Hosea was a prophet to the 10 northern tribes called Israel. His contemporaries were Amos, Isaiah, Jonah, and Micah. Hosea’s was a pathetic, tragic life. In fact, few men in Scripture inspire such pity as Hosea.
God's Masterwork, Volume 4: An Invitation to Return—A Survey of Hosea-Malachi
The minor prophets aren’t called this because they didn’t major in major themes; it's because their books are shorter than those by prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel.
In this fourth volume of the God’s Masterwork series, Chuck Swindoll majors in the minors. God’s Masterwork, Volume Four: An Invitation to Return—A Survey of Hosea–Malachi will introduce you to the little-read and little-understood prophets who deliver big messages in a small amount of space.
Recently in Judah (the southern kingdom), a plague of locusts had devoured every green thing, leaving only desolation in their trail. Joel announced his conviction that God had sent the plague because of the sin of His people Judah. But Joel also announced hope beyond their present circumstance. His message is certainly needed today.
Born of humble means, raised to work with his hands, rugged and unflappable, Amos became one of the most colourful personalities among the prophets. God’s severe predictions of judgment had to be delivered by a man who modelled that message.
Obadiah’s message is related to two historical periods: Obadiah’s own times and the imminent threat of the nations’ captivity by Assyria and Babylon as well as its eventual restoration. Except in his case, Obadiah’s message was not to Israel or Judah but to Edom, and there was no hope of restoration for them.
The book of Jonah is the clearest revelation in all the Old Testament of the missionary heart of our God. Jonah is not the story of a whale but of a nation in desperate need of deliverance…and a messenger who was reluctant to go and announce the truth.
It is doubtful the poor peasants of Judah ever had a stronger champion than fellow countryman Micah, the powerful preacher. Though neither as intellectually gifted as his contemporary Isaiah nor as popular as his peer to the north Hosea, Micah nevertheless defended the downtrodden with vigilant zeal. He cared for his people and warned them of certain punishment if they refused to repent.
One hundred years after Jonah’s visit, Nahum wrote to the next generations living in Nineveh, announcing judgment because those who had been converted in Jonah’s time had refused to pass on to their children and grandchildren (the people of Nahum’s day) the knowledge and fear of the true God. Negligence led to this terrible consequence. The result? God had to destroy such an apostate people.
Habakkuk, witnessing the evils around him, wrestled with God’s seemingly indifferent attitude. It was an offensive contradiction to His holy nature. But when God revealed His plan, an even greater problem arose. So Habakkuk decided to get alone and wait for his mind to clear. God gave him a fresh vision…hope beyond his despair, which resulted in a time of meaningful prayer as Habakkuk praised the awesome Lord of heaven and earth.
In the first section of Zephaniah’s book he announced sure judgment with a simple yet forceful style. Then, in the second section, he tenderly prophesied that God would send relief and blessings on His people. Through it all, Zephaniah emerged as a choice prophet in a long line of tough and tender men.
Haggai was God’s spokesman sent to awaken and arouse the post-captivity Jews from their lethargy. With determined focus, he pursued one major goal: to complete the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. He was a “get it done” leader; a highly motivated man who attacked indifference as the enemy it was. Haggai (and later Zechariah) was used by the Lord to afflict the comfortable, convincing them there was no excuse for delay.
The prophet Haggai had led the way in rebuilding the temple…but the people lost focus during the process. The prophet Zechariah rolled up his sleeves and plunged, with reckless abandon, into the work of helping his friend Haggai. But Zechariah’s style was very different. Rather than rebuking the workers, he relied on words of inspiration and positive encouragement to motivate the people.
Malachi was the last call of the Old Testament. Prophesying after the days of Nehemiah, Malachi witnessed the settled, stagnant, corrupt indifference of God’s people, which the prophet deplored. The people’s intermarrying with foreigners (non-Jews), neglecting to pay tithes, and offering blemished sacrifices at the altar caused Malachi to confront and warm them of the consequences of their actions.