God of Hope
When I was taking seminary classes about ten years ago, a famous New Testament professor said one day in class that he couldn’t name the twelve Minor Prophets, let alone list the books in order. I look back and see that that statement planted a seed in my mind that the Minor Prophets were of lesser importance in regular scripture reading, so they have remained in that lower status all these years. Last month, however, one of my children suggested reading the Minor Prophets as our morning family devotions for a while. I was hesitant but eventually thought it would be good to show my kids they are helpful, even if only in a limited way. I’m glad God is gracious and patiently overcomes our misperceptions of his Word.
As we began using the Minor Prophets as our devotional material, day by day, God showed me that he is a God of hope. Not that I mean he is a hopeful God; rather, he is a God who gives hope. This hope he gives isn’t because he helps humans eventually come to realize their own sin and misery. It’s due to God keeping his promises to Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, and David. It’s due to God being faithful to his name, to his own self. This faithfulness of God is what we see in the story of redemption. Because God has shown that he was faithful to those promises in sending Jesus as the atonement for our sin, we can continue to rely on him to be faithful in the future. We have a hope—a sure hope—as an anchor for the soul.
Of course there are things in the Minor Prophets that we won’t understand completely, and there are aspects that don’t relate to our lives now as non-Jews living in the 21st century. But there are promises, and these promises give us hope. There is hope that the people of Israel held on to by faith, looking forward to their redemption. There is hope that we can hold on to, saying, “Yes, God was faithful then, and look at his promises toward us in Christ now.” God is a God of hope.
So, read the Minor Prophets, and read about the God of hope.