This week we are working our way through the Old Testament Bible divisions in order to get a clearer picture of God’s whole story unfolding. I apologize for not getting it sent out every day as planned. It’s been a full week getting ready for FUEL 2018!! I can’t wait to see some of you very shortly! But, for now – we will finish up our overview of the Old Testament Bible divisions. 5, 12, 5, 5, 12 comes in handy to remember the number of books in each division.
5 books of LAW – Beginnings…leading up to the Exodus, and the law
12 books of HISTORY – Israel’s history – into the Promised Land, kings, exile, and return
5 books of POETRY – Praising & trusting God, wisdom explained and other deep thoughts
5 books of MAJOR PROPHETS – Speaking for God, even in difficult times
12 books of MINOR PROPHETS – Still speaking – Still important — but not as much written down . (these books are just shorter than the major prophets)
So in this devotion we will take a look at the 17 books of prophecy. Sometimes prophecy is understood as just foretelling the future. These books do indeed do that. But the whole definition of Prophet is larger than that – it is the act of someone speaking for – in this case – God Almighty.
Sometimes it is exciting speaking for God – especially when exciting things are coming. It is exciting telling people that God is love and He sent His Son for our salvation and Jesus will come again to set up a Kingdom on Earth. But, sometimes when God would have his prophets speak, there are some pretty big storm clouds rolling in – often because of the sinful disobedience of his people. In many of these books of prophecy the chosen prophet has the job of warning the backsliding nation of destruction and exile coming their way because they did not repent and turn from their ungodly ways. The prophet tells them the price that will be paid for their selfish and worldly decision. AND – the prophet also often gets to tell what is beyond the storm clouds – what will happen to those who remain faithful or those who go through the exile – what blessings come after the storm.
In the New Testament Peter does a great job explaining the role of the prophet: “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
So many times we think we want God to speak to us in an audible voice – if only we could hear what He wants us to do, we think. And yet, we ignore what He has spoken through the prophets. If you are ready to listen to God – open your Bible! Here’s just a little bit about what you will find from God in the books of Prophecy.
5 Books of MAJOR PROPHETS
ISAIAH – A Coming Messiah Will Save from Sins
Called the 5th Gospel because it includes so much about the Coming Messiah – Jesus
JEREMIAH – God is Just and Must Punish Sin
Jeremiah (along with King Josiah) urged people to repent – he was persecuted under King Jehoiakim, then he witnessed fall of Jerusalem with King Zedekiah
LAMENTATIONS – Jeremiah Cries over Jerusalem’s Fall
The weeping prophet, Jeremiah, writes this poem as he watches Jerusalem be destroyed by the Babylonians – exactly as he had prophesied for God
EZEKIEL – Visions and Symbolism of a Sovereign God
Ezekiel was called to be a watchman – to warn of coming judgments, and then consolation – visions of the valley of dry bones
DANIEL – Dare to be a Follower of God
Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego remain loyal to God while exiled in a foreign land – Final 6 chapters include “End Times” prophesies
12 Books of MINOR PROPHETS
HOSEA – God’s Undying Love and Faithfulness -Hosea marries Gomer the prostitute
JOEL – Plague of Locusts Warn of God’s Coming Judgment
AMOS – God’s Judgment on Injustice
OBADIAH – Edom will be Judged (only 21 verses)
JONAH – God’s Prophet Speaks to Ninevah – Eventually, after the help of a storm and great fish
MICAH – Idolatry and Injustice Will Bring Suffering
NAHUM – Ninevah Revisited
HABAKKUK – It’s Not Fair – But Have Faith – God Answers Habakkuk’s questions
ZEPHANIAH – Warnings and a Future Hope
HAGGAI – Put God’s Work First
ZECHARIAH – Rebuild and Get Ready for the Messiah
MALACHI – My Messenger
Many of the prophecies in these books have already come true – and some we can see taking shape today – and some are still in the future. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament of a savior for the world – and a Coming Kingdom. We can be sure this book (The whole Bible) is reliable and true and oh so worthy of our time, respect, study and love. It is God speaking to you – and to me. To love Him is to love His Words. If you are ready to love God – get IN HIS WORD!
(Thank you for reading this week as we discussed the Old Testament. This coming week we have the pleasure of having devotions with Aaron Winner on the theme for FUEL 2018 – MISSION. After that, we will discuss an overview of the New Testament. Stay in His Word!)