The Bible 101 - Part 14
Major, Minor - What's the Diff?
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
Quick recap from last week -
David's son, Solomon, becomes king. Like father, like son his reign is marked with a humble start and then we see a downfall. In between these moments, he builds a truly magnificent temple.
The Northern Kingdom (10 tribes) is called Israel while the Southern Kingdom (2 tribes of Judah and Benjamin) is called Judah.
In all the conquests, the temple is destroyed by the Babylonians (think Nebuchadnezzar).
Jews are in exile for 70 years ...but not forever. After 70 years, Cyrus, the King of Persia, allows the Jews to build a temple in Jerusalem, so now we see some of the Jews return to Judah.
And so, we press on. Y'all, we have covered so much history together, but there are still 17 more books in the Old Testament. What are these?
Well, God had things to tell His people, so He sent prophets (think of these as preachers) to share His messages. Their messages are recorded in the Old Testament. These are called the books of the prophets. Some minor, some major (fancy words we often think of in terms of importance but it's really all about the size).
And yes, here's a bit more CSV (Candace Standard Version) for you...
Jonah, Amos and Hosea - Missionary, Messages and ...Musicals?
These men shared messages before Israel (the Northern Kingdom) was defeated.
Jonah - (The one who got swallowed by the big fish? Yep, yep. That's the one!) - think of him as a foreign missionary because that's exactly who he was. He traveled to preach to the Assyrians.
Amos and Hosea, on the other hand, were giving some serious pep talks to the Northern tribes. Think of Amos like the classic song from Grease the Musical, You better shape up 'Cause God's not happy And we're oh so prone to sin You better shape up You better understand To one God we must be true Nothin' left, nothin' left for us to do You're the one that we love (you are the one we love) Ooh, ooh, ooh, Almighty... (...And we wonder why CSV is not a household translation...yet.)
Then, of course, Hosea. The best way I know to understand Hosea is to read it of course and then also to read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Hosea uses his marriage to Gomer, a woman who was previously a prostitute who continually chooses to be unfaithful to him, as an illustration of God's unconditional love for us.
Side note - if you're tempted to think following God means your life will always be easy, read Hosea. And then Job. And then look at the life of Jesus (we'll get there). God doesn't promise an easy life when we follow Him but one worth living.
Isaiah and Micah - The Bridge
These men serve as a bridge, speaking during both the Divided Kingdom (same time as Amos and Hosea) and after Israel was destroyed.
Isaiah is one of the major prophets (aka longer book), telling all about the Savior HUNDREDS OF YEARS before His birth. Micah (a shorter book) tells us the birthplace of Jesus - again way long before His birth!
I know, right! Chills.
Zephaniah - He's Coming!
We'll keep this one brief - Zeph warns about the coming Day of the Lord.
God gave me an unexpected roommate (who also happened to be incredibly talented and creative). I took full advantage of this and had her letter a few things for me, one being a cute welcome mat and another one of my favorite verses from Zephaniah.
For a long time, it adorned my desk at work. Between stressful meetings or making hard decisions, I'd look over and read Zephaniah's words and find myself washed in peace. There's just something about trusting "The Lord your God is in your midst" to bring much-needed perspective to our days.
May we linger in His delight and affection for us as we read this verse:
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you in loud singing. - Zephaniah 3:17
Notice who is doing all the work - Who is saving? Who is rejoicing? Who is quieting? Who is exulting? God, not us. We simply receive.
Habbakuk - Live by Faith
(Pronounced "Ha-back-uck" and if you're Texan, you really draw out that second "a.") If you're needing a reminder of living by faith and not by sight, read Habbakuk. It's beautiful, friend. Give it a read.
Jeremiah - Plans for Hope
Jeremiah is known as the "weeping prophet." I know, right. Not the title you want to have. We may know this verse, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Guess why it's important to know a little about each of these fellas? Because it changes how we read their messages! We have insight and understanding. Jeremiah didn't say this in happy times. No, he was reminding God's people that God had not forgotten them and was writing a beautiful story even through all of the mess and punishment brought through the Babylonians.
8 books! A mix of majors and minors! Whew, friend! Good times!
If we do some simple math... 17 - 8 = ?
...we know we're not quite done. We have 9 more books in the Old Testament. We're wrapping it up next week! And I'm not just saying this to say this, it's true! You're not going to want to miss it.
Same time. Same place. Same game face.
Or not. It rhymed. The kindergarten teacher in me couldn't help myself. Truth is, game face or not, there's grace for you here.
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
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