Matthew is the first book in the N.T. for good reason. The goal of the book is to present Jesus as a continuation and fulfillment of the O.T. Matthew is a Gospel account written by a Jew, to Jews about a Jew. So it's perfectly within the focus of this book for Jesus to be presented as Messiah, Teacher and Emmanuel.
Malachi was a prophet that challenged God's people who were a part of the remnant who returned from captivity. Despite God's love and goodness, they questioned their relationship with him. Having drifted into spiritual and moral decline, Malachi answers their questions and, in a hint of what is to come, teaches God has a plan for the future.
The next to the last book of the O.T. is the most difficult of the Minor Prophets. It's also the longest. The difficulty is not in the length but the interpretation of the visions and prophecies regarding God's Holy City and his people. Zechariah is truly messianic, apocalyptic and eschatological. We address these topics briefly and look at the central theme of encouragement in this book.
The book of Haggai has a very contemporary message: put first things first. Ironically, it was originally given to people a lot like us. There were people who would have agreed God is paramount, but they weren't acting like he was. In this lesson, we observe three ways we can make sure God is really first in our lives.
The book of Zephaniah deals with the unpleasant subject of God's judgment. It is specifically mentioned in 1 out of every 3 verses but also the majority of the three short chapters of this book stay on the subject. Yet, a study of Zephaniah is beneficial in that it reveals that God's judgment reveals purification, hope and a promise of a future kingdom where Jesus rules and saves.
If you've ever wanted to ask God some questions about your concerns, you have something in common with the prophet Habakkuk. Amazingly, this prophet has a conversation with God. God hears his questions, answers them and then allows him to be comforted in the reassurance that although it seems like God has lost control of the world, he really hasn't.
In 100 years a lot can happen. Such was the case for the Assyrian city of Nineveh. The city repented at the preaching of Jonah, but now Nahum spells out her doom because she regressed back into sin. This prophecy is a "consolation" (the meaning of Nahum's name) for Judah to know God remembers his people and punishes his enemies.
Isaiah and Micah were contemporaries who preached and prophesied to Judah, the southern kingdom. While being a "country prophet" Micah argued God's case like a big city lawyer. Three sermons make up the seven chapters of this book. In each sermon, there is "judgment" and "hope." We also highlight the well-know Micah 6:8 passage and explain how it fits into the context of the overall book.
Jonah is really a book about God! While Jonah is often considered a "hero" in children's literature, he really was the reluctant prophet. The greatness of this story is how God does great things despite Jonah. God is willing to save even when we don't think people are worth saving.
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. Yet, its 21 verses contain an important message. The descendants of Esau, the Edomites, made a number of blunders. This book is the judgment of the Lord concerning them and a reminder for us today to learn from them. Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe on YouTube