By Elder Chad Gramling
Minor Prophets Pleading for Truth Yesterday and Today
The Minor Prophets provide a great example of seeing God’s story always unfolding. In our Adult Sunday School Bible Studies, we found there is a lot of application for today’s world and key lessons we should take to heart. With their ministries taking place between 760 and 400 B.C., it means the world had not yet physically seen Jesus. However, in addition to getting a glimpse of a world BEFORE Jesus, we also see a world that is WITHOUT Jesus.
That frightens us. But it also emboldens us.
The Minor Prophets During Desperate Times
If someone asked me to give them a quick answer as to who the Minor Prophets were and what they represented, I would say they were a collective of the most faithful believers during desperate times. They risked much to follow God’s prompting. Some even left their homes to minister to people who might or might not be accepting of the message (they usually weren’t and tried to get the prophets to just go away).
The prophets all made a common call for repentance. Israel’s sins, after all, were legion; oppressing the poor, corrupt leadership, relentless pursuit of worldly pleasures, worshipping idols, hypocrisy and covetousness as well as following the misguidance of false prophets. The plea of the biblical prophets was urgent, reminding the world that repenting is not a “when I get to it” or “yeah, whatever” matter.
As the Minor Prophets conveyed, and as so many people eventually found out, complacency toward God is sinful and destructive. This is quite clear in Haggai as he encourages the remnant’s rebuilding of the temple despite their constant excuses and procrastination.
The simple lesson here: We must make time for God, for it is in God we have hope.
God’s People in Desperate Times
Just as the Minor Prophets were in their time, WE must be a collective of the most faithful believers during OUR desperate times. The human condition witness today is no different than it was more than 2500 years ago. People are still oppressing the poor. Much of our world’s leadership is still corrupt. There is still a relentless pursuit of worldly pleasure in our country and others. People are still worshiping idols. Hypocrisy and covetousness still run rampant and, of course, there are still many of our brothers and sisters who are following the misguidance of false prophets.
I genuinely believe God commissions us all in some form or another. I also believe we can be modern-day Amos’s: ordinary people who are brave enough to speak God’s truth.
Just as he did with Habakkuk, through prayer and connection, God grants understanding even when there is an absence of immediate answers. We can talk to God, we can tell him what’s on our hearts. He then brings understanding and purpose. Of course, that’s on his timing, so our continued faith is also a must.
In addition to faith, we must maintain personal character for the sake of our personal effectiveness and the effectiveness of fellow Christians. More than one Minor Prophet (but look specifically at Malachi) had his credibility called into question.
This credibility is so vital because no ministry rises higher than the character of its leaders. Like the Minor Prophets, we will meet with resistance from those still clinging to sin. Our continued work in our individual relationships with God, though, will see us through.
Finally, in studying the Minor Prophets, we see the many perils of ignoring God’s impending judgment. Scripture makes it clear, God WILL hold court. And when he does, all our earthly strongholds will be defeated. They will be destroyed, taken, and removed.
The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord
When Jesus returns, on the Day of the Lord, it will be both a GREAT and a TERRIBLE day. For those basking in the light of God’s grace, it indeed will be great. However, for those clinging to darkness, for those idle and complacent in God’s commands, for those who put off returning to God despite his warnings, it will be terrible.
Our hearts must ache for those souls. We, just as the minor prophets did, should be found lamenting over their fates. We are to be inviting them even now to repent, to turn to the Light, and be saved.
You can connect with Chad and his work via Facebook, Twitter, and his home on the web at 1glories.com