April 18 - May 18: The Prophets Before the Babylon Exile
Isaiah - Zephaniah, Psalms 109-134
Isaiah - Video Overview Part 1
Isaiah announces a message of judgment on Israel's failure to keep their covenant with God. It will purify Israel to prepare them for the coming messianic king who found the new Jerusalem to become a light to the nations. But all of these hopes seem to come crashing down with Israel's exile. How will the promises be fulfilled?
On the other side of Israel's exile, Isaiah's hope for the new Jerusalem and the messianic king are announced. It's then revealed that Israel is still hard-hearted after the exile, and that their king will become a suffering servant who will die for the sins of Israel and open up the covenant family of God to all nations.
In Isaiah 52 a messenger comes to tell the good news that God still reigns and that he is coming to bring his reign to earth. This fully animated video illustrates the Gospel (Good News) of God's Upside Down Kingdom.
Hosea accuses Israel of breaking their covenant with God, and warns them of the tragic consequences to follow. But because God's mercy and covenant love are more powerful than Israel's sin, Hosea also announces hope for the future of Israel after the exile.
Joel views a recent locust plague as an expression of the "Day of the Lord's" justice for Israel's sin. But his reflection on the Scriptures leads him to trust that true repentance will bring about the great restoration hoped for in the other prophetic books. For Joel, the past has become an image of the future.
Amos accuses Israel of breaking their covenant with God, and highlights how their idolatry has led to injustice and the neglect of the poor. Amos warns of God's coming justice on their sin, and challenges them that true worship of God will always lead to justice for the poor. The book ends with a promise of the messianic kingdom on the other side of God's judgment.
Obadiah accuses the nation of Edom, Israel's neighbor and relative, of violence and injustice. But Edom's downfall before Babylon becomes an image of how God will one day bring down all arrogant and violent nations and establish his kingdom of justice over them.
A subversive story about a rebellious prophet who hates his God for loving his enemies. Jonah's ridiculous behavior contrasts the soft-hearted repentant of the gentiles in this story, and so becomes the author's way of challenging the reader to reckon with God's love for their enemies as well.
If you have ever attended church, Sunday school, or bedtime story sessions as a child, you have likely heard about the story in the Book of Jonah at some point. But, the prophet Jonah's account of remarkable experiences with storms at sea, being eaten by a fish, and plants that miraculously grow and die in a day have lessons that go much deeper than what is on the surface. This series dives into the story of Jonah is all about.
Micah announces that God's justice is coming down on Israel's sin and covenant failure. But their sin is not the final word, as God's covenant love and faithfulness will create a new future on the other side of Israel's sin and exile.
Nahum portrays the downfall of Nineveh and Assyria as an image of how God will confront and bring down all violent human empires. His message of justice against Nineveh challenges us toward humility and hope for the future of God's world.
Habakkuk struggles to understand God's goodness in the midst of such evil and injustice in the world. God announces that he will bring down Babylon and any nations that act like Babylon and bring his kingdom and the messiah in the future. And so Habakkuk becomes an examples of God's righteous people living by faith in his promises to rescue his world.
Zephaniah announces God's coming judgment on Israel's injustice and covenant unfaithfulness. It will devastate Jerusalem and end in exile. But God's love and mercy will endure, and so Zephaniah sees this purifying judgment as the true hope of the world, as God creates a world where all people can flourish in safety and peace.