Though separated by centuries and perhaps hundreds of miles, Amos and Joel were surprisingly united in their warning of the “Day of the Lord,” in which God would visit wickedness with justice, and in their visions of the latter day glory he would bring to the earth.
Hosea marks the beginning of our study of the “prophetic” works of the Old Testament, and we discuss both the historical context of Hosea, and what he adds to Israel’s own understanding of its history. We also discuss the themes of insult to God and Forgiveness found in this powerful and poetic book of scripture.
Jonah is unique among the Prophetic books for being a story about a prophet, rather than the writings of a prophet. But it is unique for other reasons as well—the book of Jonah works even better as a parable than it does as a prophecy.
When Elisha took up Elijah’s discarded cloak, he put on more than an article of clothing—even more still than a prophetic mantle, as important as that was. He picked up a burden, the burden of advancing the grand metaphor of the history of the people of Israel, a history that is alive in each person who sets his feet on the path to Yahweh.
When Jeroboam was made king over the newly divided Northern Kingdom of Israel, he was given a simple promise: Worship Yahweh and he would be sustained. Instead, he instituted idolatry among his people, thinking to consolidate his power. Thereafter, none of his successors ruled in righteousness. What happened to Israel as a result? What does this mean in my life?
How did Jonathan and Saul, though they had vastly different reactions to David’s kingly destiny, both love their “neighbor” as themselves? What made David so capable of forgiveness? Who is Abigail and what makes her one of the noblest characters in all of scripture?
The book of Samuel says “man looketh on the outward appearance.” What are some common ways we do this? What was Saul’s tragic flaw? How was David a man after God’s own heart? How do Goliath’s actions correspond with Satan’s temptations of Christ?
The stories of Ruth and Hannah don’t include any dramatic miracles or the words of prophets, so why did the ancient scribes include them in the Bible? What’s so important in these accounts that we can’t learn anywhere else?
Why did God let an entire generation of Israelites die in the wilderness? Why did he command his chosen people to utterly destroy their enemies? How hard was it to follow Joshua when you’d grown up with a prophet like Moses?