Written as a type of road map for students of the Bible, Harold Shank, in his commentary on the early Minor Prophets, seeks to provide necessary information for the journey of Scripture reading. While extremely diverse in setting and literary devices, the works of the Minor Prophets can be summarized by three major themes. First, all can be categorized as prophecy. While prophecy is known to look to the future, which these books do, they are rooted in the past. The prophets books remind the nations of the God who has given them laws, who desires the laws to be kept, and who deserves his people's respect because he has revealed himself to them through the laws. We can also see that judgment and its associated images play a major part in the writing of the prophets. The people in Joel's day experienced some of God's wrath in the form of a locust plague. Jonah was to preach to a city that would be completely destroyed if it did not repent. All prefigure doom for the wayward, whether experienced in the physical life or the spiritual life. Finally, the problem of syncretism is confronted: Israel's tendancy to mix the worship of Yahweh with the worship of Baal and other gods. Over and over again the prophets denounce Israel's idolatrous ways as they call for God's people to return wholly to him.
Despite the somewhat bleak picture of the behavior of God's people, brighter images of God's love and mercy must also be included in the scenery. God is seen as a husband and father, tenderly caring for his people. We see God wooing his people back to himself, longing for relationship to be restored. These images remind us of the fundamentals of what God wants: justice, mercy, and humility. The Minor Prophets can direct us on the path to attaining these qualities.
As Israel became more and more prosperous, their acknowledgement of God became less and less frequent unit Israel attributed their success to other gods. Forsaking the love relationship they had with God, Israel merely pays lip service to God while chasing after idols.
God, through Joel, uses a natural disaster as a prime opportunity to remind the people of the nature of sin and forgiveness. While harsh and stringent, God's punishment is ultimately aimed at restoring his people, moving them to repentance, and drawing them back to himself.
Israel is found guilty in God's eyes of two heinous crimes: oppression and idolatry. Amos warns the Israelites that those who are rich and are guilty of oppressing the poor will be the first to suffer God's wrath and judgment. Amos is the expression of God's concern for his people and the oppression they suffer.
Obadiah addresses the ancient struggle between the descendants of Jacob and Esau along with the issues of justice, retribution, and God's glorious future. God speaks a message of hope to Jerusalem, promising justice for the injustice they have received.
Fleeing from the call of God, Jonah is forced to admit he is running from the mercy and grace of God that was not as selective as he had hoped. Jonah's story reveals that God is not just God of Israel but God of all nations. Not only that, but we also see that forgiveness, faith, and obedience can be found in the most unlikely places.
Like Amos, Micah is concerned with injustice and oppression. Micah's message focuses on how humans relate to God and how humans live together in community. God's ultimate desire is seen in his demand that his people act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him.
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SKU 1088 Subtitle N/A Author/Speaker Harold Shank ISBN 9780899008943 Translator N/A Language English Pages 447 Binding Hardcover Publisher College Press Copyright 2001 Edition N/A Print Date N/A