The book of Obadiah ends with a sweet, seven-word promise--"and the Kingdom shall be the Lord's." This means that at the end of the day, God Himself will rule over all! Why is this truth comforting to you? Describe what you think God's rule will be like. Share your description with someone.
The book of Jonah begins with a haunting words, "to go...away from the presence of the Lord." Now it is absolutely comical that Jonah believes he can run from God's presence and yet this is not a foreign practice to any of us. What have been some major occurrences of you running from the Lord? List them out.
We know that the sin of running is not one that only happens in our past, but many of us are still running in some ways. List the ways you continue to run from God.
God appoints prophets to speak the word to many people. In this book the prophet decides to not obey. So God "appoints" a fish to swallow him up. Jonah should have been drowned in wrath, but was swallowed up by grace. This is the story for all of us. Take a moment to just thank God for His grace in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
(Jonah)—Our Repentance and God's Patience
Jonah's Sermon only lasted for a few words, and then it was over. Have you ever seen God have someone respond so quickly to your message? What was that like? What does your repentance before God normally look like now? If there is anything you need to repent of, simply get on your knees at this moment, and ask God for forgiveness.
God turned away from wrath after they repented. What amazing grace. Often we magnify God but don't mimic Him. Yet we are called to do so throughout Scripture. When have you been vengeful in your life and not 'relented from disaster' for much less? Jonah was angry with the Lord's grace towards others. This was born out of racism and an understanding of their evil. Who do you need to extend the grace of God to?
The major difference between the plant that God had eaten by a worm, and the people of Nineveh is that the plant never received a warning. How has God been patient with you in warning you of the disaster to come?
J. G. McConville says "The book of Micah seeks to understand the destiny of Israel in light of Israel's theological heritage" In other words it looks back to look forward. Take a moment to write down what you know of your Christian heritage. We often spend time diving deep into our physical family tree, but rarely take time to do so with our spiritual family tree. Who shared the gospel with you or discipled, and who discipled them? If you still know the person you are, I'd suggest texting them as a way of reconnecting.
Micah is primarily a book about disaster that the Lord will bring. He says He Himself will witness against them for all of their idolatry. What were some of the idols in your life that God judged on the cross when you first came to Christ?
In chapter 2, the Lord focuses on preaching. What have been some examples in your life of people who preached what is right even if it was frustrating or uncomfortable for your flesh? What about examples where this wasn't the case? When have you had to give a hard word to someone? How did they respond?
(Micah continued)—Hope and Holiness
There are quite a few places in this book about God's wrath where God gives hope. (Chapters 4-5 especially)When was a time when you found hope or saw God's grace in spite of your own rebellion? Stop and thank God for His grace in this moment.
The biggest hope is given in chapter 5 as a promise for the Messiah's coming. For the people this would have been a hopeless time. Describe what the Messiah has done to bring you hope. Not only on a corporate level but personally.
In chapter 6, Micah makes it clear what God requires. "Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly before God." Rate yourself on these three from 1-10. Which do you struggle with the most. Where do you see God's grace the most? Now assess your closest friends, spouse etc. Now back up and ask the question of Cottage Grove Church? The Church in Des Moines? The Church in America at Large?
(Nahum and Habakkuk)—Wrath and Woes
Chapter 1 of Nahum begins with him saying that the Lord is an avenger of all who do wrong (v. 6). He continues with this theme in v. 8-12. But in v. 7, He says something that is different. He says that He "is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Why would you think that this verse is inserted right between the others. What about God being wrathful brings you security?
Habakkuk is called the Job of the prophets. It gets to the question of theodicy: 'If God is omni benevolent and omnipotent, why do bad things happen?' How would you answer that question?
The Lord says that the righteous shall live by faith. Why is this so important for the issues facing Habakkuk? Why is this so important for you?
In chapter 2, there are 5 woes laid out. Woes against...1. Greed 2. False Security 3. Slavery 4. Exploitation 5. Idolatry. As I read these woes, I can't help but think of our nation. How do you see these vices playing out in our nation. How have the vices of the nation become your own?
One of my all-time favorite verses in the bible is found in Habakkuk. Can you find it? Nope its not the one you thought. It's 3:2 "In wrath remember mercy." This verse is obviously a cry of the people to God. But more than that, its God's nature. And He proves it at the cross--where His wrath was lavished on Christ, but His mercy was lavished on us. In wrath He remembered His mercy, for it was through wrath that He brought mercy. Sit still as you ponder that truth, and ask God to help you cling to it!