The next cab off the rank is Habakkuk, in our Old Testament Minor Prophet series.
Not a lot is known about the prophet himself. Yet we do have a fair bit of information about his heart… he is deeply concerned as to why God allows a wicked nation to punish Israel. God assures the prophet that he cannot stand wickedness in any form and that both nations are under judgement. Habakkuk does not fully understand this answer, but in the end, he comes to a sense of trust in God's wisdom and justice.
It’s easy to appropriate this book for our own life and times. These are big questions, which lead to many more questions. But like Habakkuk found out, God is to be trusted and he is faithful. While we don’t see everything we know that God does – this is where faith comes in.
And that’s why we are called to walk by faith and not by sight.
We pick up again our ongoing theme on the Old Testament Minor Prophets. This week’s book is Nahum. I wonder how many of us have read Nahum? The second verse is quite a challenge to read and comprehend! Written as a litany against Nineveh – indeed as a prophecy for Nineveh’s destruction.
Nahum’s name means comfort – which is exactly what this message brought to the people of Judah. Particularly as they were under Assyrian rule (Nineveh was the capital).
It’s easy to apply that message to our lives. We love to think about the God who delivers us from the many things oppressing us. This is one aspect of God's character that we should rejoice in – God cares for his people. But we should always remember it’s on Gods terms and in God's time. God was looking for obedience from Judah – as he does from us. Even so the one truth remains – we worship a great God who loves, cares and frees us!
In a few weeks’ time Pledge Sunday will be upon us. So yet again I’m interrupting my small series on the Minor Prophets to talk about what’s before Seeds Church at the present moment.
What we have sketched is a great draft plan for what a renovated building could be like. Overall it seems to be ‘about right’ to quote David Sharp.
But it is a significant challenge for us to fund it. I want to encourage all of us to not despise the small things. Each and every gift, no matter how small or even how big, matter. They matter because God knows the attitudes of our heart. They matter because combined, together, they all add to make a huge difference.
It is this point in our history that we can shape the future. Every gift adds to the next one and all the little bits add to the whole. That’s how we get the full picture.
Our next minor prophet to examine holds one of the most quoted verses in the Old Testament. His name is Micah and is commonly famous for 6:8 “…what does the Lord require of you…?” Yet in this focus we miss the main point of the whole book. Micah's prophecy concerns the sins of the nation and signals that looming judgement is at hand represented by Assyria and Babylon.
He points out that their sins of idolatry, corruption, failure of leadership and violence is soon about to be judged. But forgiveness can be found in God's faithfulness to his covenantal promises.
Far too often, like the people of old we minimise the impact of sin in our lives. We say ‘it doesn’t matter’ or ‘it’s only a little thing’. Yet we forget that we worship and serve a holy God. But in all of this we have a saviour, one to go to with our confession and receive forgiveness and reconciliation.
It is the most amazing thing!
We hit a well-known friend in our walk through of the Minor Prophets. His name is Jonah and if you haven’t seen the veggie tales retelling of this story then it’s worth a look.
Jonah had a message to a people that he feared and he didn’t want to tell it, so he ran away. God stopped his running and promptly turned him around with the help of a big fish. Unfathomable to Jonah, the intended recipients of the message actually listen and obey, much to Jonah’s chagrin.
Following the way of God is not always easy, in fact it is rarely easy. But God has a role for each of us to play. While we might not be swallowed by a big fish, God expects obedience from his people. But following his ways often brings unexpected results.
We serve a big God, with a big heart!