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"Old Testament Survey"

Micah through Zephaniah


Steve Bader in this session continued his Old Testament Scriptures in adult Sunday School class with the books of Micah through Zephaniah. This article provides a brief summary of the content. I recommend you either download the audio in it's entirety from sermons page or order the CD's.


Micah was a rural prophet who was a great influence along with Isaiah in changing the heart of King Hezekiah so he would turn to God and be saved from the crushing power of Assyria. He prophesied to both Northern and Southern Kingdoms. He gives oracles of judgment followed by words of hope. Micah was the first prophet to predict the fall of Jerusalem. Jotham (a good king), Ahaz (a bad king), and Hezekiah (a good king) ruled while Micah was a prophet. This represented how much Israel's devotion to God was in flux. One generation they loved Him, the next they did not. Micah denounced social injustices such as the rich who took the land from the poor. In a glorious proclamation he prophesied the end of time to where all people will be ruled under God. This is also the prophet who would declare that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah draws the book to a close with despair, as he sees none faithful in his generation. Yet in the end he declares the wonder of God's steadfast love.


Nahum is often seen in a very rather negative light. Critics against the book come away reading that if you are Israel you are blessed, if you are not, beware. They see a vengeful God who hated other nations because they were simply in Israel's way. The book is an oracle against Nineveh. Nineveh was one of the original cities founded by the ancient tyrant Nimrod. It was a city of violence. The skins of its enemies were cast upon the walls and pillars were built with their skulls. It was a wonder God showed mercy to this wicked place in the day in Jonah. A major theme of the book is that God is Jealous and does not want anyone to take away from His glory. Because Nineveh was grossly sinful and detestable before God, they must pay for their transgressions. This was a picture of how God hates man's sin. Nineveh's judgment was not soft. It would be stripped bear and fade into history. Nineveh would not be discovered until the mid Nineteenth Century. It is quite wondrous how God gave warning to a previous generation of Nineveh and not to another. Therefore, showing His divine election. So Nahum's God was not vengeful because of nationalism as some critics say, but rather they received judgment for their sin against God and men.


This prophetic book is unique because it is a dialogue between Habakkuk and God, He seeks answers to his painful questions much like we often do today. The Chaldeans who captured Assyria had not yet entered into Judea and had not yet seen the devastation they would bring. He preached under Jehoiakim the king of Judea. After King Josiah (The last good king) died, Habakkuk saw the spiritual decay of Judea and cried out to God. He answered Habakkuk and told him the Chaldeans would overthrow the rest of the world. But the Chaldeans would make a fatal mistake. Their trust would be in their own might, it would be their god. Habakkuk asks God why He would raise up a people more wicked than Judea to be the tool of their judgment. God assured that one day, they would be judged. God then gives one of the greatest proclamations in scripture. The Babylonians are puffed up, but "the just shall live by faith!" This was the calling card for Martin Luther to which he would come to the realization that only by faith in God can we obtain hope. Habakkuk's complaints then turn to praise. Like Job, Habakkuk realized despite what wrong is done to Judea, he would trust God.


The book of Zephaniah was considered to be a summary of the pre-exile prophets, a rolling indictment of the nation of Israel. He ministered during the reign of king Josiah. The opening prophecy is one of anger and is global in scale; God would "sweep away everything…" Zephaniah builds a case against the wicked in four areas: religious life (idolatrous men, spiritual adulterers who worship Jehovah and idols, and apostates), social customs (abandonment of the customs given by God), commerce (wealthy taking advantage of the poor, fraudulent merchants, crooked judges who favored the rich), and everyday life (indifference to the Lord and His commands). The Lord then declares the rich and all their money would not be saved from God's wrath. This judgment would also come to other nations including the fall of Assyria. The most declarative judgment was still given to Jerusalem because as the people of God they had more to give account for. In the end of the book the restoration of Israel points to the end of time to which the universal Israel (the church) will be restored.

- Jordan McGehee

You can listen to this series here.