirit, would be a work of both judgment and salvation, and often these two are held in parallel. God would save Israel. God would bring salvation to a number of Gentiles, but He would also bring judgment; the judgment would begin in the household of God, begin among Israel, and then continue among the Gentiles.
In other words, God judging sin went hand in hand with the salvation and the renewal of the creation. It’s important to note that when the prophets speak of salvation, they’re not talking about a misunderstanding of salvation very prevalent today—that being saved from our sin is going to heaven or something; they wouldn’t have understood what that meant. For them, salvation—as Peter will later say in Acts 3—is the restoration of the entire creation, the whole life of humankind from all nations.
Gathering and Renewal of Israel
This salvation would begin with the gathering of Israel and their renewal. Israel had failed in their task to be a light to the nations. Ezekiel says, for example, in Ezek 36: “I put my name on you, but you have profaned my name. I wanted you to honor my name, but you had profaned it. But there’s coming a day,” He says, “where I’m going to gather you back, and when I gather you back, I’m going to put my spirit on you; I’m going to give you a new heart, and through you again my name is going to be honored.”
Incorporation of the Gentiles
Israel is going to be gathered. Israel is going to be renewed. Then the Gentiles would be incorporated into the covenant. Then the Gentiles would stream toward Israel. The operative word in the Prophets at this point is that Gentiles would come to Israel. Zechariah 8:23 pictures a number of Gentiles taking hold of a Jew by his robe and saying, “We’ve heard that God is among you. Can we go with you to Zion?” So the picture is one of being attracted into Israel and incorporated into the covenant.
In other words, the Prophets say there’s coming a day when Israel would fulfill their calling and would be a light to the nations and gather them into the covenant. The Prophets look forward to this time as an end-time event. The day is coming. When? In the last days, this will take place. This was going to be an end-time event. Now as Israel listened to this prophetic message, their hope was projected forward. It was an eschatological hope that with the coming of the kingdom, God would make all things new. The fire of hope was now lit in the heart of Israel.
Goheen, M. W. (2013). BI201 The Story of the Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Breakdown Of The Minor Prophets
"Should I not have compassion..." -Jonah 4:11 (NASB).
The book of Jonah is distinct from the other Minor Prophets: There is no heading identifying its author, and the book is a biographical narrative of God’s dealings with Jonah, rather than a collection of speeches by the prophet. We cannot be sure what historical or sociological conditions prompted this book, but it depicts a disobedient, reluctant prophet, who stands in contrast to the foreigners described in the book. Unlike Jonah, the sailors and the Ninevites responded humbly to the Lord. The book shows how the sovereign God, before whom all nations are morally responsible, does not seek to destroy sinners, but offers them an opportunity to repent and experience His mercy.
"Woe to those who are at ease in Zion..." -Amos 6:1 (ESV).
Amos warned the northern kingdom of impending judgment because they had violated God's covenant. Focusing his message on the socio-economic oppression prevalent in Israelite society, Amos is the first prophet to speak of “the day of the Lord” (Amos 5:18–20). The people expected it to be a time when God would defeat their enemies and usher in a new era of blessing, but Amos talks about day of dark judgment. The book ends on a positive note, with the promise of a renewed Davidic dynasty and restored blessing.
" He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6:8 (ESV).
A contemporary of Isaiah, Micah prophesied during the second half of the eighth century bc. His message is an accusation of social injustice to Judah. Micah announced that Jerusalem would be destroyed, but his prophecy of doom was postponed because of Hezekiah’s repentance (compare Mic 3:12 with Jer 26:17–19). The people would be exiled to Babylon, but God, in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham, would eventually forgive and restore His exiled people. He would also reestablish the Davidic dynasty under an ideal Davidic ruler, who would protect the covenant community from would-be conquerors like the Assyrians.
"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. -Hosea 2:19-20 (ESV).
Hosea prophesied during the eighth century bc, an eventful period in the history of Israel and Judah. In 722–721 bc, the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and took the people into exile.
Hosea’s message focuses on the northern kingdom, especially their idolatry. In an effort to produce children and enjoy agricultural abundance, the people worshiped the Canaanite fertility god Baal. God's compares Israel’s unfaithfulness to adultery. As a picture of their lack of fidelity, He commanded Hosea to marry Gomer, a woman who was unfaithful to him. To illustrate His determination to win back Israel, He required Hosea to reclaim his adulterous wife.
The book of Hosea provides graphic portraits of God as a moth, bone decay, a hunter, a lion, a leopard, and a bear. God threatens to kill His people’s children, to rip the people open, and to tear them apart (Hos 9:11–17; 13:7–8). Yet in contrast to these disturbing images, God is depicted as a lover who romantically pursues His wayward first love (Hos 2:14). We get a glimpse into the heart of God and view His great compassion for His people. As He contemplates His severe judgment upon Israel, His heart is turned, and He relents from sending calamity in its full force (Hos 11:8–9).
"The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty." -Nahum 1:3 (ESV).
Nahum prophesied sometime between the fall of Thebes in 663 bc, which had already occurred (Nahum 3:8–10), and the fall of Nineveh in 612 bc, which he anticipated. Israel’s sovereign Warrior-King would destroy Nineveh and the Assyrian empire because of its violent imperialism (Nahum 3:1).
"Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land..." -Zeph 1:3 (ESV).
Zephaniah prophesied in the late seventh century, prior to the fall of Nineveh in 612 bc, an event he anticipated (Zeph 2:13–15). His message focuses on the “day of the Lord,” a day of judgment against both Judah and the nations, with a purification that culminates in worldwide worship of God and the restoration and moral transformation of the covenant community.
"“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith." -Hab 2:4 (ESV)
Habakkuk prophesied during the late seventh—early sixth centuries, prior to the downfall of Jerusalem in 586 bc. In a dialogue with God, Habakkuk lamented the injustice he saw in Judah; God announced He would use the Babylonians as His instrument of purifying judgment. Habakkuk called Babylon an arrogant, cruel nation, but God assured Habakkuk that His justice would be satisfied and Babylon would be punished. After receiving a vision of the mighty Warrior-King, the prophet expressed faith in the Lord’s ability to sustain His followers through difficult times.
"The pride of your heart has deceived you..." Obadiah 1:3. (ESV).
The date of this short prophecy is debated, but the disaster described in Obad 10–14 appears to be Judah’s exile, which the Edomites exploited to their advantage. Obadiah announced God would avenge His people by judging Edom, as well as other nations, for their mistreatment of Judah. He would also restore a remnant of His exiled people to their city and land.
"Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Consider your ways.'" Hag 1:5 (ESV).
Haggai’s four messages are specifically dated to the year 520 bc, the second year of the reign of the Persian king Darius. God challenged those who had returned from exile to rebuild the temple, and He promised to glorify the temple, provide agricultural abundance, and restore of the Davidic dynasty.
"Thus declares the Lord of hosts: 'Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of host.'" -Zech 1:3 (ESV)
The authorship and unity of the book of Zechariah is a matter of debate. The three messages in Zech 1–8 are specifically dated to 520–518 bc and attributed to Zechariah (Zech 1:1, 7; 7:1). However, the headings to the two oracles in Zech 9–14 do not identify the author; both say “the burden of the word of Yahweh,” the same phrase that appears at the beginning of the book of Malachi (Mal 1:1). These chapters may have written by an anonymous author as a bridge between Zechariah and Malachi (Ralph L. Smith, Micah-Malachi, 169–73, 242–49). Given their canonical placement, it seems more likely these oracles come from later in Zechariah’s ministry (Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets, 316–17).
Zechariah urged those who had returned from exile to show their repentance through obedience, reminding them that God places higher priority on obedience than on religious ritual. The prophet envisioned a time when God would gather all of the exiles, make Jerusalem the center of His worldwide rule, and restore the Davidic dynasty. In the era to come, the king and the priesthood would cooperate fully in carrying out God’s purposes for the covenant community.
"...rend your hearts and not your garments." -Joel 2:13 (ESV)
Estimates for dating the book of Joel range from the ninth to the fourth centuries b.c. While no consensus has been reached, most scholars hold to a date after the exile (586 b.c.) for the following reasons: (1) the exile is treated as a past event (3:2–3); (2) the conquest of Jerusalem is mentioned (3:17); (3) no king is mentioned; (4) the temple plays a positive function, while there is no prophetic denunciation against the idolatry and syncretism mentioned in Hosea and Amos; and (5) the anger expressed toward Edom is best explained by its treatment of Judeans during the Babylonian conquest (Joel 3:19; Obad. 1–21).
The prophecy was prompted by a locust invasion, which had devastated the crops. The destruction was a foreshadowing of a worse judgment to come if the people did not repent. Apparently they did change their ways; the Lord relented from judgment and promised to restore the people. He envisioned a day when He would pour out His Spirit upon the entire covenant community.
"Will a man rob God?" -Mal 3:8 (ESV).
The date of Malachi is not certain (438?), but the reference to a governor places the book in the period of Persian rule (Mal 1:8). Parallels with Ezra—Nehemiah (references to marriages with foreigners, failure to pay tithes, and social injustice) suggest Malachi lived in the mid-fifth century.
The book contains six disputations in which God addresses complaints from His people. Malachi emphasized God’s commitment to His people and the obedience He expected from them. He would form a righteous remnant into a purified covenant community and eliminate the wicked.
“Should I not have compassion...?” -Jonah 4:11 (Nasb)
Lesson 1 Required Reading: Jonah chapters 1-4.
Because it tells of a fish swallowing a man, many have dismissed the book of Jonah as fiction. But 2 Kings 14:25 mentions Jonah as living during the time of Jeroboam II (about 793–753 B.C.), and Jesus referred to Jonah as a historical person (Matt 12:39–41). Unlike other prophetic books, Jonah focuses on the prophet himself rather than on his message. When God sent Jonah to Nineveh he rebelled, was swallowed by a fish, repented, and fulfilled his mission after all. When Nineveh repented, the reason for Jonah’s rebellion became clear: he had feared that God would forgive the Ninevites; and when God did forgive them, Jonah resented it (4:1–3). The book lists no author, but only the Lord and Jonah himself could have known all the facts it records.
Jonah prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:23–28), who ruled in Israel (the northern kingdom) from 793 to 753 B.C. Jeroboam was the grandson of Jehoahaz, who ruled in Israel from 814 to 798 B.C. Because of the sins of Jehoahaz, Israel was oppressed by the Arameans (2 Kings 13:3). But because of the Lord’s great compassion (2 Kings 13:4, 23), Israel was spared destruction and delivered from this oppression (2 Kings 13:5). This deliverance came through a “savior” (2 Kings 13:5), who may have been Adad-nirari III (810–783 B.C.), king of Assyria.
Jeroboam’s father, Jehoash (798–782 B.C.), capitalized on this freedom from Aramean oppression and began to expand Israel’s boundaries, recapturing towns taken during the reign of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:25). Though Jeroboam “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 14:24), he nevertheless expanded Israel even farther than his father did, matching the boundaries in the days of David and Solomon (2 Kings 14:25); this was “according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher” (2 Kings 14:25). Thus Jonah witnessed firsthand the restorative compassion of God extended to his wayward people.
A. Jonah’s commissioning and flight (Jonah 1:1–3).
B. Jonah and the pagan sailors (Jonah 1:4–16).
C. Jonah’s grateful prayer (Jonah 1:17–2:10).
D. Jonah’s recommissioning and compliance (Jonah 3:1–3a).
E. Jonah and the pagan Ninevites (Jonah 3:3b–10).
F. Jonah’s angry prayer (Jonah 4:1–4).
G. Jonah’s lesson about compassion (Jonah 4:5–11).
During this time the Assyrians were occupied with matters elsewhere in the empire, allowing Jeroboam II to capture much of Syria for Israel. The Lord called Jonah to go to the great Assyrian city of Nineveh to pronounce judgment upon it. Jonah attempted to escape the Lord’s calling by sailing from the seaport of Joppa to Tarshish, which was probably in the western Mediterranean. Eventually he obeyed the Lord and traveled overland to Nineveh at the heart of the Assyrian Empire.
“Should I Not Have Compassion...?”
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Compassion is a key aspect of God’s nature ( 2 Cor 1:3; Ps 86:15) which is reflected in his sympathetic understanding of human weakness and his restoration of those in trouble. While on earth in the flesh, Jesus' pity and loving concern for the lowly and the needy, His words and deeds demonstrated God’s merciful and gracious nature in action.
God Is Serious About Compassion
Read the following Scriptures. To what is God’s compassion for His people likened to?
1) Psalm 103:13-14. _________________________________________________________.
2) Isaiah 49:15-16. ___________________________________________________________.
The Reach of God’s Compassion
Who is God’s compassion for? (Psalm 145:8-9). ____________________________________.
God of Compassion
Read the following Scriptures, then identify the different kinds of people God showed compassion to.
1) __________________________________________________________(Exodus 22:25-27).
2) _____________________________________________________________(Isaiah 30:18).
3) _____________________________________________________________(Isaiah 49:13).
4) __________________________________________________________(2 Kings 13:22-23).
5) ________________________________________________________________(Neh 9:17).
6) ___________________________________________________________(James 5:10-11).
We Too Must Be Compassionate
Compassion is a vital requirement in Christian character (Eph 4:32; Col 3:12; 1Pe 3:8). Whom should we show compassion to:
1) Luke 10:33-35 ____________________________________________________________
2) Genesis 37:34-35 _________________________________________________________
3) Exodus 2:6 ______________________________________________________________
4) Hebrews 13:3 ____________________________________________________________
5) 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 ________________________________________________________
6) Psalm 35:13-14 __________________________________________________________
7) James 1:27 _____________________________________________________________
Like Jonah, at times, many run away from their responsibility to communicate God’s compassionate love to others. May God soften our hearts and sober up our minds to be more like Jesus (Philippians 2:1-8).
1) What should a Christian’s life say about God’s compassion?
2) What are the potential dangers of placing limits on showing compassion to others?
3) Do you push yourself to extend to those who are different from you (perhaps even impolite to you) in order to share the good news of the compassion of God in Jesus Christ? To whom do you have the most difficulty sharing God’s compassionate message? Why might this be so?
Key Lessons From Jonah
1) Plants or people? The importance of proper priorities and perspectives.
2) God's divine purpose will be accomplished regardless of the activities of man.
3) It is necessary for one to obey every command of God whether we agree with it or not or even if we do not completely understand it.
4) Failure in duty is rebellious disobedience.
5) It is possible for nationalism to be a sin.
6) God's prophet must preach God's message.
7) God's people must develop a love for all peoples.
8) You cannot run from God.
9) God desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
"Woe to those who are at ease..." -Amos 6:1.
Lesson 2 Required Reading: Amos Chapters 1-9.
Amos was a shepherd and farmer called to prophesy during the reigns of Uzziah (792–740 b.c.) in the southern kingdom and Jeroboam II (793–753) in the north. During this time both kingdoms enjoyed political stability, which in turn brought prosperity. It was also a time of idolatry, extravagance, and corruption. The rich and powerful were oppressing the poor. Amos denounced the people of Israel for their apostasy and social injustice and warned them that disaster would fall upon them for breaking the covenant. He urged them to leave the hypocrisy of their “solemn assemblies” (5:21) and instead to “let justice roll down like waters”
The Israelites took their wealth and prosperity to be unmistakable signs of the blessing of God. Thus, they were reinforced in their belief that “the day of the Lord” would soon dawn in which God would subdue their enemies under their feet and make them the rulers of the world. But in fact, their present wealth and power was not evidence of the blessing of God. As Amos conclusively showed, they were actually under the curse of God because of their egregious breaches of their covenant with Him. Much of their wealth had been amassed at the expense of the poor, whom the rich and powerful were systematically oppressing. Their worship of God was little more than attempts at magical manipulation of Him, much like the religion of their pagan neighbors. It is no accident that Amos delivered his messages at Bethel, where Jeroboam’s namesake (Jeroboam I) had set up a golden calf for Israel to worship in 930 b.c. at the very outset of the northern kingdom (see 1 Kings 12).
Thus, what the Israelites saw as the beginning of a new “Golden Age” was really the last flush of a terminal illness. And it was Amos’s unhappy task to disabuse them of their foolish expectations. Not only was Israel not going to become ruler of the world, within just a few years they would not exist as a nation at all, and would continue to exist as a people only by the unmerited grace of God. “The day of the Lord,” far from being a day of light, was going to be a day of darkness.
As it turned out, Amos was profoundly correct. Though no human could have predicted it, God knew that Assyria was not entering its final decline but was only “catching its breath” before its explosion into its final century of greatness. In 745 b.c. Tiglath-pileser III would ascend the throne of Assyria, and hardly more than 20 years later, in 722, the northern kingdom of Israel would cease to exist.
God “knew” Israel (Amos 3:2) out of “all the families of the earth,” and instituted it to be a place where righteousness and justice, in both the private and public spheres, would be on display for all mankind. The northern kingdom of Israel had rejected that calling and abused that privilege, and so God would punish them all the more severely for their unfaithfulness. And yet even this terrible judgment did not eclipse all hope: there would still come an heir of David, in whom alone Israel and Judah, and indeed all the world, would find peace and blessing (Amos 9:11-12).
I. Oracles of Judgment (1:2–6:14)
A. Judgments on Israel’s neighbors (1:2–2:5)
B. Judgments on Israel (2:6–6:14)
1. Introductory announcement of judgment on Israel (2:6–16)
2. Detailed announcements of judgment on Israel (3:1–6:14)
a. An oracle of warning (3:1–15)
b. An oracle of doom (4:1–13)
c. An oracle of entreaty (5:1–17)
d. An oracle of woe (5:18–6:14)
II. Visions of Judgment (7:1–9:15)
A. A vision of inescapable judgment (7:1–17)
1. The vision itself (7:1–9)
2. An experience reinforcing the vision (7:10–17)
B. A vision of the terrible end (8:1–14)
C. A vision of the Lord standing beside the altar (9:1–15)
1. The thresholds shaken (9:1–10)
2. The booth of David restored (9:11–15)
Amos prophesied to Israel during the decades just prior to the fall of Samaria to the Assyrian Empire. The resurgence of this ancient empire dominated much of the politics of the ancient Near East from the time of Jeroboam and Azariah until the empire’s demise at the end of the sixth century b.c. Assyria would eventually engulf nearly the entire Near East from Ur to Ararat to Egypt.
"Woe to those who are at ease…”
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils” -Amos 6:1, 4, 6. (ESV).
Like ancient Israel, we have become a very prosperous nation. In fact, the United States of America is considered the wealthiest nation in the world! And just like the people of Israel in Amos’ time, we have allowed our wealth to blind us to social injustices and we have abused our relationship with God. We have become morally and spiritually stagnant. As Christians we cannot afford to be “at ease.” We mustn't stand (or lay) idly by while injustice and immorality progresses. We must take a stand for God’s word: To believe it, live by it, and by actively getting involved to make a difference! (1 Cor 15:58).
Being At Ease
The words listed below best describe the attitudes of the people during Amos’ time. Can you unscramble and identify each word?
1) erenceffidni ________________________________ (Hint: Begins with the letter “i”).
2) eticpatha __________________________________ (Hint: Ends with the letter “c”).
3) ayzl ______________________________________ (Hint: Begins with the letter “l”).
4) lessthear __________________________________ (Hint: Ends with the letter “s”).
How Were They At Ease?
1) Isaiah 22:12-13 ____________________________________________________________
2) Ezekiel 12:1-2 _____________________________________________________________
3) Matt 13:7, 22 ______________________________________________________________
4) Luke 12:16-21 _____________________________________________________________
5) Eph 4:17-19 _______________________________________________________________
Christians should never become careless or lazy. How Are God’s people described?
1) Rom 12:11 _______________________________________________________________
2) 1 Cor 9:27 _______________________________________________________________
3) Phil 2:12-14 ______________________________________________________________
4) Heb 4:11 ________________________________________________________________
5) 1 Pet 1:13 ________________________________________________________________
Getting the right picture
In Israel there was corruption, indulgence, immorality, and oppression of the poor. These things communicated exactly the wrong message about God. God was not interested in their religious routines that had nothing to do with religious substance (Amos 5:21–23).
When we read the prophecy of Amos, if we’re honest with ourselves we will have to admit that God’s people in Amos, often look an awful lot like us today. Religion had become disconnected from life. But there is no life apart from God. When we root our lives, with all their intersocial complexity, in Him, it is no surprise that our behaviors will begin to say something true about Him. And when we grasp the magnitude of what God has done for us, those behaviors will be consciously motivated by a profound gratitude.
1) How can others see God’s compassion, mercy, and justice by your behavior? How would someone describe God if they only had you, as His representative, to go by?
2) How is it possible to give false testimony about God’s character by the way one lives?
(John 14:8-9; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 1:14-16).
4) How could you modify your behavior to better communicate truth about God?
(Rom. 2:23-24; Matt. 5:13-16; Col. 3:17).
Key Lessons From Amos
1) Justice between man and man is one of the foundations of society.
2) Ease, luxury and idleness lead to open sin.
3) The most elaborate worship is but an insult to God when offered by those who have no mind to conform to his commandments.
4) The child of God must be motivated by personal conviction.
5) It does matter what we do as well as why we do it.
6) Agreement with God will have the effect of obedience in our lives.
7) When one rejects the love of truth, time may come when he will seek it but cannot find it.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require..." -Micah 6:8
Lesson 3 Required Reading: Micah Chapters 1-7.
Micah prophesied in Judah during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (about 750–700 b.c.), at about the same time as Isaiah. It was a time of prosperity, and Micah denounced the wealthy, who were oppressing the poor, and warned of impending judgment. The northern kingdom actually fell during Micah’s ministry, in 722, and Judah almost fell in 701 (2 Kings 18–20). The book contains three sections, which alternate between words of warning and messages of hope. Micah told of a day when there would be peace among all nations, who would then be able to “beat their swords into plowshares” (4:3), and of a royal deliverer who would save God’s people from all her enemies. This deliverer would be born in Bethlehem (5:2).
Micah writes in order to bring God’s “lawsuit” against his people (3:8). He indicts Samaria and Jerusalem for their sins (1:2–7), with both Assyria (5:5–6) and Babylon (4:10) looming as instruments of the divine sentence.
Free from Assyrian interference in the first half of the eighth century, the reigns of Jeroboam II of Israel (782–753 b.c.) and the Judean kings Uzziah and Jotham witnessed the emergence of a wealthy upper class. Yet this brought with it significant corruption. As Amos had condemned the economic and legal injustices prevalent in the northern kingdom in the first half of the eighth century (Amos 2:6–7; 5:10–12; 6:4–5), so Micah catalogs specific sins of both the northern and southern kingdoms. These sins included idolatry (Mic. 1:7; 5:12–14); the seizure of property (2:2, 9); the failure of civil leadership (3:1–3, 9–10; 7:3), religious leadership (3:11), and prophetic leadership (3:5–7, 11); the belief that personal sacrifice satisfies divine justice (6:6–7); and corrupt business practices and violence (6:10–12).
The reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, along with the increasing threat of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, provide the broad background for Micah. First, Ahaz stands out among the three Judean kings for his idolatry (2 Kings 16:1–4; Mic. 6:16) as well as for the help he sought from the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (745–727 b.c.) in the face of Syro-Ephraimite aggression against Jerusalem (2 Kings 16:5–9; 2 Chron. 28:16–21). Second, Samaria, the northern Israelite capital, experienced exile as it fell (2 Kings 17; Mic. 1:6–7) to the Assyrian Shalmaneser V (727–722 b.c.). Finally, Sennacherib (705–681 b.c.) captured numerous cities and villages of the Shephelah controlled by Hezekiah (1:10–16), but ultimately failed to capture Jerusalem in 701 (2 Kings 18:13–19:37).
Micah Prophesies Destruction
Micah foretold the destruction that awaited Jerusalem and the towns that guarded the approach to the city. Though these towns lay to the southwest of Jerusalem, they lay along the route normally traveled by invading forces from the north, who typically followed the Great Trunk Road south until they reached Gath.
I. Introduction (1:1)
II. The Announcement of Judgment on Israel and Judah (1:2–2:13)
A. God’s punishment of Samaria and Judah (1:2–16)
1. Judgment on Samaria (1:2–7)
2. Judgment on Judah (1:8–16)
B. Abuses and abusers of the Lord’s land (2:1–11)
1. Indictment and future punishment (2:1–5)
2. Rejection of the prophetic word (2:6–11)
C. The divine promise to gather Jacob (2:12–13)
III. The Present Injustice and the Future Prospect of Just Rule in Jerusalem (3:1–5:15)
A. Present leaders denounced (3:1–12)
1. Judgment against the heads of Jacob (3:1–4)
2. Judgment against the prophets (3:5–8)
3. Judgment against the heads of Jacob (3:9–12)
B. Jerusalem’s restoration among the nations—promised (4:1–7)
1. Nations approach Zion in peace (4:1–5)
2. Divine promise to gather Zion (4:6–7)
C. Jerusalem’s restoration among the nations—accomplished (4:8–5:15)
1. Restoration of Zion’s dominion (4:8)
2. Nations approach Zion for battle (4:9–13)
3. The Shepherd-King arrives and the remnant is restored (5:1–15)
IV. The Lord’s Indictment and Restoration of His People (6:1–7:20)
A. Israel accused: covenant violation (6:1–8)
1. The prophetic summons (6:1–2)
2. Divine interrogation and saving acts (6:3–5)
3. People’s response and prophetic reply (6:6–8)
B. Crisis in relationship (6:9–7:7)
1. Divine indictment of treachery (6:9–12)
2. Divine sentence for treachery (6:13–16)
3. Consequences of disobedience: social upheaval (7:1–7)
4. Zion’s repentance and renewed faith in God’s help (7:8–13)
5. Restoration of the relationship between Israel and God (7:14–20)
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require…”
Do Justice. Justice is a concern to act rightly, and to be seen by others to act rightly. Divine justice embraces every aspect of the right ordering of human society according to the will of God, its creator.
God created the world in justice, and expects that his creatures will deal fairly and justly with one another as a result. Sin brings injustice into the world, by disrupting the justice established by God at creation. As a result, human justice often falls short of God’s standards.
God requires justice to be evident in the lives of his people. Through justification in Christ, believers are granted the status of being righteous in his sight, and are called upon to live out that righteousness in their lives.
God’s Concern For Justice
Consider the following passages of Scriptures. Explain How God Shows concern for justice.
1) Exodus 23:1-9. ____________________________________________________________
2) Jeremiah 22:3-5 ___________________________________________________________
3) Proverbs 21:3 _____________________________________________________________
Being Just. Identify Where God Expects us to be just.
1) Col 3:18-21 ______________________________________________________________
2) Isaiah 1:16-17 ____________________________________________________________
3) Leviticus 19:35-36; Col 4:1 __________________________________________________
4) 2 Chronicles 19:4-7 ________________________________________________________
5) James 2:1-12 _____________________________________________________________
Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice? -Micah 3:1. According to Micah chapter 2, how did the leaders of Israel and Judah show injustice to their people?
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require…”
Love Kindness (Mercy). Is the quality of compassion and generosity. It is self-less service. Kindness is characteristic of God’s dealings towards sinners, the weak and poor, (Lk 6:35; Acts 14:15-17) and is demanded of believers. Kindness is also shown in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.
As the people of God today, we have the same responsibility to manifest God’s justice and mercy as did Judah and Israel in Micah’s day. Christ died for us so that by His Spirit we may live for Him, practicing justice and mercy (see Rom. 8 & Gal. 5). As we walk by the Spirit to do this, we will become more like our Lord Himself and more like what He intended His human creations to look like—a new humanity experiencing life in its fullest possibility as we assimilate more and more the divine characteristics of justice and mercy.
What do the passages below say about the Christian and kindness?
1) 1 Cor 13:4 ________________________________________________________________
2) Gal 5:22-23 _______________________________________________________________
3) Eph 4:32 _________________________________________________________________
4) Col 3:12 __________________________________________________________________
5) 1 Thes 5:15 _______________________________________________________________
6) 2 Tim 2:24 ________________________________________________________________
7) Titus 2:3-5 ________________________________________________________________
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require…”
Walk Humbly with God. Humility is an attitude of lowliness and obedience, grounded in the recognition of one’s status before God as his creatures. Pride is the opposite. Pride is Arrogance or delusions of greatness on account of one’s achievements, status or possessions. A proud heart is hardened and stubborn. But a humble heart is open and willing to listen and obey God. Scripture frequently speaks of God humbling the proud (2 Sam 22:28).
Why Should We Walk Humbly With God?
1) Psa 18:27. ________________________________________________________________
2) Prov 22:4. ________________________________________________________________
3) 2 Chr 7:14. _______________________________________________________________
4) Isa 57:15. ________________________________________________________________
5) 1 Pet 5:6. _________________________________________________________________
How Were They Humble?
1) Joseph (Gen 41:15-16) ______________________________________________________
2) David (2 Sam 7:15-18) _______________________________________________________
3) John the Baptizer (Mat 3:13-15) _______________________________________________
4) The Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14) ________________________________________________
5) Jesus (Jn 13:1-17) __________________________________________________________
Key Lessons From Micah
1) The roots of pure religion are found in one’s attitude and in his service.
2) A pure nation can only be obtained when we have pure religion within the individuals.
3) The God we serve is Holy and Righteous.
4) The Lord will not tolerate continual rebellion.
5) The Lord is merciful and willing to forgive the penitent.
6) God’s Word is intended to work “good” whether it be in the form of chastening to bring
About repentance or in the form of exhortation to encourage.
7) The Lord will reject any and all who ignore his Word.
“I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD" -Hosea 2:20.
Lesson 3 Required Reading: Hosea Chapters 1-14.
Hosea has been called the “death-bed prophet of Israel” because he was the last to prophesy before the northern kingdom fell to Assyria (about 722 b.c.). His ministry followed a golden age in the northern kingdom, with a peace and prosperity not seen since the days of Solomon. Unfortunately, with this prosperity came moral decay, and Israel forsook God to worship idols. So God instructed Hosea to marry a “wife of whoredom” (1:2), whose unfaithfulness to her husband would serve as an example of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. Hosea then explained God’s complaint against Israel and warned of the punishment that would come unless the people returned to the Lord and remained faithful to Him. The book shows the depth of God’s love for His people, a love that tolerates no rivals.
The purpose, occasion, and background of Hosea all work in tandem. They pertain to the latter half of the eighth century b.c., certain aspects of Baalism, and the ideology of the prophet Hosea.
The latter days of the eighth century b.c. witnessed the rise of the neo-Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (745–727). He was followed by several capable kings who extended Assyrian dominance over the entire ancient Near East (eventually including Egypt) for more than a century. Particularly relevant to Hosea were at least six incursions into Palestine and its neighbors by an unstoppable Assyrian army during the prophet’s lifetime. Conquest and exile were the most dreaded fate in biblical times. This perennial threat hanging over Israel (specifically the northern kingdom) came with a time of unparalleled political upheaval and instability. The nation had six kings within about 30 years, a period filled with intrigue and violence. Zechariah (753 b.c.) was murdered after only six months in power. The usurper, Shallum, was assassinated one month later. The next king, Menahem (752–742 b.c.) survived for a decade only by paying a burdensome tribute to Tiglath-pileser. His son, Pekahiah (742–740 b.c.), was assassinated by an army officer, Pekah (740–732), after only two years’ reign. Subsequently, Pekah was disposed of by Hoshea, whose rebellion against the Assyrians led to the end of the northern kingdom (732–722 b.c.).
Within this chaotic 30-year period, external conflicts and failures of international diplomacy repeatedly proved disastrous. These times are reflected in Hosea, whose primary audience was Ephraim (the northern kingdom, Israel), mentioned 35 times in the book. As Hosea reflects these times, it is often difficult to be sure just what specific historical reference he has in mind. Although there is a range of suggestions regarding different passages, most lack consensus. The prophet’s messages, however, are not tarnished by the reader’s inability to tie down all of the details. His priority was to see Israel turn back to God.
Hosea’s major concern was the worship of Baal—an apostasy that he understood to be the reason for Israel’s dilemma. Baal was the weather-god worshiped in Syria-Palestine, who had control over agriculture and fertility, rainfall and productivity. Since ancient Israel was always an agricultural society, Baal worship was of unrivaled importance. Baal was localized at different shrines identified by such names as Baal-peor (9:10) and Baal-gad (Josh. 11:17) and hence was sometimes referred to as the Baals (Judg. 2:11; 3:7; 8:33).
While a full description of this religion is not possible here, one major aspect of Baalism touches on this prophet’s message: the religion’s appeal to human sexuality (cf. Isa. 57:3–10). Other aspects—such as drunkenness, bestiality, human sacrifice, mutilations, and incest—may be discerned in the book, but Hosea understands the strength of Baalism’s appeal to the sex drive by way of ritual prostitution.
This amounted to sexual intimacy at one of the pagan shrines, understood most probably as an act of imitative magic. That is, sexual behavior at these shrines was expected to cause the Baals to respond in like manner—to follow the worshipers by producing for them fertile seed and rain for a good crop. This intimacy took place with cult prostitutes (Hos. 4:14). When a worshiper selected a prostitute, he prayed, “I beseech the goddess of Astarte to favor you and Baal to favor me.” There was also eating and drinking at shrines as an act of worship.
Hosea’s approach is dominated by his knowledge that God’s people have been joined to the Lord. Hosea makes a number of references to Israel’s past to remind them of that. Israel is the Lord’s bride, but Israel has instead become joined to the Baals. Worship of Baal is not just a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3), it is a betrayal of that intimate and endearing union that God made with His people. Idolatry, therefore, is depicted as spiritual adultery, transgression against the marriage between the Lord and Israel (cf. Ex. 34:11–16; Lev. 17:7; 20:4–6; Deut. 31:16). The prophet justifies the Lord’s coming judgments with a litany of offenses that amount to the radical ingratitude of a wayward wife. But punishment is not ultimately what the Lord wants for His people; He desires that they leave their fornication and return to the One who first loved them and can indeed provide what is for their best.
The book of Hosea does not lend itself easily to an outline, except in the broadest way. Chapters 1–3 use Hosea’s own marriage as a parable for the relationship between God and Israel—with the dominant image of Israel as an unfaithful wife. Then chapters 4–14 spell out the details of the parable, with its series of accusations, warnings, appeals, and enticements for God’s people to return. These occur in a maze of various literary forms that do not lend themselves to simple categories.
I. Biographical: Hosea’s Family (1:1–3:5)
A. Introduction (1:1)
B. Command to marry (1:2)
C. Birth of children (1:3–9)
D. Covenant renewal at Jezreel (1:10–11)
E. Legal proceedings against the wayward wife (2:1–13)
F. Covenant relationship reestablished (2:14–23)
G. Command to remarry, with the expectation of a king like David (3:1–5)
II. Hosea Spells Out His Parable with Accusations, Warnings, and Promises (4:1–14:9)
A. Legal proceedings continued (4:1–19)
B. Adultery in high places (5:1–14)
C. Appeal: return and be raised (5:15–6:3)
D. Transgressors of the covenant (6:4–7:3)
E. Four similes for unfaithful Israel: oven, cake, dove, treacherous bow (7:4–16)
F. Israel’s hypocrisy (8:1–14)
G. Warnings: no worship in a foreign land (9:1–9)
H. More similes for unfaithful Israel: grapes, vine, calf, toddler (9:10–11:11)
I. Dependence on alliances (11:12–12:1)
J. Further indictment based on historical review (12:2–14)
K. Worship of man-made gods (13:1–8)
L. Rejecting the only hope they have (13:9–16)
M. Closing appeals (14:1–9)
The Near East at the Time of Hosea
Hosea prophesied to Israel and Judah during the decades surrounding the fall of Samaria to the Assyrian Empire. The resurgence of this ancient empire dominated much of the politics of the ancient Near East from the time of Jeroboam and Azariah until the empire’s demise at the end of the sixth century b.c. Assyria would eventually engulf nearly the entire Near East from Ur to Ararat to Egypt.
“I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.
And you shall know the LORD."
Faithfulness is a commitment to a relationship with God or fellow human beings; seen in that loyalty, devotion and service which is a reflection of God’s own faithfulness. Scripture points to the faithfulness of Jesus Christ as the ultimate example for Christians.
God’s covenant with his people requires faithfulness. Read each passage of Scripture below. List the benefits and blessings of keeping a faithful covenant with God.
1) Exodus 19:5 (compare with 1 Pet 2:9.) _________________________________________
2) Deuteronomy 5:32-33. ______________________________________________________
1 Sam 26:23. _______________________________________________________________
3) 1 Kings 2:3. ______________________________________________________________
4) Psalm 31:23. _____________________________________________________________
What human relationship is faithfulness to God likened to?
(Isa 54:5; Eze 16:8; Hosea 2:19-20). ____________________________________________
God's Faithfulness. What does each verse say about God's faithfulness?
1) Ex 34:6. _________________________________________________________________
2) Num 23:19. _______________________________________________________________
3) Deut 7:8-9. _______________________________________________________________
4) Joshua 23:14. _____________________________________________________________
5) Lam 3:22-23. ______________________________________________________________
Faithfulness is seen as steadfast commitment to God. How can we be faithful to God?
1) Deut 11:13. ______________________________________________________________
2) 1 Sam 12:24. _____________________________________________________________
3) 2 Chr 31:12 (compare w/ 1 Cor 16:1-2). ________________________________________
4) 1 Thes 5:17. _____________________________________________________________
5) Heb 10:25. ______________________________________________________________
5) Heb 10:36. ______________________________________________________________
Who Was Faithful? Identify those who show loyalty, reliability and devotion in their relationships with God and others.
1) Num 14:22-24. ___________________________________________________________
2) 1 Kings 19:9-10. __________________________________________________________
3) Nehemiah 9:7-8. __________________________________________________________
4) Dan 6:4. ________________________________________________________________
5) 1 Cor 4:16-17. ___________________________________________________________
6) 1 Tim 1:12. ______________________________________________________________
7) Heb 3:4-5. _______________________________________________________________
8) 1 Pet 5:12. ______________________________________________________________
Unless a person enjoys misery, anyone in a marriage relationship seeks to enhance the relationship. In the book of Hosea and in the New Testament, the
relationship between God and His people is described as a marriage relationship. God Himself has secured this relationship forever against anything that could break it, but He wants us to experience the wonderful life that comes when this relationship grows deeper.
Every Christian struggles to some degree with living as a faithful relationship partner with God should live. We must all resolve to maintain a solid relationship with the Lord.
1) Are any of us faithful? Even when we feel closest to God, are our hearts entirely devoted to Him? How would you evaluate your own consistency in your relationship with God? Would your spouse let you get away with the lack of attention and care that you give God?
2) Is our Lord ever unfaithful? Do you live as though you doubt his faithfulness? What are you looking at for your security in your relationship with God, your own faithfulness or Jesus’?
3) Are we trying to become more like our faithful Lord, with the strength He Himself provides by His Spirit? (Eph. 3:14-20). What should motivate us to deepen our relationship with God?
Key Lessons From Hosea
1) It is vital that God’s people have a knowledge of him and his Word.
2) Marriage is a relationship that is to be honored and kept pure.
3) Sin destroys one’s ability to think and act morally.
4) Unfaithfulness is the starting point for all other sinful behavior.
5) Internal corruption is more dangerous than external enemies.
6) Righteousness, Justice, Lovingkindness, Humility, Faithfulness describe the proper
characteristics of our spiritual relationship with God.
7) God’s love for mankind is great—but it can be refused.
"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. -Nahum 1:3
Lesson 5 Required Reading: Nahum Chapters 1-3.
When Jonah preached repentance on the streets of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, the people responded and were spared. A century later, sometime between 664 and 612 b.c., Nahum preached in a time when Nineveh would not repent. Nineveh, which had destroyed Israel’s northern kingdom in 722, itself fell to Babylon in 612—just a few years after Nahum’s warning. The Assyrians were notorious for the brutality of their treatment of other nations. Nahum declared, however, that God is sovereign: He punishes whom he will, and they are powerless to stop him. Much of Nahum’s prophecy was directed to the people of Judah, who could rejoice at the good news (1:15) of Nineveh’s impending fall.
Nahum was God’s messenger to announce the fall of Nineveh and the complete overthrow of Assyria. This coming judgment from the Lord was certain and irrevocable, as was Obadiah’s message concerning Edom.
Nahum’s book is a sequel to, and a dramatic contrast with, the book of Jonah. Jonah’s mission to Nineveh was probably sometime in the first half of the eighth century b.c. He was to warn that large city of God’s impending judgment because of Nineveh’s wickedness. To Jonah’s dismay, the Ninevites heeded his message, repented, and were spared God’s judgment. This repentance, however, did not last beyond 745 b.c., when Tiglath-pileser III (745–728/727) made his people the leading military power in the Near East. The vast Assyrian Empire was established by bloodshed and massacre, cruelty and torture, destruction, plundering, and exiling such as has seldom been seen in history. After several campaigns, Tiglath-pileser greatly enlarged the territory paying him homage with annexed land and vassal kingdoms, including the northern kingdom of Israel (reduced in size by the Assyrians) and the southern kingdom of Judah. Succeeding rulers maintained and expanded this empire. In 722 b.c. the Assyrians brought to an end the northern kingdom of Israel.
Sennacherib (reigned 704–681 b.c.) made Nineveh the capital of his kingdom (c. 700). His energetic building program included a splendid palace, water-supply and water-control projects, and a massive wall to surround the expanded city. Nineveh was destroyed in 612 b.c., never to be restored, marking the end of Assyria. A small remnant of Assyrians did escape the city, fleeing to Haran and making Ashur-uballit II “king of Assyria.” In 610 b.c., though, Haran fell to the Babylonians and their allies. Ashur-uballit retreated, but in 609 b.c., with Egyptian help, he tried to recapture Haran. That attempt failed, and Ashur-uballit and the Assyrians disappeared from history.
The prophetic book of Nahum consists entirely of oracles of judgment, with no oracles of redemption or blessing, though a future restoration of Judah is indicated in passing. The second half of the book includes taunts, pronouncements of woe (sometimes called “the woe formula”), and vivid narratives of destruction. In a sense, the whole book is an extended taunt. Since the imagery and motifs are consistently military in reference (with God pictured as a divine warrior), the book can be considered war poetry.
The book of Nahum is constructed on a simple two-part plan. Chapter 1 is a prelude to battle. Chapters 2–3 move from preview to actual battle, pictured as a series of oracles of judgment against Nineveh and vivid pictures of her destruction (narrated as if by an eyewitness reporter).
The Near East at the Time of Nahum
Nahum likely prophesied sometime between the zenith of Assyria’s power around 664 b.c. and the fall of Nineveh in 612. During this time the Assyrian Empire was in decline as Egypt, Judah, and Babylonia (with the help of the Medes) regained autonomy and eroded the power of Assyria. Nahum foretold of the fall of Nineveh, the capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire.
I. Introduction (1:1)
II. A Psalm Descriptively Praising the Lord (1:2–8)
A. The Lord takes vengeance on his guilty adversaries (1:2–3a)
B. The Lord rules creation in majesty, and no one can stand before his wrath (1:3b–6)
C. The Lord delivers those who take refuge in him (1:7)
D. The Lord destroys his adversaries (1:8)
III. The Lord’s Coming Judgment on Nineveh and Deliverance of Judah (1:9–15)
A. The destruction of wicked, plotting Nineveh (1:9–12a)
B. Judah, having been afflicted by the Lord, is freed from Assyrian bondage (1:12b–13)
C. The termination of vile, idolatrous Nineveh (1:14)
D. Peace and deliverance for Judah (1:15)
IV. Focus on Nineveh: The Lord’s Coming Judgment (2:1–13)
A. The beginning of the attack on Nineveh (2:1)
B. Reasons for judgment: the Assyrians’ plundering of Judah, though Judah’s restoration by God is
C. Attacking soldiers and military action at Nineveh (2:3–5)
D. The fall and plundering of Nineveh (2:6–9)
E. A taunting song portraying Nineveh’s destruction because of the city’s lust for conquest (2:10–12)
F. The Lord speaks a word of judgment (2:13)
V. Again, Focus on Nineveh: More concerning the Lord’s Coming Judgment (3:1–19)
A. Reasons for judgment: the violence, lying, and greed of Nineveh (3:1)
B. Military action at Nineveh and the ensuing slaughter of the Assyrians (3:2–3)
C. Reasons for judgment: the wickedness of Nineveh (3:4)
D. The Lord speaks a word of judgment (3:5–7)
E. Comparison with the conquest of Thebes (3:8–11)
F. A taunting song presenting Nineveh’s inevitable destruction because of the city’s incessant evil
“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. ”
Justice. God’s commands and judgments meet perfect standards of justice, and his apportioning of punishments and rewards is also perfectly just. God’s justice is impartial.
Judgment. God judges the world by identifying and condemning sin and by vindicating and rewarding the righteous. God exercises temporal judgment on the world and on his people; final judgment will take place when Jesus Christ returns.
How is God’s Justice Described?
1) Deut 10:17. ______________________________________________________________
2) Jere 11:11 ______________________________________________________________
3) Heb 4:13. _______________________________________________________________
The Purpose of God’s Justice. Read The following Scriptures. Can you identify the purpose of God’s justice and Judgment by unscrambling the words below?
1) (Ex 14:4) To display his olyrg. ______________________.
2) (Ps 7:8-9) To ecidnivat ________________ the righteous.
3) (Ps 140:12) To fneedd _________________ the weak.
4) (Ex 6:6) To bring tavalsoni ________________ to his people.
5) (Rom 2:12,16) To hunsip _________________ sinners.
6) (2 Chr 7:13-14) To nutr _________________ people to God.
Why Did They Receive God’s Judgment?
1) Gen 4:10-14 ____________________________________________________________
2) Num 20:12 _____________________________________________________________
3) Lev 10:1-2 _____________________________________________________________
4) 2 Sam 6:6-8 ___________________________________________________________
5) 2 Chr 21:8-19 __________________________________________________________
5) Acts 5:1-10 ____________________________________________________________
6) Acts 12:20-23 _________________________________________________________
“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. ”
The Final Judgment of God. What do these Scriptures teach us about God’s final judgment?
1) Matthew 12:36 ____________________________________________________________
2) Matthew 25:31-32 __________________________________________________________
3) John 5:28-29 _____________________________________________________________
4) Acts 17:30-31 _____________________________________________________________
5) Romans 2:6-11 ____________________________________________________________
6) Romans 14:10-12 __________________________________________________________
7) 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 _______________________________________________________
8) Hebrews 4:13 _____________________________________________________________
The book of Nahum is an uncomfortable book to read. Readings from Nahum are not even included in some schedules of Scripture passages to be read regularly in churches. We don’t like to hear about judgment. But without a deep appreciation of judgment, salvation is meaningless. Who needs salvation if there is nothing to be saved from? By reading about the judgment that will surely come against the enemies of God and his people, we understand more fully what Jesus has saved us from by bearing the judgment for us.
1) If you had only one day left to live, (Heb 9:27) what would you do? What does your answer tell you about where your priorities lie? Do you believe that real fulfillment in life comes from doing what God wants you to do or what you want to do? (Answer truthfully).
2) Why should God not judge us for our offenses against him? How are Nineveh’s sins like ours before we were Christians? What are the opposites of Nineveh’s sins that we can see in the life of our Lord and, hopefully, increasingly in our own lives?
3) Who ultimately calls the shots in our lives? Is our professed submission to God observable in our treatment of others? Do we rely on God’s strength or our own? How might the way we are living as Christians indicate how we regard the return of the one who will judge the living and the dead?
Key Lessons From Nahum
1) The Lord rules in the kingdoms of men.
2) A correct view of the Lord is essential.
3) There is no place of safety when the Lord determines to punish the wicked.
4) There is an end to the Patience of the Lord.
5) The wages of sins is death.