Module 14: The 8th Century Prophets: Declaring the Heart of God to the Nations
In this module we meet the prince of prophets, Isaiah, along with the other prophets of the 8th century. Both Isaiah and Micah call the Southern Kings to put their trust in God as the One that will bring salvation to the nation, and indeed, to the nations! Joel calls the nation to return to the Lord and the prophet Jonah reveals God as the One who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The justice of God is shown through the prophet Nahum. The study of Kings is a prerequisite for this module.
As you engage with this prince of prophets, you encounter a very dark period of Israel’s history, the glorious hope of the coming Messiah emerging, and amazing salvation brought by YHWH when his people trust in him. The call to faith in impossible situations will ring through into your own personal circumstances.
Although the unity of authorship for the whole of Isaiah is held, the setting of chapters 40-66 is within the Babylonian Exile. As you prepare for this portion of the book it is well worth reading Lamentations or Psalm 137. With the grief of a broken people fresh in your heart, you will encounter the comfort of a forgiving God. You will understand the importance of the magnificent poetry written by the prophet, and how the prophetic statements of Isaiah prove the superiority of YHWH over the idols of the nations. You will encounter the Servant of YHWH, and be changed forever!
In Micah, you enter the court room of heaven and hear the indictment of God against his people. As the evidence is presented, you will be aware of how contemporary these charges are, and the consequences of such sin. But you will also find these pages are threaded with hope, and a God who pardons the penitent.
Is the army a plague of locusts, or is it an invading army? As you study this prophet and read of the judgment pronounced you will be humbled by God’s passionate desire for repentance and change, so God can restore and bless… and pour out his Spirit.
Jonah, the reluctant prophet to a violent and cruel people! As you reflect on what is probably the most well-known of the Minor Prophets, you will encounter the missionary God, the God of mercy for all nations.
In Nahum, the counterpart of Jonah, you encounter the same God of mercy, who is also the God of Justice. When there is repentance, God is quick to show mercy, but when there is rebellion, corruption and violence, judgment will eventually come.