Encouraging the disheartened is important for a body of Christians. Enduring tough times is too. And worshipping is equally essential. A church needs all three…but a ministry is incomplete unless there is also the presence of learning. Healthy, vibrant flocks are kept in that condition by a continual emphasis on the discovery of new truth as well as the review of old truths. Such emphases give our faith stability and substance.
Sometimes the simplest messages are the most difficult to obey. One such message is only two words. What is this message? Well, in plain and simple language: Trust God! Easy to say, hard to do.
It’s not about the change in the weather, how young or old you are, or any other circumstance. None of these things matter. Life is to be celebrated, not merely endured.
Malachi was the last call of the Old Testament. Prophesying after the days of Nehemiah, Malachi witnessed the settled, stagnant, corrupt indifference of God’s people, which the prophet deplored. The people’s intermarrying with foreigners (non-Jews), neglecting to pay tithes, and offering blemished sacrifices at the altar caused Malachi to confront and warm them of the consequences of their actions.
The prophet Haggai had led the way in rebuilding the temple…but the people lost focus during the process. The prophet Zechariah rolled up his sleeves and plunged, with reckless abandon, into the work of helping his friend Haggai. But Zechariah’s style was very different. Rather than rebuking the workers, he relied on words of inspiration and positive encouragement to motivate the people.
Haggai was God’s spokesman sent to awaken and arouse the post-captivity Jews from their lethargy. With determined focus, he pursued one major goal: to complete the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. He was a “get it done” leader; a highly motivated man who attacked indifference as the enemy it was. Haggai (and later Zechariah) was used by the Lord to afflict the comfortable, convincing them there was no excuse for delay.
In the first section of Zephaniah’s book he announced sure judgment with a simple yet forceful style. Then, in the second section, he tenderly prophesied that God would send relief and blessings on His people. Through it all, Zephaniah emerged as a choice prophet in a long line of tough and tender men.
Can we trust modern-day seers? Should we listen when they predict the coming of Christ and the end of the world? And when their message doesn’t square with Scripture, what should we believe? Is there a prophet we can trust? In this timely and timeless message, Chuck Swindoll answers these questions and gives us a checklist of what we should look for in a trustworthy prophet.
Habakkuk, witnessing the evils around him, wrestled with God’s seemingly indifferent attitude. It was an offensive contradiction to His holy nature. But when God revealed His plan, an even greater problem arose. So Habakkuk decided to get alone and wait for his mind to clear. God gave him a fresh vision…hope beyond his despair, which resulted in a time of meaningful prayer as Habakkuk praised the awesome Lord of heaven and earth.
One hundred years after Jonah’s visit, Nahum wrote to the next generations living in Nineveh, announcing judgment because those who had been converted in Jonah’s time had refused to pass on to their children and grandchildren (the people of Nahum’s day) the knowledge and fear of the true God. Negligence led to this terrible consequence. The result? God had to destroy such an apostate people.