Nahum prophesies the destruction of Nineveh and the Assyrians and comforts God's people that He is in control, that He is good and is our protection. This is a comforting assurance that the LORD is our refuge and strength through the troubles of this life. Our summary verse is from Nahum 1:7: “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” – (NKJV)
Micah prophesied during the time of the Assyrian. It was a time of a crumbling nation, and crumbling faith. He makes strong judgments, strong promises, and strong pleas toward repentance. Our summary verse is from Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” – (NKJV) Note the verbs of vocation: Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Strength comes from our LORD and Savior!
Isaiah is the longest prophetic work in the Old Testament. He condemns the externalism of the people, but he also proclaims a message of hope. Jesus is found in many beautiful pictures in Isaiah. Our summary verse is from Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – (NKJV) Why this Christmas text? Because Isaiah points to the promised Child Who fulfills God's promises and the One who takes us from the Garden of Eden to Garden of Gethsemane.
Hosea prophesied to Israel during its final and very tumultuous years. Hosea speaks out against idolatry which he compared to spiritual adultery. We see Christ in the faithful Husband who loves His wife (the Church) as pictured in Hosea's relationship with Gomer. Our summary verse is from Hosea 6:6: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” – (NKJV)
Amos was sent by God from Judah to Israel to declare God's judgment on those who rejected Him: Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and finally Israel. They were prosperous, but they forsook the LORD. Amos reminds us that the LORD alone is God and is to be worship. Our summary verse is from Amos 4:13: “For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth — The LORD God of hosts is His name.” – (NKJV)
Jonah is one of the more familiar prophets of the Old Testament, but was not the best example. He is often called the reluctant prophet, because he didn't want to go to Nineveh where the LORD sent him. So what can we learn from this reluctant missionary? First, that God desires the salvation of all people. Second that we are not to determine if someone is worthy of the Gospel, but to preach the word and let the Spirit do the work. Our summary verse is from Jonah 4:2: “I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness.” – (NKJV)
The prophet Joel was sent to proclaim God's judgment upon His Old Testament people for their idolatry. He predicts a "locust" plague that will devastate the nation. But with the judgment the LORD also offers an invitation and a call to repentance to His sinful people. Our summary verse is from Joel 2:32: “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” – (NKJV)
The prophet Obadiah was sent to the foreign nation of Edom to announce God's judgment on them because of their wickedness toward Israel and Judah. This points us to the final day of Judgment which is coming for all of us. This serves as a warning to us in our day as well. Our summary verse is from Obadiah 1:15: ““As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” – (ESV)