GOD SPEAKS THROUGH PROPHETS, # 2
Scripture: Minor Prophets: Joel 2:13; Hebrews 1:1, 11:32–39
Memory verse: Joel 2:13
"Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate."
In our last study we focused on the first division of the books of the prophets.
Ask: “What are these books called? Who were these prophets? What is the difference between the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets? How many books are written by major prophets?” (Allow responses.)
Hearing God’s Word
In this study we will look at the remaining Old Testament books. (Have the students scan the table of contents in their Bibles to see what these are.)
The Book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. It is thought to have been written after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Philistines and Arabians.
A neighbouring enemy, the Edomites, rejoiced over Jerusalem’s defeat. Because of Edom’s wicked attitude, Obadiah announced that God would destroy them. His prophecy was soon fulfilled, and Jerusalem was eventually restored.
This tells us about God’s judgement on the wicked. Edom represents all enemies of God’s people who will one day be destroyed. However, God’s people will be protected and restored.
Little is known about Joel or the exact time in which he lived. He wrote to the people of Judah. Their sins caused God to send a plague of locusts that began to destroy their crops. The people were told to repent of their sins in order to be saved from destruction.
They did repent. Following their repentance came one of the most wonderful promises of God’s Word. (Ask a student to read Joel 2:28, 29.) Joel saw a day when God would send the Holy Spirit to live within us and give us power. This prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1–4, 16–18.
Most of us are familiar with the prophet, Jonah. Immediately we think of his experience with a big fish.
Ask: “Why did he have that experience, and what does it teach us?” (Allow responses.)
It teaches that we should obey God rather than go our own way. It does not pay to run from God. God is everywhere; He knows all about us. We can also be thankful God is merciful even when we fail. He is patient with us as we learn what His will is for our lives.
The prophet Amos was a common herdsman from the hills of Tekoa, south of Jerusalem. Even though Amos lived in the kingdom of Judah, God called him to prophesy to Israel.
Amos was the kind of man who believed in “telling it like it is.” He accused Israel of becoming fat and content in sinful living. Amos prophesied that Israel would be overthrown by an enemy and would be severely punished for its sin.
Amos delivered from God some good advice on living for God. (Ask a student to read Amos 5:14, 15. Write these key phrases on the chalkboard: “Seek good, not evil” and “Hate evil, love good.”) As we draw closer to God by resisting temptation, we can be sure He will help us.
Hosea lived in the northern kingdom of Israel about the same time Isaiah was prophesying in Judah. Hosea means “salvation.”
Hosea, like Jonah, learned a valuable lesson through a bad experience.
Hosea’s wife Gomer was unfaithful and left home. She was like the Israelites who turned their backs on God. But after Gomer left, she was mistreated and enslaved by those who claimed to love her.
Gomer was paying for her wickedness. Finally Hosea found Gomer, bought her out of slavery, and took her back as his wife.
Ask: “What does this teach us about God’s love?” (Allow responses.)
Hosea teaches us a lot about God’s undying love. Even though we may sin and turn from God, He keeps reaching out to us in love. When we truly repent, He is there to take us back. One day God paid the ultimate price with His Son’s life so sinners could be forgiven and reunited with Him.
One of Micah’s better-known passages is his prophecy of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. (Have a student read Micah 5:2 and Matthew 2:3–6.) In his book Micah described Jesus’ words, His influence over all nations, and His victory over all His enemies.
Micah also spoke of God’s love and forgiveness. He urged Israel to return to a life of righteousness and holiness (Read Micah 6:8). For those who would turn to God there would be great blessings. (Read Micah 7:19.) This message is one we should remember today.
Nahum had something in common with Jonah even though he began his ministry about 100 years after Jonah. Both prophets prophesied in Nineveh. A lot had changed between Jonah’s day and Nahum’s. The people had stopped loving and living for God. This time they did not repent, so God had to destroy them.
The Book of Nahum teaches that God’s judgement of sin is severe and certain. The prophet also revealed that God will keep those who trust in and live for Him. (Compare Nahum 1:2 and 1:7.)
Zephaniah ministered just before a critical time in Judah’s history. Judah was on the brink of being overthrown by heathen armies. Judgement on Judah’s sin was certain. But God also promised through Zephaniah that He was going to spare the few who had remained true to Him. (Zephaniah 3:12, 13.) It pays to stay true to God!
Little is known about the prophet Habakkuk. He ministered during the time just before Judah was taken captive by Babylon. Habakkuk had a hard time understanding why God would allow heathen armies to punish His chosen people. God assured Habakkuk that all sinners would one day be punished. Judah had sinned, so punishment was necessary. The Chaldeans were the “rod” God used to bring punishment on Judah But since they were sinners too; the Chaldeans were also going to be punished.
Haggai (HEY-guy) and the remaining two minor prophets ministered after the Jews had been conquered by the Babylonians. When they returned to Jerusalem after their captivity, the Israelites began rebuilding the temple that had been destroyed there. But outside pressure from the Samaritans interrupted the Jews’ work. For 15 years they did nothing to rebuild the temple—God’s house.
God sent Haggai to encourage the leaders and the people to resume rebuilding the temple. The people had become preoccupied with their own needs and had not been concerned for God’s temple. They had been struggling with poor crops. Haggai told them their poor crops were a result of their making their own homes nice while they failed to work on God’s house—they were putting themselves before God. They finally went back to work on the temple and things began to improve. Things do work out better for us when we put God first in all we do. (Read Matthew 6:33.)
Zechariah’s ministry covered the same time period as Haggai’s. He encouraged the Jews to rebuild the temple also. Zechariah warned the Jews about falling into the sinful ways of their ancestors. He told them they needed to return to God and trust in Him. Zechariah also recorded a series of visions, some of which clearly reflect the life and work of Jesus.
Malachi is the last of the minor prophets and the last book of the Old Testament. He made one final appeal to the Jews to repent of their sins and turn to God. He also scolded them for not tithing.
Ask: “What is tithing? Why is it important?” (Allow responses.)
Tithing is a form of worship to God. The 10 percent we give of our income helps carry out the command of Jesus—to preach the gospel locally and throughout the world.
Major Themes of the Minor Prophets
This has been a brief overview of each of the Minor Prophets.
Ask: “If we were to select two major themes from all their messages, what would they be?” (Allow responses.)
One major theme is that God hates sin and will punish those who turn their backs on Him. Another important theme is that God will honour and keep those who follow and serve Him faithfully. He wants us to turn to Him because He is a loving and caring God. That truth is beautifully expressed in our memory verse. (Repeat it with the class.)
Accepting God’s Word
At the beginning of the class, we talked about important messages that need to be given for other people’s welfare. We each have such a message – the warning of God’s eternal punishment for sin. We have a responsibility to be God’s messengers at home, school, and in our neighbourhoods. We need to be witnesses in our day just as the prophets were in their day.
Tamajaq Tuareg Prayer
Lord, You are an awesome God! You created all things and made man in Your own image. Jesus verified this fact while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Everything is possible for you" (Mark 14:36).
Most High God, I believe you specialize in doing the impossible, especially in bringing men and women to faith in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning those who are resistant to the message of the gospel and have no interest in accepting Jesus as their personal saviour, Jesus said in Mark 10:27: "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
It appears to be an impossible task to lead the Tuareg to accept Jesus as their Saviour, but nothing is impossible with God. Lord, I believe that you will send many messengers to live among the Tuareg and proclaim the good news of salvation to them. May a lot of Tuareg be saved, discipled, and filled with Your Holy Spirit. May those new believers spread the message throughout the Tuareg people group as You partner with them by confirming Your word with signs and wonders. To God be the glory! Amen!
Remember: GOD SPEAKS THROUGH PROPHETS, # 2
Memory verse: Psalm 119:11
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
1. The Bible must not be destroyed.
2. Biblical truth must be preserved.
3. I will memorize Bible verses and hide them in my heart.
Pray forTamajaq Tuareg to Hear Directly from God.
Study 10 | Preach Christ/Our Bible | africaatts.org/go-teach