Pride and the Power of GOD

Today, Barak Hussein Obama will be sworn in for his second term of office as president of the The United States of America.  Our country continues its polarization under his reign, as I have already heard rumors of him seeking a third term; one that will be for life.  At the other end of the spectrum, there seems to be a movement towards impeachment.  I have no idea which "side" will prevail, but such things are NOT GOOD FOR OUR COUNTRY!!!  I pray that our president will wield his power according to the dictates of our constitution, with great humility, for his office has a very great responsibility. I sense an increase in his pride and a certain amount of arrogance.  I hope and pray that I am wrong!!!  Pride can do terrible things; here is one such example...

Daniel, Chapter 4
 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.  5 I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.  6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then came in the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known to me its interpretation.  8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him, saying, 9 Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.  10 Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth; and its height was great.  11 The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth.  12 The leaves of it were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all: the animals of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.  13 I saw in the visions of my head on my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from the sky.  14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the animals get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches.  15 Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth:  16 let his heart be changed from man’s, and let an animal’s heart be given to him; and let seven times pass over him.  17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men.  18 This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.  19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you. Belteshazzar answered, My lord, the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries.  20 The tree that you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached to the sky, and its sight to all the earth;  21 whose leaves were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all; under which the animals of the field lived, and on whose branches the birds of the sky had their habitation:  22 it is you, O king, that are grown and become strong; for your greatness is grown, and reaches to the sky, and your dominion to the end of the earth.  23 Whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from the sky, and saying, Cut down the tree, and destroy it; nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field, and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him;  24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which has come on my lord the king:  25 that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 26 Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule.  27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of your tranquility. 28 All this came on the king Nebuchadnezzar.  29 At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon.  30 The king spoke and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?  31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from the sky, saying, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you.  32 You shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass as oxen. Seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.”  33 This was fulfilled the same hour on Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.  34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation.  35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can stay his hand, or ask him, What are you doing?  36 At the same time my understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned to me; and my counselors and my lords sought to me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added to me.  37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase. 

 Babylon was a very great kingdom and Nebuchadnezzar a magnificent monarch.  But, his pride almost was his undoing.  God humbled him that he might learn who was really in control.  I urge all who read this post to pray for all our leaders, that they might acknowledge the truth that God is ultimately in control.  Pray also, that all in government will come to know the true, divine ruler of this Earth and understand that his son's throne began in a manger (above) and has been exalted in heaven above every power imaginable.  Best wishes to Barak H. Obama on his second term of office!

Abundance, By Gary Womack


We are surrounded with abundance but are mostly blind to it. There is a significant reason for that, which is not necessarily directly our own fault, but primarily due to the fact that we are finite beings and are therefore limited accordingly in our perspective. That is not to say that God has made us blind to the abundance of our surroundings, but that we do not relate well to the resources of the eternal Creator of all things. Therefore, it is necessary for Him to help us to open our eyes to the great abundance of His creation by capturing our attention through His inspired word.
Abundance, according to Webster, is "Great plenty; more than sufficient quantity. Wealth." Such a simple definition fails to comprehend such a broad subject. Abundance is best defined by that which it embodies. Take for example the universe and listen to its declaration of abundance. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world." (Psm. 19:1-4) By their very existence they declare what abundance is by pointing to their Creator. Our concept of such a One, whose power and abundance could conceive and create with such magnitude, is limited by our finite nature. Therefore, He directs our attention to the abundance of His handiwork in order that we expand the limits of our thinking to comprehend His greatness. "'To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?' says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing." (Isa. 40:25-26)
When Abraham could not comprehend God's unlimited ability to give him and Sarah the child He had promised, God "...brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.'" (Gen. 15:5) It was not until Abraham was pointed to the abundance of God's creation that he could comprehend such ability and therefore believe in the Lord. The result was God's accounting of such faith as righteousness. The accounting of such blessings ultimately rested upon the observation of abundance in order to comprehend the greatness of its Creator.
Later, we see Abraham's mature faith demonstrated in his willingness to carry out the sacrifice of that same child of promise. (Gen. 22) When he was stopped short of executing his son, God stated His pleasure in Abraham's faith and reiterated His promise; "...in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Gen. 22:17-18) We are all blessed as a result of Abraham's faith and his willingness to see God's abundance in order to drive that faith to its obedient fruition.
We might question our own faith when we compare it to that of Abraham's and consider the magnitude of such a sacrifice. How can we demonstrate that kind of faith in our own lives? The answer to that question is: Our faith must be established in the same way that Abraham's was. It must be established on the foundation of God's unlimited greatness to accomplish His will. The way that we must do that is to look at the abundance around us and draw on that realization. God's word forever points our attention to the abundance of His power, His mercy and His grace. Read it. Meditate upon it. If we fail to look at God's abundance, we limit the outcome of our small faith. How many great works have gone unaccomplished because we failed to consider the abundance of God's ability to work in us?
Remember, He "...is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20) That being the case, it is incumbent upon us to be reminded of the abundance of His ability and be motivated by His power to accomplish that which we otherwise would consider impossible. Thankfully, we are not called upon to make the kind of sacrifice that Abraham was called upon to make. However, we have been given a great work to accomplish which demands great faith. That work is the spreading of the gospel to a world lost in sin. As we view ourselves as only a handful of people in the midst of millions of lost souls, that work seems overwhelming and an impossible task. If our focus is on our limited numbers, or on a lack of financial resources, or on the limitations of the facility where we meet, or on any number of other obstacles that we can find, then the accomplishment of our mission will be limited accordingly. What we must constantly be mindful of is that God is not limited. Listen to Paul's admonition; "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8) The grace that he speaks of is the supply of that which we lack. It is that part which we must depend on Him to supply. It is not our responsibility to try to figure out how He is going to supply it. If we busy ourselves in that futile task, then we are not focusing on His abundance, but rather, we are focusing on the limitations of our own thinking.
When the Israelites stood on the threshold of the promised land, and heard news of a land flowing with milk and honey, their attention was drawn away from the abundance of that which God was ready to give to them, and their faith was shaken as their attention was drawn only to the giant people and the fortified, walled cities that they viewed as insurmountable obstacles. (Num. 13) Let us not repeat their fatal mistake. If God has given us a work to do, be assured that He can do it through us if we will believe. As God said to Jeremiah, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jer. 32:27)
- Gary V. Womack - January 2004

Centre In Which God? by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Centre In Which God?

I've been told that the vaguest word in the English language is the word "God". I don't know how they know such things but that's what some literary people I know tell us and I'm inclined to believe it.
There's a silly but popular view that makes the rounds that really is silly despite its popularity. It's the view that all religions are essentially the same. On the surface that looks like a deep remark but when you go deep it's really a very surface remark because there are many and profound differences between major religions. Their views of "the meaning" of life, death, existence, destiny, mission and, above all, God are widely different.
In a Western society where it seems the supreme virtue is religious tolerance some people tell us, "All these names are different names for the one God and we're all going in the same direction." You only have to allow these major faiths to tell their own story to know that's just not true. I often think that the people who tell us "it's all the same thing" are those who just can't be bothered with all the arguments and would like it to go away. Not being especially interested themselves they find it a bit tedious that others go on and on about it.
I know it is especially offensive in a pluralist society where everyone has a right to his or her own religious views for someone to stand up and say, "This is the one true God!" but that's just how the New Testament comes across. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6, "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth...yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
Can you imagine walking into a Greco-Roman province and saying that, in the face of all the idol temples and in the face of signs everywhere that said Caesar was Lord? He had his nerve that Paul, didn't he? But the truth is Paul had met the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ one day when he was on his way to kill off the followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 22:1-21) and now he was proclaiming what he was told to say.
And it was a strange Story right enough. He claimed that the one true God had shown himself in and as the crucified Jesus of Nazareth and that he had come to set the world right even as he had promised. And in the person of Jesus of Nazareth he underwent the world's great wrongs, suffered at the hands of sin and death and rose again to glorious immortality. He experienced all that in the individual called Jesus but, and this many feel to be even harder to believe, he did it in the name of humanity for our sake. What we see and hear to have happened in Christ is to be the destiny of all who belong to God through him. This is the one true God in whom we should centre our lives and thoughts--a God with a cross as his badge of honour and triumph who did it for his wayward humanity.

Bible Reading, Jan. 21

Jan. 21
Genesis 21

Gen 21:1 Yahweh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did to Sarah as he had spoken.
Gen 21:2 Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
Gen 21:3 Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.
Gen 21:4 Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
Gen 21:5 Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.
Gen 21:6 Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. EBveryone who hears will laugh with me."
Gen 21:7 She said, "Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."
Gen 21:8 The child grew, and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
Gen 21:9 Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.
Gen 21:10 Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this handmaid and her son! For the son of this handmaid will not be heir with my son, Isaac."
Gen 21:11 The thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son.
Gen 21:12 God said to Abraham, "Don't let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your handmaid. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For from Isaac will your seed be called.
Gen 21:13 I will also make a nation of the son of the handmaid, because he is your seed."
Gen 21:14 Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder; and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Gen 21:15 The water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
Gen 21:16 She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, "Don't let me see the death of the child." She sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.
Gen 21:17 God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Don't be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
Gen 21:18 Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand. For I will make him a great nation."
Gen 21:19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the bottle with water, and gave the boy drink.
Gen 21:20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the wilderness, and became, as he grew up, an archer.
Gen 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran. His mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.
Gen 21:22 It happened at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do.
Gen 21:23 Now, therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son. But according to the kindness that I have done to you, you shall do to me, and to the land in which you have lived as a foreigner."
Gen 21:24 Abraham said, "I will swear."
Gen 21:25 Abraham complained to Abimelech because of a water well, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.
Gen 21:26 Abimelech said, "I don't know who has done this thing. Neither did you tell me, neither did I hear of it, until today."
Gen 21:27 Abraham took sheep and cattle, and gave them to Abimelech. Those two made a covenant.
Gen 21:28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
Gen 21:29 Abimelech said to Abraham, "What do these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves mean?"
Gen 21:30 He said, "You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, that it may be a witness to me, that I have dug this well."
Gen 21:31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because they both swore there.
Gen 21:32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Abimelech rose up with Phicol, the captain of his army, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
Gen 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God.
Gen 21:34 Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines many days.

Jan. 21, 22
Matthew 11

Mat 11:1 It happened that when Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
Mat 11:2 Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
Mat 11:3 and said to him, "Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?"
Mat 11:4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
Mat 11:5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
Mat 11:6 Blessed is he who finds no occasion for stumbling in me."
Mat 11:7 As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Mat 11:8 But what did you go out to see? A man in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses.
Mat 11:9 But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet.
Mat 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
Mat 11:11 Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
Mat 11:12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14 If you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come.
Mat 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 11:16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions
Mat 11:17 and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you didn't dance. We mourned for you, and you didn't lament.'
Mat 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.'
Mat 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children."
Mat 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn't repent.
Mat 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Mat 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
Mat 11:23 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will go down to Hades. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until this day.
Mat 11:24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, on the day of judgment, than for you."
Mat 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.
Mat 11:26 Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight.
Mat 11:27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows the Son, except the Father; neither does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and he to whom the Son desires to reveal him.
Mat 11:28 "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

The Minor Prophets: Introduction, Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                   Introduction To The Minor Prophets


1. While Christians are not under the Old Testament as a system of 
   justification, the OT is of great value for us today...
   a. Written for our learning, it is a source of comfort and hope 
      - Ro 15:4
   b. Written for our admonition, we learn what mistakes to avoid 
      - 1Co 10:11
   c. As with all scripture inspired of God, it is profitable "for 
      doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in 
      righteousness" - cf. 2Ti 3:14-17

2. This is especially true with regard to "The Minor Prophets"...
   a. A collection of twelve books that make up the last part of the 
      Old Testament
   b. Beginning with Hosea, and ending with Malachi

3. Those willing to study these books will find their lives enriched as
   they increase...
   a. Their knowledge of God's holiness, righteousness, justice and 
   b. Their understanding of God's dealings in the nations of men
   c. Their appreciation of the Bible as a literary masterpiece

[With this lesson, we begin a series of studies in which we will survey
"The Minor Prophets". Before we examine our first book, some 
introductory material may prove helpful...]


      1. There was Moses, the lawgiver - Neh 8:1,14; 9:13-14; Jn 1:17;
      2. There were the priests, administrators of the law - Lev 10:
         8-11; Hos 4:6; Eze 22:26; Mal 2:7
      3. There were the wise men, who gave counsel - 2Sa 14:1-24; 
      4. There were the psalmists, poets who were the "sweet singers" 
         of Israel - cf. 2Sa 23:1; 1Ch 6:33
      5. There were the prophets, communicators of the Word of God

      1. Like Aaron was for his brother Moses - Exo 4:16; 7:1
      2. The word literally means "to boil up like a fountain"
      3. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, a prophet...
         a. Was a spokesman for God - 2Pe 1:21
         b. Was given something to say, and had to say it! - Jer 20:7-9
      4. A prophet was primarily a "forth-teller", though sometimes a 
         a. God's word often pertained to future events
         b. The fulfilled prophecies of these prophets are therefore a
            strong proof of inspiration
         -- But much of their word concerned not the future, but
            current events

      1. Early in Israel's history they were called "seers" - 1Sa 9:9
      2. Another appellation was "man of God" - 1Sa 9:6; 1Ki 17:18
      3. Also known as a "servant of God" - 1Ki 18:36; 1Ch 6:49
      4. They served as God's "messenger" - Isa 42:19
      5. They were also assigned the role of "watchman" - Eze 3:17; 

[The prophets were therefore servants of God, divinely appointed and 
inspired to proclaim His Word. At times, they were messengers of God's 
word as it applied to the present, serving as watchmen of the people of
God; other times, God's message pertained to the future, and as such 
they were "seers" of things to come.]


      1. The "oral" prophets are those who left no writings bearing 
         their names
         a. Such as Elijah and Elisha - cf. 1Ki 17; 2Ki 2
         b. Many others, including Nathan (2Sa 12), Gad (2 Sam 24:11), Ahijah (1Ki 11:29)
      2. Those who left books bearing their names are called the 
         "literary" prophets

      1. Augustine is credited with being the first to classify them in
         this way
      2. The distinction pertains only to the length of the books
         a. The "major prophets" include the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah,
            Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
         b. The "minor prophets" are those twelve books from Hosea to 

[As we consider the works of the "literary" prophets, we should note 
that the order of the books in our Bibles is not chronological.  
Therefore it may serve useful to review...]


Please note:  Dating the prophets is not without controversy, and with
some it can be very difficult. What I provide below are the estimates 
among many conservative scholars...

      1. Obadiah (ca. 845 B.C)
      2. Joel (ca 830 B.C.)
      3. Jonah (790-750 B.C.)
      -- This is during the period of "The Divided Kingdom" in Israel's
         history; to the north and east the empire of Assyria was 
         beginning to make its presence known in Israel

      1. Amos (755 B.C.)
      2. Hosea (750-725 B.C.)
      3. Isaiah (740-700 B.C.)
      4. Micah (735-700 B.C.)
      -- In 722 B.C., the northern kingdom of Israel was taken into 
         Assyrian captivity; these prophets were proclaiming God's 
         message as the nation was being threatened from the north

      1. Jeremiah (626-586 B.C.)
      2. Zephaniah (630-625 B.C.)
      3. Nahum (625-612 B.C.)
      4. Habakkuk (625-605 B.C.)
      -- Assyria was eventually defeated by Babylon; these prophets 
         served as God's messengers when the Babylonian empire 
         threatened the kingdom of Judah

      1. Ezekiel (593-570 B.C.)
      2. Daniel (605-536 B.C.)
      -- Like many of their countrymen, these prophets were taken into
         Babylonian captivity; from Babylon they served as God's 
         messengers to both captives and kings

      1. Haggai (520 B.C.)
      2. Zechariah (520-518 B.C.)
      3. Malachi (ca. 440 B.C.)
      -- After the Jews were allowed to return home from Babylonian 
         captivity, God used Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the 
         people to rebuild the temple; later, Malachi was used to 
         reform the priesthood during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah

[Finally, here are some thoughts on...]


      1. Seek to understand the political, social and religious 
         conditions of the times
         a. Any interpretation must consider how the message was 
            relevant for the people to whom the prophet spoke
         b. Secondary fulfillment of prophecy is often found in the NT,
            but this can be understood only when applied by inspired 
            writers of the NT
         c. Guard against making interpretations that are purely 
         d. Any application to modern events must be carefully 
            harmonized in light of the NT
      2. Consider God's relation to the heathen nations (i.e., other 
         than Israel and Judah)
         a. The prophets often revealed how God directed their destiny 
            and judged them
         b. This may provide insight as to how Christ rules the nations
            today! - cf. Mt 28:18; Re 1:5; 2:26;27
      3. Note any teaching regarding the Messiah and His coming kingdom
         - Ac 26:6-7; 28:20
         a. The immediate mission of most prophets was to save God's 
            people from idolatry and wickedness
         b. Failing that, they were sent to announce God's judgment and
            the coming destruction of the nation
         c. But many prophets left a message of hope for the future, 
            regarding the Messiah who would come and establish a 
            kingdom that could never be destroyed!
      1. The holiness of God - He is absolutely pure, righteous, just,
         merciful, tender, loving, and longsuffering
      2. The sovereignty of God - He rules the universe and is above
      3. The immutability of God's word
         a. He carries out His promises
         b. One can depend upon Him to act consistently with His Word
      4. The terribleness of sin
         a. God abhors iniquity, and will not tolerate, overlook, nor
            excuse it
         b. But He is willing to forgive those who humbly repent
      5. Repentance and righteousness
         a. This is the clarion call of the prophets
         b. Though severe is God's punishment of the wicked, yet God's
            mercy is great in loving kindness upon the righteous who 
            are of broken spirit and contrite heart
      6. The worship due God - The proper reverence, awe, and respect
         for God will cause one to praise Him and give thanks for His 
         wonderful grace and mercy!


1. Why study "The Minor Prophets"?
   a. This question was asked by a dear sister in Christ, when I 
      preached this series before
   b. She did not see the value of Christians studying this portion of
      the Old Testament
   c. Yet, she later remarked how much she got out of our study

2. Why study "The Minor Prophets"? Because in them we learn about...
   a. The nature of God, His holiness, justice, righteousness and mercy
   b. The workings of God, as He dealt with nations, bringing judgment
      upon the guilty
   ...which can help us in our relationship with God today, giving us 
      comfort and hope to face the future, knowing that God is in 
      ultimate control!
I hope this brief introduction has whetted your appetite to study "The 
Minor Prophets". Our next lesson will begin the study in earnest with
a look at the book of Obadiah...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011