Bibliography for God in the Ruins: The Message of the Minor Prophets

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share the resources I used to help me study and prepare my sermons. Here is that bibliography for our recently completed series, “God in the Ruins: The Message of the Minor Prophets.”

Bibliography for “God in the Ruins: The Message of the Minor Prophets”

Elizabeth Achtemeier. Minor Prophets I. NIBC. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996.

________. Preaching from the Minor Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

Robert Alter. The Hebrew Bible, Volume 2: Prophets. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2019.

Joyce G. Baldwin. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. TOTC. Downers Grove, IL: 1972.

Stuart Briscoe. Taking God Seriously: Major Lessons from the Minor Prophets. For Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 1986.

Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton. “Introduction to Prophetic Literature.” In A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.

Paul R. House. Old Testament Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2018.

Walter C. Kaiser. Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament: A Guide for the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003.

James Luther Mays. Hosea. OTL. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1969.

A. Schart. “Twelve, Book of the: History of Interpretation.” In Dictionary of the Old Testament Prophets. Eds. Mark J. Boda and J. Gordon McConville. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2012.

Douglas Stuart. Hosea-Jonah. WBC. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1987.

M. A. Sweeney. “Twelve, Book of the.” In Dictionary of the Old Testament Prophets. Eds. Mark J. Boda and J. Gordon McConville. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2012.

Bruce K. Waltke. A Commentary on Micah. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

Nicholas Wolterstorff. Justice: Rights and Wrongs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U. P., 2008.

Nahum [God in the Ruins]

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This past weekend at Eastbrook I continued our series on the message of the minor prophets, “God in the Ruins,” by looking at the prophet Nahum.

Nahum is one of those books that can feel especially “minor” in the minor prophets, with a tough message for a very historically specific context. Nahum is one of the 7th century BC prophets in the Hebrew Bible, including Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah. The book basically falls into two major sections with chapter 1 focusing on God as judge and chapters 2-3 focusing on the judgment God will bring on Nineveh.

You can view the message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series on the minor prophets here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities to connect.

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Why Did Jonah Run from God?

Jonah

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Jonah receives a word from the Lord that he should preach to the people of Nineveh in the Assyrian empire that they might repent. Instead of obeying God, Jonah runs away from God. This is not the story we expected to find about one of the prophets.

We learn from 2 Kings 14:25 that Jonah was from Gath Hepher. He was called by God to go to Nineveh, which is far to the north in the Assyrian empire; a city that overlaps with present-day Mosul in Iraq. Instead, Jonah hoofs it south to the port city of Joppa to catch a boat to Tarshish on the far side of the Mediterranean world, a city which is either in present-day Spain or Sardinia.

Clearly, it is not fear of travelling that keeps Jonah from obeying God, but something else. That something else is that Jonah knows something about the mercy of God. Jonah believes, as we find out later, that if he preaches to the Ninevites about Yahweh, the God of Israel, the Ninevites will actually turn from their wickedness and encounter the mercy of Yahweh God.

Jonah is afraid of this reality and will not obey God. Why?

Perhaps it was because Jonah was in thrall to King Jeroboam II. Jeroboam was a powerful king, who provided unequaled economic prosperity and political stability during his forty-year year. He was also one of the most godless kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. According to 2 Kings 14, Jonah prophesied favorably for King Jeroboam, and so perhaps Jonah did not want to defy the king and prophesy in another kingdom.

Perhaps Jonah’s disobedience was because the Assyrian Empire was threatening the people of Israel. We do know that later, in 722 BC, the Assyrians completely overrun Israel and the capital of Samaria, leaving nothing left. Perhaps Jonah was afraid of this larger, more powerful kingdom.

Or perhaps it was that Jonah simply did not believe that God’s mercy should extend to another people group, particularly one so wicked and violent as the Assyrians. Jonah may have wanted these wicked people to get what they deserved.

Whatever the exact reason, or perhaps the combination of reasons, Jonah has a problem in his heart that God needs to address. And that is really the driving theme of the entire book of Jonah.

Jonah [God in the Ruins]

God in the Ruins Series GFX_App Square

One of the hardest tasks of the preacher is to take a well-known part of Scripture and make it fresh for people again. This past weekend at Eastbrook, I tried to do just that as I preached on Jonah in our series on the minor prophets, “God in the Ruins.”

Unlike all the other minor prophets, Jonah tells a story about the life of Jonah instead of collecting messages from that prophet.

The prophet Jonah is mentioned one other place in the Bible in 2 Kings 14:25 as a prophet in the northern kingdom during the reign of Jeroboam II. This tells us that, if taken at face value, Jonah’s story would have taken place chronologically during the 8th century BC, at a similar time as Amos, during the 40-year reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 BC).

Because the story of the book of Jonah is told so dramatically in the book of Jonah, there is a lot of debate about its genre: is it historical, is it a parable, is it a real story told in an imaginative style. Regardless of the outcome on those issues, the message of the book is clear:

We can run from it or we can receive it, but the mercy of God is greater than we understand.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series on the minor prophets here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities to connect.

Read More »

A Prayer inspired by the prophet Jonah

Almighty God,
You are the powerful Creator
of all the nations upon earth.
You are holy and wonderful
beyond what we understand.

We look at Jonah and we are startled
by his insolence in running away from You,
by his humility in recognizing Your rescue,
and his anger at Your mercy to those
he felt did not desire to receive it.

We are startled because we know
that same insolence, humility, and anger
run through our own lives and hearts.

Have mercy on us, our God,
and transform us from the inside out
that we might love what You love
and hate what you hate.
That our lives might overflow
with mercy like You overflow with  mercy.

All this we pray, through Jesus Christ,
our Savior and Deliverer,
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.