Showing posts with label prophecy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prophecy. Show all posts

July 8, 2017

How To Read & Understand The Biblical Prophets

In his new book How To Read & Understand The Biblical Prophets, author and OT professor Peter J. Gentry discusses the many literary styles Bible prophets used to wake people up to God’s ways and calling on their lives – so many in fact, he suggests “We might well ask if the literature of the biblical prophets actually constitutes its own genre or type of literature.”

For example, “a Hebrew author begins a discourse on a particular topic, develops it from a particular perspective, and then concludes his conversation. Then he begins another conversation, taking up the same topic again from a different point of view.”

In general, the Old Testament prophets reiterated what God had already said or revealed then showed how that word applied to a situation in their era in hopes of encouraging faith and obedience to God.

The prophets also exhorted the people to seek God’s will and rely on God to help them find it. In Deuteronomy 18, for example, Moses strongly warned against contacting mediums, fortune-tellers, sorcerers, witches, or the dead as other nations had done when wanting to know about or, perhaps, control future events. Such control and oversight belong only to God.

Therefore, biblical prophets often gave predictions “to demonstrate publicly that only Yahweh knows and determines future events.”

In addition, “prediction of the future was necessary to explain the exile.” Also, the prophets wanted to reassure God’s people that deliverance takes time, but God can be trusted – not only by them but by everyone. For example, a message “not only announces future judgment for a particular nation but also indicates how it may find deliverance by seeking refuge in Zion.”

With world events worrying many of us, this book from Crossway, who kindly sent me a copy to review, will help us better understand the God’s prophetic word, which speaks to us even now.

Mary Harwell Sayler
, ©2017, poet-writer and Bible reviewer

How To Read & Understand The Biblical Prophets, paperback

October 4, 2012

Review the news with Habakkuk

The prophetic poetry in the Book of Habakkuk could have been written today!

“O Lord, how long shall I cry
and You not hear?
Even when I call out, “Violence!”
You do not save.
Why must I watch so much misery?
Must I see trouble wherever I look?
Destruction and violence are before me,
and everyone wants to argue or fight!
The law is powerless, paralyzed,
and justice does not go forth.
Wicked people surround the righteous,
and their twisted perceptions prevail,”
Habakkuk 1:2-4

To give you an eerie example of the timely truth of Habakkuk’s prophetic and poetic word, I right-clicked onto the word “Wicked” to find synonyms in Microsoft Word. Can you guess what I found? The current vernacular described “wicked” as: Good, Great, Terrific, Cool, Fabulous, Fab, Fantastic, Impressive.

Actually, that is very “impressive” since even the Word of Microsoft supports the Word of God as spoken through Habakkuk!

Thankfully, that poetic voice does not end on the sad note of today’s twisted perceptions. Habakkuk has much more to say to us today:

“I will climb to my watchtower
and stand guard at my post
and wait to see what the Lord says.
How will God answer my complaint?

“Then the Lord said to me:

“Write My answer plainly on a tablet,
so even a runner can read it.
This vision, for a future time,
describes the end and does not deceive.
If it seems slow in coming, wait for it!
My word will surely take place
and will not be late,”
Habakkuk 2:1-3.

Many woes follow, but God lets us know where to go and what to do in the meantime:

“For the Lord is in His Holy Place.
Let all the earth keep silent before Him,”
Habakkuk 2:20.

Although we don’t know exactly when the Holy Spirit inspired Habakkuk to write those words, in 597 B.C., the Chaldeans (aka Babylonians) conquered Judah. Interestingly, the territory of those invaders would be somewhere in Iraq around present day Baghdad, again revealing the timeless relevancy of God’s timely Word.

Most importantly, however, the last chapter of Habakkuk ends with a commitment to hope in God that guides us, too, in turning reactions into prayerful responses to the ultimately Good News we now have in Christ Jesus:

“Even if the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit grows on the vines
and the work of the olive tree falls
and the fields yield no meat
and the flock is cut from the fold
and the stalls of the barn stand empty,
I will still rejoice in the Lord.
I will still find joy in the God of my salvation,”
Habakkuk 3:17-18.



© 2012, Mary Sayler. God bless you for loving the Bible and for telling your church or Bible study group where you found this Bible Review of Habakkuk. Pass it on!