This week we’ll get to read through several of the Minor Prophets. Do you remember Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel? Those were Major Prophets.
As you read through the Minor Prophets, don’t be deceived into thinking that their messages are not as significant to the overall story of the Bible. They’re messages are still given by God, important for our understanding of faith, and crucial to explaining God’s interactions with his people over time. They are simply called minor because they’re shorter. So while we spent the month of September in Isaiah, we’ll spend a day or two in Joel, Obadiah, Habbakuk, etc.
For a one sentence description of each Minor Prophets’ message, check out Bible.org.
No child enjoys discipline, this is often why parents avoid it. We want our children to like us, but today’s proverb, like many others, reminds us that this isn’t the goal of parenting. It benefits our children when we discipline them. When we ignore or refuse that responsibility, we tend to cripple them for later in life.
- 1-15 – These verses are God explaining the wrongdoing of Israel and the subsequent punishment. It’s reminiscent of a parent saying, “Because you hit your sister, you have to sit in timeout.”
- 1-3 – Like in other books, God points out how ridiculous it is to worship things we make ourselves.
- 8-9 – God recognizes that some people will hear his words and repent while others will hear them and keep on sinning. He affirms those who will listen.
- 5-7 – Jesus came to save us all, but if we deny opportunities for salvation, our alternative is punishment.
- 17-23 – Clearly the recipients of the book of Jude were surrounded by unfaithful people, but this letter is intended to encourage them to remain faithful.
- 3-5 – Children were considered a sign of great favor and blessing from God.
- 15-17 – Discipline for children is highly valued throughout the proverbs.
Like the minor prophets, the Johns are short books. Don’t make the mistake of skimming over them or discounting them because of their size. There is obviously a reason they were included and more words doesn’t always mean more important. So take the time to think on the 15 verses of 3 John today. See what you learn.
- 4-11 – Judah and Israel are unrepentant and fickle. God reflects that they act as if they love him, but that love only remains for a short time.
- 1-16 – This continues God’s lament over the Israelites’ continual choice not to repent.
- 1-14 – God is promising that Israel and Judah will reap what they sow. They continue to live unfaithfully and will soon receive what they’re asking for.
- 1-17 – Though painful to read, this section assures that Israel will be punished. Verse 17, in particular, confirms the rejection of Israel. We cannot expect to sin over and over and never face a consequence.
3 John 1-15:
- 5-8 – This section is encouraging all churches who followed John to accept and be open to traveling pastors and evangelists so they can all work within the same cause.
- 11 – The author has already explained what to do and then given an example of what not to do. This simply sums up that we should imitate the former.
- 1-3 – When the Lord does great things for us, others notice it and are changed when we choose to accept his blessings.
- 12 – If leaders give their subordinates an opportunity to be unfaithful, they will often accept.
There was a book written a while back called “The Five Love Languages”. It narrows showing and receiving love down into five categories and says that we all fall into some combination of them. Our 2 John reading today might disagree slightly because it states that the church can show God love through obedience to his commandments. When we love God, we follow his commands.
- 1-19 – Hosea, the prophet, presents God’s “case” against Israel. This is explaining the different ways they have broken their covenant with God. One major accusation is against the priests.
- 1-15 – This section explains God’s coming punishment on Israel and Judah. In the final verse God promises to still be available when they return to him.
2 John 1-13:
- 1- The “elect lady” is most likely referring to the church.
- 5-6 – The author reminds the church that they have received God’s commandments and can show their love for God by following those commands.
- 4-5 – The psalmist, here, seems to assume that the Israelites will fall in the category of the upright because he is quick to ask for punishment on the wicked and blessing on the righteous.
- 11- Over and over in the proverbs restraint is valued. Wisdom is knowing when to act or speak and when to refrain.
If you want to know just how far God will go to remain faithful to and pursue restoration with us, read Hosea. God is faithful even when we are not.
Today we start Hosea. It is a fascinating book where Hosea is a model of faithfulness to God. Can you imagine being asked to marry someone you knew was going to cheat on you to help God paint a picture? I’m not sure I’m strong enough. But Hosea was faithful even though Gomer would never be. What are the limits to your faithfulness?
- 1-3 – God uses Hosea’s life as a microcosm of how Israel had treated God. Just as Israel was unfaithful to God, Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea.
- 4-9 – The children of Hosea and Gomer also each represented a portion of Israel’s relationship to God.
- 1-15 – This is an explanation of the punishment Israel will receive for its unfaithfulness.
- 16-23 – This section describes how it will be when the Israelites are restored to God.
1 John 5:1-21:
- 3 – This is powerful because often we feel that if we obey God our lives will be boring and lifeless, but this reminds us that following God’s commands is actually beneficial and freeing for us.
- 13-15 – When we believe in Christ, we receive eternal life. We also have a connection with him so that he hears our prayers.
- 18 – When we accept Christ we are to be transformed, which means we change and leave behind sins and walk towards righteousness. This, of course, is a process.
- 1-8 – The psalmist gives credit to God for protecting the Israelites and realizes that they would not have succeeded without the help of God.
- 6 – This verse depicts the weight of sin and the freedom in righteousness.