Yesterday I finished reading through the minor prophets again. It has been incredible. I say that without sarcasm or bluster or fakeness. I honestly have never enjoyed them so much or benefited from them so richly as this time through. Every single book, from Hosea to Malachi, has taught me something new or filled me with hope or quietly brought me to tears.
Here are 6 reflections I made from reading the minor prophets.
1. God's justice demands the punishment of sin (Zeph. 3:5). It is spelled out as clear as day - God hates sin. And His justice requires that He deal with it. No matter who is doing the sinning (whether it's pagan nations and their violence or His own people and their impure sacrifices), God cares about righteousness.
2. Restoration is the hope of God's people (Zeph. 3:15). One day God is going to make all things new. He will bring permanent peace and lasting joy and wipe away every tear and fear for good. Sin and injustice will be eradicated. He'll restore our sin-sick world and sin-stained hearts. That is the ultimate source of our daily hope.
3. Christians sin and need repentance (Amos 7:2). In the minor prophets, you hear about God's people doing horrible things. They were apathetic in the face of suffering and injustice. They were proponents of debtor's slavery. They worshiped idols. Their religious leaders were corrupt, selfish, and manipulative. They distrusted and disbelieved God's promises. And they desperately needed to repent - which is why the prophets came along.
4. God's mercy goes on and on (Micah 7:19). Yet God would have been totally just in wiping them out without sending any prophets. He didn't need to show mercy. He didn't need to show grace. Yet He did - and He does.
5. God is totally sovereign (Mal. 1:14). Over His people, over the nations, over history, over evil, over war, over everything, God is sovereign. He is ruler and controller.
6. God protects His people (Zech. 9:15). That doesn't mean He never punishes them, but it does mean that as their Shepherd, He lovingly protects them. He is faithful, even when His people aren't. His covenant love is unbreakable.