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We Majored in Minor Prophets By: RJ Basar III

Our study in the Minor Prophets, which covers the 12 books from Hosea to Malachi, started last March. This was after a very tedious, mind-boggling and extremely challenging study on the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel). Finishing OT106 was a relief for me and I thought I’ve escaped those hard lessons already. Little did I know, OT107 was equally challenging. “Hey, I thought this was “minor” prophets?” This was the question lingering in my mind.
During our first class, Pastor Mel Caparros explained to us that though this was called the ‘Minor Prophets’, it was not a minor study. In fact, only the size of these books makes them minor but the messages of each book are major to Israel and to us as well. Unfortunately, it is the most neglected portion of the Bible and sadly, Christians seldom read this portion of the Scriptures. I will never forget what God told me in Hosea 4:6 which says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge.” This message kept me going in this study. I had to double up my time in studying, memorizing and taking down notes for reflection. This kept going for 12 weeks and I had to say, “Boy, we majored in Minor Prophets!”
Our study started with Hosea, a messenger to the Northern Kingdom (Israel). He dealt with the condition of Israel just before the fall of Samaria. Then, Joel, the most original of the prophets, introduced for the first time the great prophetic concept of “… the day of the Lord” – a very hopeful phrase for us believers. Amos’ dominant theme calls for social justice as the indispensable expression of true piety. Obadiah’s prophecies were addressed entirely on Edom, its destruction and extinction for its unbrotherly conduct toward the people of God and for its treachery toward Judah. Then there is Jonah, the most well-known minor prophet because of this “great fish”. But Jonah is more than that. He talks about his call to Nineveh to preach on the message of repentance and announcing judgment if they would not repent. This is a book where God is also concerned for the Gentiles. Micah’s message was that of hope and consolation. God’s justice will triumph and the divine Deliverer will come. Nahum, however, proclaimed judgement on the people of Nineveh. Habakkuk is about the spiritual drama of a man who found it hard to reconcile the holiness of God with the way in which wicked men were allowed to go their sinful way. Zephaniah also proclaimed the coming day of the Lord. Haggai clearly shows the consequences of disobedience and blessings of obedience. Zechariah, on the other hand, dubbed as the Prophet of Hope, was called by God to encourage the returned exiles in rebuilding of God’s temple in Jerusalem. And Malachi, the book that is filled with rebellious questions is also filled with God’s answers. These Israelites, who had returned from the exile, had slipped into such slack ways of carnality, that God had withheld His blessings from them, and they had suffered much from crop-failure and economic depression. See? It is not as minor as you think it would be.
Why then should we bother to major the Minor Prophets? Simply because it gives us a practical message of warning not to be stubborn in disobedience but rather to obey and seek God. Israel’s example of stubborn disobedience should be a wakeup call for us and we should not be complacent about it.
By God’s grace, I was able to finish the course. Ending this course marks the end of our Old Testament journey. It took us 2 years but we enjoyed it. We enjoyed the blessing of knowing more of our Almighty God, on how He orchestrated every part of history to proclaim the greatness of His Name. We were amazed on how faithful and loving our God is. The story of the many times Israel failed Him but His forgiveness and steadfast love surpasses them all. God, who created the heavens and earth (Genesis) is the same God who sent 16 different prophets (if not, more) to warn Israel because He did not want Israel to perish. His story is beautiful. His story compels us to love Him more and enjoy Him forever. And as we enter to another Testament, we are expectant that God will continue to reveal Himself in ways that we could never imagine.

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