Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lecture Two: Minor Prophets and the Assyrian Demise

The Book of Micah

Background of the Book of Micah

The name Micah is actually a shorter version of the name Micaiah, which means “who is like Yahweh?”

Micah’s hometown was Moresheth, which is about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

The general consensus of scholars is that Micah ministered between 742 and 687 B.C., during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Some scholars argue that Micah was strictly during the reign of Hezekiah.

Biblical References

Micah 1:1 - “The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah – the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.”

Jeremiah 26:18 - “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah.”

Political and Historical Setting

Judah was in a state similar to how Israel is divided between east and west today.

Pro-Egyptian and pro-Assyrian parties vied for attention of Hezekiah

Citizens of Judah were corrupt

“He attacks the same ruthless expropriation of the peasant farmer, the same dishonesty in the judges and the ruling classes, the same idolatry, sapping morale and destroying morality; the same debatment of the priesthood” (Marsh).

Shapes his meaning to address all the current corruption, as well as the false confidence of the people in God’s protection of Judah

Extra-Biblical Resources

Very little known about the prophet Micah.

One hypothesis to who the author(s) is(are) is that the first three chapters were definitely written by Micah himself, but most of chapters four through seven were written by another source.

Micah 1

Starts off by saying the LORD came to Micah

He had the vision concerning Samaria and Jerusalem

Micah starts warning the people that the LORD will bear witness against them

Micah 1:3-7

Judgment against Samaria and Jerusalem

Micah explains that God is coming down because of the sins of Samaria and Israel

Micah explains that the LORD will make Samaria a “heap of rubble”

Micah 1:8-16

Micah weeps and mourns for Samaria

Samaria’s plague of sin is considered “incurable” by Micah and is spreading to Judah and Jerusalem

Micah explains to the people that they need to mourn as well

Micah 2:1-5

Human plans and God’s plans

Micah feels sorry for the people who plan evil and carry out on it

The LORD plans disaster for those people

Those people will no longer walk proudly

They will be ridiculed and the possessions of God’s people will be divided and He will “assign their field to traitors.”

Micah 2:6-11

False prophets

Micah explains how false prophets “steal the robe” without care from those who pass by

These prophets drive the women away from their homes

They take away blessings from the children forever

Micah commands them to go away because they have ruined the place his people reside

Micah 2:12-13

The LORD promises deliverance

The LORD says that He will gather all of the people of Jacob and He will bring together the remnant of Israel

He will bring them together “like sheep in a pen, like flock in a pasture”

“The One” who breaks open the way will go up before them

Their King will pass through before them, the LORD at their head

Micah 3:1-12

Leaders and prophets rebuked

Micah says to the “heads” and “judges” of Jacob and Israel that they will receive justice for hating good, loving evil, and destroying Micah’s people.

Those people will then call out to the LORD, but He will not answer them.

The LORD says to false prophets who have led people astray for their own benefits that they will be ashamed and disgraced

They will cover their faces because there is no answer from God

Micah then says that because of false leaders, Zion will be “plowed like a field,” Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,” and the Temple Mount will become “overgrown with thickets.”

Various Topics of Micah 4-7

The Mountain of the LORD

"In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
    as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,

    and peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will come and say,
'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,

    so that we may walk in his paths.'
The law will go out from Zion,

    the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
-- Micah 4:1-2

Reconciliation of Israel

Judgment and exile of Israel

Messianic Prophecy

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me

    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,

    from ancient times.”
-- Micah 5:2

Israel triumphing over enemies

God destroying war and idols

God’s case against Israel

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy

    and to walk humbly with your God."
-- Micah 6:8

Praise and hope in God

Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever

    but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;

    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be faithful to Jacob,

    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors

    in days long ago.
-- Micah 7:18-20

Biblical Truths

God is seen as a shepherd (2:12-13, 4:6-8)

Leading His people to freedom

Heals and saves

God’s faithfulness (7:1-7)

Even through our sinfulness, God remains faithful

The Covenant God

Personal Level

False prophets

Deciding who to believe and what to follow

Turning to earthly leaders

Need to trust God with all things

Forgetting the meaning of worship

Need renewal and sincerity

Swords into plowshares

Not just prophecy: a lifestyle



Desire for land
“They covet fields and seize them” (2:2)
Cause of wars
Social collapse and decline
Cheating people in markets
No permanence of land


Focus shouldn’t be for more
Focus on the call of God



Injustice in the marketplace
Rich buy justice
Lack of justice means no protection for the weak
“Its heads give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money” (3:11)


Justice holds societies together
Justice in ministry (3:5-8)
Justice in government (3:9-12)
Justice is needed in courts
“Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?” (3:1)

Lack of Vision


Micah gives a vision of the possible world to come
Israel knows what the LORD wants but turned away from it
“He has shown you, o man, what is good…” (6:8)
They want peace and harmony but instead have war and strife


We need to grasp and embody this vision as God’s people
We know what he wants from us
We must take action and transform the world we know
Dietrich Bonheoffer, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Final Thoughts

We must see the perversion and corruption in the world in order to change it.

Practice the virtues God gave to us: Act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God (6:8).

The Church must stand against perversion in teachings and be an example to the world.

The Book of Joel


The exact time of Joel’s life is uncertain.

Some scholars list him as the earliest of the minor prophets, some list him as the latest, and many place him somewhere in the middle.

Joel is placed as the second of the twelve prophets in the Hebrew canon.

Joel possibly lived in the 8th century B.C.

He may have prophesied in the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the period of The Divided Kingdom from 792-740 B.C.

His book likely did not reach its final redacted state until much later.

If these are the correct dates for Joel’s ministry, then he would have ministered during the reign of King Uzziah (aka Azariah) of Judah.

King Uzziah ruled for 52 years and died of leprosy.

The prophet Isaiah began his ministry “in the year that King Uzziah died.”

“The Ammonites paid annual tribute to him, and his fame spread even to Egypt, for he had become very powerful.”
-- 2nd Chronicles 26:8

Judah was experiencing tremendous expansion militarily, administratively, commercially, and economically.
The southern kingdom (Judah) was undergoing a period of expansion, filled with constant changes, which would have affected Joel’s ministry.

How did Judah affect how Joel ministered?

Natural Disasters:

Plague of Locust

Severe Drought

Purpose for his ministry: Judgment/Grace of God

Encourage the people and leaders to gather for fellowship and prayer.

Challenge people to repent

Record God’s prophetic message of encouragement and blessing for those who sincerely repented

From Joel and this time period, we can learn:

God’s call for the sinners’ repentance (2:12-14)

The wisdom a follower of God should uphold in times of great crisis (plague, drought)

Foreshadowing of Christ’s coming (2:31)

God’s amazing grace to sinners

The Message

Main Theological Message:

A judgment on Israel

A call to repent

The day of the LORD is coming

Restoration of Israel

Chapter One

Main Message:

The call for Israel to repent

The invasion of the locusts foreshadowing the Day of the LORD

Could have been literal or figurative

Grain, wine, and oil
Joy in Israel
Worship in the Temple

The exact sin of the people is not identified

God is giving His people a chance to repent and turn from their wicked ways

“Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.”
-- Joel 1:14

Chapter Two

Main Message

God’s mercy

He pleads with Israel to turn to Him

Highlights His grace, forgiveness, and restoration

He is jealous for His people

Zion is mentioned 7 seven times

Chapter Three

Main Message

Restoration for Israel and judgment on the nations who are against Israel


Biblical and General Truths

You can be renewed

“...renew their connection with the LORD”

Destruction is only temporary

Temple is destroyed, but not religious significance

One can pray to the LORD even when the Temple is in ruins

“Rend your hearts and not your garments!”

To rend: “to tear, split, or lacerate, usually clothing or hair, as a sign of anger, grief, or despair”

Examine your own heart (not your outward appearance)

Personal Message

Know that the LORD is compassionate

Do not despair or turn your back on Him

God will renew your soul on any level of destruction

Corporate Message

Live in a community of faith, work together

“Let all fighting men draw near and attack.”

The Book of Nahum

Background Information

Meaning of Nahum:

Consoled, Comforted, Reassured


Between 663-612 B.C.

Assumed to have ministered during Assyria’s domination over Judah.

Nineveh was destroyed in 612 B.C.

This date gives a rough estimate of Nahum’s time frame of prophesy.

In Nahum 3:8-10 the prophet speaks of the fall of the city of Thebes which was in Upper Egypt.

This prophecy must have been written after this time but not too long after because Thebes quickly recovered which would have been a bad example for the people of Nineveh.

The people of Nineveh had repented of their previous repentance and needed more discipline.

God’s measure is clear: Although He is forgiving, He will still settle His accounts by His wrath!


Little known about Nahum

Called an Elkoshite

Elkosh location unknown, assumed to be Capernaum (“the village of Nahum”)

He warned Nineveh of God’s wrath

Setting continued

Jonah warns Nineveh

They repent

God spares their lives

Nineveh is wicked again


The Ninevite ruins



Nahum’s Message

Nahum was sent to foretell the destruction of evil Nineveh to the people.

Nahum 1:3 says that “the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.”

The book of Nahum ends with this: “Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the  news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?”

Assyrians had set themselves up against God, and God’s anger was upon them.

Assyrians would be defeated by God

Nineveh will be completely destroyed

Criticizes Assyrian policies

For going against God’s will

“Violent disruption” will take place

People of Nineveh didn’t believe that judgment was coming. In fact, they laughed at the prophet!


Nahum was dedicated to a goal:

Get rid of hopelessness

Persuade his listeners

Salvation is coming

“Light at the end of the tunnel”

Divine holiness, vengeance, and mercy result in:

Destruction of the wicked (Nahum 1:2)

Salvation of the oppressed (Nahum 1:15, 22)


Three important truths Nahum teaches us

The universality of God’s Kingdom. The LORD rules among the nations.

God’s government has a retributive character. As Nineveh sowed, so must Nineveh reap.

God’s universal government is subordinate to the LORD’s scheme of grace.

Nahum in the Light of Scripture as a Whole

The LORD is jealous and avenging (Nahum 1:2)

God is just and brings punishment (Nahum 1:3)

The LORD is good and cares for those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7, Psalm 34:22)

The LORD is merciful (Romans 9:22)

Theology and Behavior:

Repentance is not a one-time deal

Nineveh may have repented once, but turned back to their ways

This is not a prosperity Gospel

The Israelites were punished because of their wickedness

Nahum and the Gospel:

God’s perfect justice is demonstrated in this book. His hate for sin is evident.

This book reminds us of God’s extreme hate towards sin because it is an offense against Him.

Nineveh offended Him through their sin and through their ignorance of their first warning of destruction.

God’s holiness is perfectly displayed because of His judgment on the wicked.

How it applies to us:

The Gospel displays God’s holiness, our sinfulness, and His great mercy and grace.

God has given us “a second chance” through the sacrifice of Christ.

This sacrifice ultimately brings glory to God.

We are to not only take delight in God, but we should hold each other accountable to God’s commandments and live holy lives through the Spirit.


Special Thanks

Susanna Lovik
Elise Jordan
Samie Neil
Anna Hoekstra

Cody Harper
Ryan Hull
Zachary Rivett
Joel Andrade

Mark Cooper
Paige Winters
Morgan Bandemer
Yossett Droz

Chase Childs
Kaitlyn Roberts
Libby Ganzsarto
Christelle Petersen

Kristen Cornish
Mindi Crangle
Jenna Klimt
Kayla Mueller
Abbie McKay

Chandler Tuckerman
Mark Fleschner 
Ryan Muzljakovich
Taylor Menzel
Abbie Gillett

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