The Minor Prophets have it tough. Not only did the people they were preaching to hate them, but now nobody reads their books.
We’ve all heard of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. But what about Haggai? Or Nahum? Or Zephaniah? Most of us can’t even pronounce their names right. But more importantly, their contribution to scripture and salvation history is overlooked by millions of Christians.
The Minor Prophets make up the last 12 books of the Old Testament: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
All of these prophets paint a portrait of who Yahweh is, because the nation of Israel somehow seems to forget … over and over and over again. Israel needs reminding, and we do, too. Here are how three of these prophets show us the grace of the coming Messiah:
- Hosea was told to marry a prostitute and then take her back when she inevitably cheated on him. Through his actual life circumstances, Hosea was stepping into the role of God who married an unfaithful woman, Israel. And what does God do? He takes her back. Does she deserve it? No. Will God take us back? Yes. Do we deserve it? No.
- Micah was given the pleasant task of proclaiming the word of the Lord to an oppressive, idolatrous, and unrepentant generation of Israelites. But his message included a reference to a future shepherd-king who would save God’s undeserving people. This savior would give undeserved grace and full forgiveness to those who turned to him in repentance. He would defeat the enemy. People from around the world would come to worship the God of Israel. And let’s not forget—this shepherd king would rise up out of Bethlehem.
- Zechariah was a prophet and priest. He was granted the difficult task of receiving a series of vivid and complicated visions. Fortunately for him, and for us, an angel was sent to interpret what he saw. Over and over again, we are pointed to the branch who would come, to the messianic offspring of David, to the day when a good shepherd would suffer for his sheep. He would remove sin and purify God’s people. You may not have read the 14 short chapters that make up this small Old Testament book, but you better believe Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, John, and every other apostle in the New Testament did because Zechariah is quoted more times in the New Testament than nearly every other Old Testament book.
Who knew that these boring, minor books would have such meaningful messages that all point to Jesus? The next time you need to be encouraged about God’s great story, park your ribbon bookmark in one of these 12 under-read books of the Bible.
Find Jesus in the minor places.
Corum Hughes works on the production team for Haven Today. Drawing from his experiences in managing a McDonald’s, working in mental health, and watching lots and lots of movies—Corum seeks to find Jesus in places he is seldom sought.