by Colleen Donahue
We have looked these past two studies at a picture of man written by the Minor Prophets - the men that wrote the last 12 books of the Old Testament. Now, in our last study of these books, we'll turn our attention to see what these men reveal about God Himself.
Can we really know what God is like? And how is it that men like Hosea or Zephaniah or Micah can tell us about Him?
This book called the Bible which we study each day is called God's word because it is the revelation that God has chosen to give to man regarding Himself. Although God is infinite--having no beginning and no end--He has chosen to make Himself a part of man's history. This history stands as a record for all of us to come to know this God of the universe for ourselves.
As an infinite God, we can by no means put Him into a tidy box and say, "Here he is!" No, rather each portion of history and revelation gives us deeper glimpses into His great heart. We must not be content to know God as a distant creator far off in the Heavens somewhere. He would not want that. We are to know Him as "Our Father who art in Heaven .." Anyone that is "our Father" must be personal to us -- to you and me.
He wants us to know Him and therefore gives this marvelous revelation to his prophets for our benefit today.
Day 1 The fact that men like Hosea or Zephaniah or Micah can tell us anything about God is because God chose to speak TO them and then THROUGH them. Hosea 1:2 / Joel 1:1 / Jonah 1:1 / Micah 1:1/ Zephaniah 1:1 / Zechariah 1:1
Notice that in almost every case, the fact that these are God's words being written and spoken and not their own is made clear right at the beginning.
Day 2 Isaiah actually said that each morning God would waken him in order to teach him. Isaiah 50:4
And it is God's speaking to us that teaches us about Him as well as about ourselves and how we should live. Isaiah 48:17-18
Day 3 God revealed Himself to us through the Holy Spirit who acts as our interpreter. I Corinthians 2:10-13
Day 4 In the Old Testament times, not all men and women had the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came to only certain ones and they would reveal to other men what God said to them. Often these were the prophets as we have seen. I Peter 1:20-21
But today, this is no longer the case. At a point in time God sent us His Son Jesus. As a man - yet still God- He was able to show us what His Father was like and to speak directly to us. Hebrews 11:1-2
When it was time for Christ to die, He did not leave us desolate but rather gave us the Holy Spirit so that every man could understand and know God for himself. John 14:26 / John 16:13-15
Day 5 When God speaks to man it is not always in some general way for everybody. Sometimes when He speaks it is just for us. In this way He is a very personal God. In these verses, God told Hosea what to call his children. Hosea 1:4,6,9
Day 6 God wants to be as involved in our lives as a husband is to his wife. Isaiah 54:5 / Hosea 2:16
People who do not know God think of Him as a God of judgement --someone to be feared and who brings doom and gloom on His subjects below. Perhaps it is not bad to think this way as the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Day 7 God is holy and therefore must respond to man's sinfulness with judgement. Hosea 4:4-10 / Hosea 10:10 / Amos 3:13-15 / Amos 9:8-10 / Micah 2:1-3 / Micah 6:13 / Malachi 3:2-3
Day 8 But God does not want to do man harm! He will go to great lengths to get our attention first so that we can change and turn back to Him. Read about all the creative ways that God tried to get someone's attention!
Day 9 When God sees that man is serious about changing, then He gets serious too about extending His mercy. Jonah 3:10 / Jonah 4:1-2
Day 10 Read in Hosea how tenderly the Lord speaks to His people -- as a lover to His loved one. Hosea 2:14-23
Day 11 God is constantly doing good things for us even if we don't recognize it. In these verses God seems torn inside. He has loved so much and yet His people "are bent on turning away from me." He must punish them but doesn't want to. Hosea 11:1-12
Day 12 The Lord does not want to be angry with us or punish us. He wants to do good for us. Hosea 14:4-9
Day 13 No matter how we have treated God in the past, He wants us to return to Him so that He can bless us. Joel 2:12-14
Day 14 It is amazing that God really does want to bless us! Joel 2:23-29
Day 15 His big and generous heart has a special concern if you are disadvantaged or suffering. Micah 4:6-7
Day 16 Like a proud Father, He loves to rejoice over his children and "sing their praises". Zephaniah 3:17-20
Day 17 For all God wants to give us He requires so little in return. He longs for our love more than anything we could ever try and do for Him. Hosea 6:6 / Micah 6:8
Day 18 If God cannot bless our lives, it is because our own rebellion keeps Him from being able to. Hosea 7:13-15
Day 19 It is only our own rebellion and sin that will cause God ever to leave us and not to hear us. Hosea 5:5-7 / Hosea 9:12-17 / Micah 3:4
Day 20 But when we want to change, it is God himself who will give us light so that we can see even the need for repentance. Micah 7:8b / Isaiah 9:2
Day 21 It is vital that we ask God for HIS light upon our life because He remembers everything that we have ever said or done. If we have committed our sins one by one we must be reminded of them one by one so that we can repent. Hosea 7:2a / Psalm 25:8
Day 22 When our hearts are honest before God, then He will hear us and answer our prayers. Amos 7:2-3, 5-6 / Zechariah 10:6
Day 23 No matter how far we have strayed from God, it is Him that we must go back to because He is our only Savior. Hosea 13:4 / Isaiah 43:11 / Isaiah 45:21-22
Day 24 Not only does He save us but His is able to restore all the years "that the locusts have eaten." He wants to forgive us and bless us. Hosea 7:18-20 / Amos 9:11-15 / Zechariah 10:8-12
Day 25 God, as our Creator, is the one who controls the events of the universe. Amos 5:8 / Micah 1:3-4 / Nahum 1:4-5 / Zechariah 10:1
Day 26 If He can influence the events of the universe then He can certainly influence the events of our lives. God loves us and wants to care for us. We do not need to protect ourselves and take revenge against our enemies. The Lord will avenge and exonerate His own. In these verses God judges those who have done His children harm. Joel 3:1-8, 19-21
Day 27 We live in a time of great patience and grace on God's part. He really desires that all men would come to know Him and so He gives us time. But we must be warned that when this time of grace has run out , it will be God Himself who will bring man down. Obadiah 1:3-4,8 / Nahum 1:1-3, 6-9
Day 28 Because God is in control of this universe and our lives, we can count on Him each day to do what is needed. He does not change. Zephaniah 3:5 / Malachi 3:6
Day 29 Fear is one of the greatest hindrances to having great faith in God. The Prophet Habakkuk felt a great growing fear because he knew what was going to happen. When faced with this fear he reminded himself about what he knew about God. This is the way to deal with fear. It is to rejoice in the God of Salvation. We must place our confidence in God who acts powerfully and effectively on our behalf. Notice that when Habakkuk turned away from his fears to God, fear gave way to great faith. Because God is in control there is no need to fear! Habakkuk 3: 2-19
Day 30 Woven throughout the chapters of these Minor Prophets have been prophesies about the Son of God who would be coming. It is in the Son, that the Father is fully revealed. Read these last verses carefully for clues about God's Son. Micah 5:2,4 / Haggai 2:7 / Zechariah 3:8 / 6:12-13 / 9:9/ 12:10 / 13:7 / Malachi 3:1-3
Day 31 Perhaps you have come to the same conclusion about God as I have. Micah expresses it beautifully. Micah 7: 18-20
We end our study of the Old Testament with this beautiful picture of God Our Father. In the next months we'll see Him fully revealed as we begin the study of Jesus His Son as presented by the four gospel writers.
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