We continue with our series on the Minor Prophets and what they were saying to their communities.
This week we are up to the prophet Joel. Essentially Joel calls the people of Judah and Jerusalem to lament and return to the Lord. It is a time of great national catastrophe symbolised by a locust plague and embodied by the Day of the Lord. Yet this ‘day’ also holds hope for those who trust in God. God’s covenant faithfulness is seen by his dwelling with his people and his Spirit on all people.
We often see great calamities around us and we wonder where God is in all of this. We too, long for a final judgement where all things will be made right. But it’s only because of Jesus and his gift of our right standing that we are in relationship with God. We are the blessed ones to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit as God's actual presence with us.
Joel is well worth a read.
Hosea the prophet lived and spoke around the 750 BCE mark. It was a tough time in Israel’s history and dark clouds were on the horizon. Hosea’s ministry was to show, with example of his own life, how Israel had walked away from God and how much God wanted them back – indeed how faithful God was to the unfaithful.
Using his own marriage Hosea embodied the broken heart of God for his wayward people. The book reflects the boundless and changeless love that God has for this nation. It also highlights how far Israel had degenerated by chasing after false gods.
While there is much more in the book, it reminds us that God is faithful, that God longs for a relationship with us and that God is broken hearted when we turn from him. It also says that our actions have repercussions on others, including God.
I encourage you to read the book of Hosea!
I’m not sure if you have ever looked at much of the Minor Prophets. They are found at the back end of the Old Testament. These are the 12 last books of the Old Testament.
They are called ‘minor’ only because of the length of their writings not because of the importance of their message. In terms of themes, it appears the twelve books can be split into two: the first group posing the problem and the second group proposing resolutions. They come out of a unique period in Israel’s history and speak to a particular problem.
Over the next few weeks I want to take a brief look at each book and see what they say to us now. Hopefully it will spur you on to read these books and to see for yourself their contemporary relevance. It is my undying belief that Gods word still speaks – even today.
Next week (Friday the 15th at XS and Sunday the 17th at both morning services) we will be celebrating with quite a few people who will be baptised! These people want to publicly affirm they’ve decided to follow Jesus.
It is a great joy for us as a church to witness this. To see people following Jesus and to see new believers put themselves in a public place where the claim his Lordship over all things. Come prepared to celebrate! Come prepared to give glory to God!
Come prepared to be reminded too of your own baptism. For when we see the baptism of others we are meant to remember our choice to follow Jesus and to proclaim him Lord over everything. This is why we make baptism public events, all of us need to be encouraged in our walk of faith.
Jesus is alive and working right now!
I want to use this communication to thank all those who worked so hard at our many events over Easter. If I roll my mind back over the weekend, I am honoured to know just how many people served and helped and put their shoulder to the wheel.
Easter camp requires a massive amount of effort and I am deeply grateful for those who were up there and who served our youth. Thank you so much.
Over the weekend, at our four services we had a large number of volunteers as well. From welcomers, to musicians, to children’s ministry and all parts that contributed to the whole. Thank you so much.
It certainly takes a big team, and everyone’s part is valued and needed.
If that was you and you were a part of the Easter weekend - thank you so much.
All of us are deeply grateful.