Saturday, February 11, 2017

On Reading Through the Minor Prophets

I've avoided reading the minor prophets for years because I thought they were weird and depressing. It should come as no surprise that a Baptist gets nervous around prophecy and visions (of objects and creatures that fly and have extra eyes and horns nonetheless), or that any person might feel discouraged in amongst vivid descriptions of depravity, famine, violence, and destruction...

I'm not trying to tell you that when I began reading Hosea I did not find all that I just listed, or that it was not hard to read sometimes, or that I didn't occasionally still dread it.

But in this reading two things happened that I don't recall happening before.

First, I developed a new, stronger awareness and appreciation for God's seriousness about the glory of His name and the holiness of the people He has called to be His own. All of the horror He rained on Israel was justly done to them because they chose to live in a way that declared to God, to their brothers, and to the nations around them that the Lord was not worth worshipping or obeying.

Second, when I saw and likened all the righteous anger of the Lord against Israel's unholiness to how He will respond to my sin, I began to look for any shred of hope that might be offered for those sobered by facing His holy wrath. So I clung to the words which He showed me were pointedly and carefully woven as a bright thread into the dark tapestry of destruction, words like: rescue, redeem, deliver, help, restore, bless, overflow, heal, righteous rain, warmly and tenderly compassionate, steadfast love, ransom, gracious and merciful, near, light, vindication, refuge, stronghold, saved, rise, free, rejoice, pure, singing... Most of these words represent what God would do and how He would be to those who would turn to Him by faith; and the others represent what His people of faith would be and do in response.

Even more than that, God also revealed flooring, jaw dropping, eye opening glimpses of Him who would accomplish that rescue of God's chosen people. I saw the Angel of the Lord (who defends His priest and exchanges his filthy garments for pure vestments) and the Righteous Branch in Zechariah, the Cleansing Fountain in Joel and Zechariah, the Booth of David in Amos, the Ruler and Shepherd of Israel born at Bethlehem in Micah, the King of Israel the Lord your God in their midst in Zephaniah, and the Refiner and Cornerstone in Malachi.

So I encourage you, do not shy away from difficult Scripture. Let God show you what He has for you in His Word.

My prayer for you Reader, is that you might walk in obedience to God by hungrily, daily reading every part of the Word He has given to us.