Melissa Renner welcomes us back for a new semester of Bible Study of part two of the Minor Prophets study.
Welcome back, ladies! I hope you all enjoyed some time off for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I’ve missed our Wednesdays together. It has felt like a long time since we ended in November. I’m looking forward to being back together with you and resuming our Minor Prophets study.
I’ve appreciated all the feedback you’ve given me regarding the first half of this study. I love that so many of you have commented about how shocked you are that the material is so relevant to our world today. You’ll find that to be true in the second half of this study as well.
I’m reminded of a verse in Ecclesiastes that says …
History merely repeats itself.
It has all been done before.
Nothing under the sun is truly new.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9, NLT)
We are seeing this truth in each lesson of our study. There are so many things in this section of Scripture that it feels like it was written for us in our day. One of those topics that we have consistently seen be an issue is idolatry. It’s hard to fathom that idolatry is just as prevalent now as it was back then.
Pastor Chuck has told the story of Christopher Edwards. While attending Berkeley in the mid 1970s. Edwards was approached by a stranger who invited him to a fun weekend at a local farm. What he didn’t realize was that it was a front for Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. That fun weekend turned into almost eight months of brainwashing. He later went through almost a whole year of deprogramming and therapy.
Now, while that seems like an obvious example of idolatry, it often is the day to day idols that proved to be just as dangerous and fracturing to our relationship with God. The countless hours on our phones or on social media often come at the expense of our time in prayer or Bible reading. The priority of self or our self image comes at the expense of choosing to glorify God instead. When we turn to anything that takes our focus off of God, we diminish our reverence and fear of the Lord. As we go through this semester, let’s pray that God would expose any areas of our lives where we need to repent, confess, and get back into a right relationship with our Lord.
These final six minor prophets that we will be studying are going to be just as relatable as the first six were. As you study these men and their stories, be intentional again about noticing the attributes of God throughout each lesson. Let me give you a sneak peek.
- Nahum. This book is essentially the sequel to the book of Jonah. We will see God’s jealousy that is rooted out of His love for us and His desire for us to pursue His will and not our own.
- Habakkuk shows us that we can trust that God is always at work, even when we sometimes don’t see it. And that’s a great reminder that we all need from time to time.
- Zephaniah, a timely book that not only addresses corrupt leaders, but also addresses a denial of God’s power. Whether people acknowledge it or not, the Day the Lord is coming. This book will challenge us to maintain our faith in a powerful God, even if we have to stand alone.
- Haggai provides a great reminder that God’s people are not bound by a building. We are united in serving a powerful God who also encourages and blesses His people.
- Zachariah. The many visions in this book could be a study all on its own. This book will show us how to maintain faith and God’s power and promises because He is unchanging and unfailing.
- We will end our study with Malachi. We see godly standards such as His love and His faithfulness, contrasted with our human nature that needs to repent and deserves judgment apart from Him.
This whole semester will once again hit close to home. It never ceases to amaze me how relevant God’s Word is for us. Sometimes I hear people say the Bible is outdated or not applicable. Now you can join me in correcting others because that is clearly not true.
Remember, these were just ordinary men that God used in mighty ways. It’s easy to sometimes sell ourselves short or convince ourselves that God can’t use us in the same ways as He did back in the times we are studying. But that is a lie that Satan would love for you to hold on to and believe. These minor prophets were just regular people who were willing to be used by God and be obedient to what He was asking them to do. God is asking the same of us. He wants us to submit our hearts and our will and tell the world around us about His saving grace available only through Jesus Christ. Don’t wait to or put that off.
In our world that seems to feel more unstable by the day, people are looking for hope, looking for something that is unchanging and reliable, and looking for something that’s trustworthy. Think about the conversations that you need to have that could literally make an eternal difference. Don’t be like Jonah and run from that conviction and responsibility. God expects us to share the good news of salvation through Jesus. He never once says, “Well if you feel comfortable, tell others about Jesus.” or “It’s okay if you don’t want to tell others about Jesus; just obey the rest of My Word and we’ll call it even.” No, God is asking you and me to share the gospel—no excuses.
For those of you attending in person, we will have a few more times where we come together in our Embrace ministry. This is simply a time where we can talk about topics or questions through a biblical lens. I invite your feedback on what topics or questions you would like to see covered. So please don’t hesitate to email me about that at any time.
We are in for a good semester, friends. I prayed we continue to be transformed in these next few months as we study God’s precious Word together.
Study Guide Available
For the corresponding study guide, please contact Melissa Renner at firstname.lastname@example.org.