In Hosea we have here the rejection of the house of Israel and the house of – Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi. The door is secretly opened to the Gentiles. Israel endures the long deprivation of everything. Then comes the restoration of the whole under Jehovah and David in the latter days. Paul quotes chapter 1:10, and 2:23; Peter only the latter. From chapter 4 we get the most earnest dealing with the conscience of Israel. The book closes with their return in repentance to the sure blessings of Jehovah. It is the testimony of the ways of the Lord.
Under the figure of the desolation left by a plague of insects we have announced the inroad of the northern armies in the last days, and the coming in of the whole power of man against God’s people. Then Joel gives us the consequent coming in of Jehovah to judge the whole power of man in the day of the Lord, and the valley of decision. Meanwhile, the pouring out of the Holy Ghost upon all flesh, and the promise of certain deliverance to whoever called on the name of the Lord.
You may add, the summons to repentance of all who have ears to hear.
Amos gives the patience of God’s dealings and ways, which he rehearses in connection with the precise pointing out of the iniquity of Israel’s ways. He marks out the punishment of bordering nations on the same ground of definite moral evil. He notices the rejection of a testimony against the evil, and declares the sure, infallible, unescapable judgment of Jehovah on the whole people. The righteous remnant are certainly saved. The prophecy closes with the promise of building up the tabernacle of David, as head of the nation, and blessing the people.
Obadiah is the judgment of Edom for their hatred of Israel, warning them that the day of the Lord is upon all the heathen, while deliverance should be in Mount Zion, and thence holiness and blessing, and the kingdom be the Lord’s.
Jonah is the witness that, though God has chosen Israel, He has not given up His right as a faithful Creator in mercy over all the earth. Those that are connected with Him must be subject to His power and bow to His grace, otherwise the sense of favour is unfaithfulness and self-exaltation. At the same time we get a type of death and resurrection as the way of blessing.
In Micah we have the general judgment of the Samaria and Jerusalem, for their transgressions, iniquities, idolatry, and their rejection of the testimony of God. The whole land is therefore treated as polluted, and no longer the rest of His people, who must arise and depart. He judges the princes and their prophets, brings in the power of the Spirit to judge even the chosen city of the Lord, but announces its re-establishment by Jehovah in grace in the last days. He brings in the siege of Jerusalem by the heathen, in fulfilment of God’s counsels, in consequence of the rejection of Christ, on account of which they were given up.
He also shows that the same Christ stands as their peace and defence, when the Assyrian comes in, in the last days. The remnant of Israel becomes the people of blessing to, and power over, others, while all evil in it is judged and destroyed, as well as the heathen who have come up against it. Having spoken of the restoration in the last days he returns and insists on the righteousness of God’s ways, contrasting the attempt at ceremonially pleasing Him with the practising of iniquity which He hates. Micah closes looking to God to restore and feed His people – the God who passes by iniquity.
The power of the world, or man as such, is put down for ever in Nahum. We have the testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord in the midst of His vengeance, resulting in blessing to those that trust in Him and wait for Him. It is still the Assyrian. Babylon is another thing altogether.
Habakkuk gives the soul exercised by the iniquity of God’s people – first, with indignation at the iniquity, and then with distress at their being destroyed by those who are God’s rod to chasten them.
He then gets the answer of God, showing that He knows the pride of the wicked, and will judge it, and that the righteous man must live by trusting in Him. Lastly, he rises above all to the glorious power of God, exercised in the salvation of His people, so that he trusts in Him, come what will.
In Zephaniah we get the utter judgment of the land and of all the neighbouring nations around, at the great day of the Lord, because of iniquity, hypocrisy, and idolatry. Man’s natural power is dealt with. Because of her iniquity, Jerusalem is distinctly brought out as the special object of displeasure.
The prophecy then singles out the remnant in a very distinct and definite way, calling on them to wait on the Lord, who leaves them as an afflicted and poor people. They are delivered by the judgments which He executes, and rest in His love over Jerusalem, making it a name and praise among all people.
Originally by JND. Lightly edited by Sosthenes, July 2014
– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible for the original