For the past many weeks we have been studying the Minor Prophets. When we began our study with Hosea the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were still intact, the priests were performing their priestly duties at the temple of God, and God’s people could not even imagine the hard times that were just around the corner.
During our study of the Minor Prophets we’ve covered Hosea, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah. We’ve witnessed the end of the northern kingdom in 721 B.C. at the hands of the Assyrians. We’ve witnessed the end of the southern kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple of God in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. God’s people were in exile for 70 years in Babylon.
The last two prophets that we have studied, Haggai and Zechariah, are called post-exilic prophets because they came back from Babylon when Cyrus the Great told the Jews they could go home if they wanted. Once back home, the Jews found the city of Jerusalem in shambles, the temple was in ruins, and despair shrouded the city. It’s not too difficult to understand why the people felt overwhelmed and were tempted to just throw up their hands in defeat.
They began working on the temple, but that didn’t work out. The first sign of opposition sent the people home where they spent their time focusing on themselves. Haggai and Zechariah were used by God to try and light a fire under the people. The people went back to work and completed the temple in 516 B.C. The work might have been completed on the temple, but there was still much work to be done on the hearts of God’s people.
In Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, we find the people of God talking back to God like a rude teenager being disrespectful to his parents. God says, “I have loved you.” The people rolled their eyes and said, “How have you loved us?” God explained Himself and yet the people continued to question God’s assessment. Read more