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Bible

Posts about the Minor Prophets

For the past several months, most of the A Bible A Day posts have been about the minor prophets.  Recall that they are called “minor” not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!

Though more posts may be added in the future, there are no more planned at this time.  See all posts about the Minor Prophets, or look at specific ones:

  1. Hosea
  2. Joel
  3. Amos
  4. Obadiah
  5. Jonah
  6. Micah
  7. Nahum
  8. Habakkuk
  9. Zephaniah
  10. Haggai
  11. Zechariah
  12. Malachi

Read more about the Minor Prophets on ABibleADay.com.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

As part of your Christmas celebrations, don’t forget what Christmas is all about — Jesus.  Read or re-read the Christmas story.

May you and your family and friends have a wonderful Christmas.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

God’s Spirit To Be Poured Out On All People

Many passages in the New Testament of the Bible quote parts of the Old Testament, which was written hundreds of years before.  In some versions of the Bible, footnotes — added by the translators — refer us to the original text.

One verse, however, cites the source from the text.  It is in the book of Acts, where Peter directly references what the prophet Joel said.  Here’s what happened:

Jesus tells the disciples that he will send the Holy Spirit to them to help and guide them.  The Holy Spirit shows up and things get crazy: there’s the sound of a strong wind, the appearance of flames of fire, and the disciples start preaching in other languages.

The people freak out and blame it on too much wine.

Peter sets things straight by showing that this was foretold by the prophet Joel: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”

Joel says it would happen, Peter and his buddies experience it, and things are forever changed: the Holy Spirit is given to all.  Yes, all.  That means them and it means us — you and me; all.  As a result crazy things can happen for us, too!

[See Acts 2:1-13, Acts 2:16-18, and Joel 2:28-29.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Zephaniah and the Flood?

A quick read of the beginning of the book of Zephaniah sounds a lot like Noah and the flood: “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

“I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea.  The wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

Aside from the minor issue that fish won’t likely be destroyed by a flood, the main problem is that this passage foretells a future event, but Noah and flood happened centuries before.

The flood was God’s judgment over rampant evil in the world.  The righteous were saved, the wicked were not.

According to Zephaniah there will be another time of judgment.  Jesus talks about this, too.  Although God promises he will never again destroy the world with a flood, he doesn’t preclude using other means.

We don’t know when this will occur, but there is no need to worry for those who follow Jesus.

[See Zephaniah 1:2-3, 2 Peter 2:5, Luke 17:26-27, Genesis 9:11, and John 12:26.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

So, What Does God Think of Prostitutes?

While I can’t definitively answer this question about prostitutes, the Bible does give a clear indication — and the answer may surprise you.

Through the prophet Hosea, God says: “I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution…because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes — a people without understanding will come to ruin!”

In economic terms, there needs to be both supply and demand for a “market” to exist.  This applies to prostitution.  Although both society and law enforcement tend to focus on the “supply” side of the prostitution equation, God’s focus seems to be on the “demand” side.

In God’s book, it’s the guys who are at fault and the guys who will come to ruin over prostitution.  While sexual purity is a reoccurring theme in the Bible, in this case the ladies are offered mercy, but not so much for the guys.

Isn’t God wonderfully surprising?

[See Hosea 4:14.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

God Gives Us Options

In the book of Hosea, God calls the young man, Hosea, to be his prophet — telling him to marry a prostitute, (see “Hosea Shows Us God’s Unconditional Love”).  This is one of God’s most scandalous directives.

What is intriguing is that God does not indicate which prostitute.  The choice is left to Hosea!  While he could have opted for the first one he saw, picked one at random, or altruistically selected the one who was most needy or deserving of being rescued, I suspect he did none of those. 

Remember, Hosea is a guy; he most likely chose the most attractive, most alluring prostitute!  If that is correct, the story becomes even more shocking.

But God does give us choices.  When God tells us to do something, either through the Bible or the Holy Spirit, it is usually in bold strokes; he gives the big picture, such as feed the poor, care for the sick, or take care of orphans and widows.  The details are left to us. 

We determine how we comply.  We can factor in our personality, our resources, our preferences, and, yes, even our passions in determining how we do what God tells us.

[See Hosea 1:2-3.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

The Error of Edom

The short book of Obadiah is a stinging rebuke to the nation of Edom, not for what they overtly did, but for what they did indirectly: for a failure to act, for smug attitudes, and for capitalizing on the wrong actions of others.

Even though they did not directly do wrong, the outcome is quite clear: “As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.”

A few centuries later, Paul teaches the same lesson: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.”

Hosea phrases this in the positive: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love”

However, Jesus said it best: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

More succinctly, in what we call the Golden Rule, Jesus also said: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Yes, good words to live by.

[See Obadiah 1:11-15, Galatians 6:7, Hosea 10:12, Luke 6:37-39, and Matthew 7:12.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

What Do You Really Rely Upon?

The short Old Testament book of Zephaniah opens with an apocalyptic prophecy.  Amidst the forth-telling of doom and gloom is the reminder that “neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them.”

The Message Bible puts in more directly: “Don’t plan on buying your way out. Your money is worthless for this.”

What do we really depend on to save us from disaster?  For most people, there is the real answer and the right answer — and they’re not always the same answer.

When things go bad, really bad, the end-of-time-bad, money’s not the answer, neither are things, nor power, nor influence, not even family and friends.  We inherently know that ultimately only a higher power can save us, only God is the answer for life’s final question.

We know that, but do we actually believe it?  Do we actually live it?

Don’t depend on the wrong things — there are eternal consequences on stake.

[See Zephaniah 1:18.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

What’s the Deal with Levi?

Levi was one of Jacob’s sons (the third of twelve).  The Bible doesn’t tell us much about him; what it does say, doesn’t bode well.

The short version is that Levi’s sister, Dinah is raped.  Levi and brother Simeon exact revenge by killing the perpetrator, his family, and the whole village, plus taking all their stuff.  Levi’s version of justice far exceeds the crime — and father Jacob is ticked (Genesis 34:1-5, 25-31).

Jacob doesn’t forget this incident either.  On his deathbed he gathers his sons to prophetically tell them their future.  This would be a time of expected blessing.  Not so for Levi (along with Simeon).  Because of their misdeed, Jacob essentially curses them (Genesis 49:1, 5-7).

Interestingly, many centuries later God — through the prophet Malachi — reveals what he thinks of Levi, saying “True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness and turned many from sin” (Malachi 2:6.)

God’s view of Levi is certainly different than Jacob’s.  While Jacob focuses on the bad and can’t forget it, God forgets the bad and focuses on the good.

When we follow God, that’s what he does.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Q and A with God

In the short book of Malachi, there is a reoccurring phrase “but you ask” (along with a few variations thereof).  This turns into a Question and Answer monologue, with God voicing the people’s unspoken questions and then responding; Malachi records the whole thing. 

Although Malachi’s culture is vastly different from our reality, there are still lessons we can learn — if we are willing.

Q: How have you loved us?
A: Consider your ancestors Jacob and Esau.  I loved Jacob and hated Esau.  Do you get it now?  [Malachi 1:2-3]

Q: How have we shown contempt for your name?
A: By giving me defiled offerings. [Malachi 1:6-7]

Q: How have we defiled you?
A: By giving to me what is not suitable for anyone else. [Malachi 1:7-8]

Q: Why do you no longer pay attention to our offerings or accept them?
A: You have been unfaithful to your wife and broken your marriage vows.  [Malachi 2:13-14]

Q: How have we wearied you?
A: By doing bad, yet claiming it is good and pleases me.  [Malachi 2:17]

Q: How are we to return to you?
A: Stop robbing me.  [Malachi 3:7-8]

Q: How do we rob you?
A: By withholding some of your tithes and offerings.  [Malachi 3:8-10]

Q: What have we said against you?
A: By saying it is futile to serve me when I don’t bless you for doing what is expected.  [Malachi 3:13-14]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.