Zephaniah prophesied “in the days of Josiah” (1:1), between 641-610 BC. Not only was Zephaniah of the tribe of Judah, but his ancestry was of royal blood. His great-great-grandfather was king Hezekiah (727-698 BC).

Zephaniah warned, “the great day of the LORD is near,” a day of noise and wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of trumpet and alarm (1:14-16).

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To Be Sin For Us

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
– – – – 2 Corinthians 5:21 – – – –

Several years ago while teaching a Bible class, I was confronted with how perplexing the apostle’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:21 can be. As we studied from the Scriptures, I appealed to Paul’s declaration in this text to clarify a point. To my surprise, I was immediately reprimanded by a member of the congregation for suggesting that Christ was made “…to be sin for us…” Asking that we turn to the passage, I insisted that it was not my thought, nor even my words, but that Paul himself had written it by the Spirit of God. Reading it directly from the Scriptures didn’t seem to help my assailant. Thus, we devoted the rest of our class time to deciphering Paul’s words. Let us spend a few moments today doing the same.

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We know nothing about the man Habakkuk except he was a prophet of God. Habakkuk doesn’t tell us who was king in Judah when he wrote, but from 1:5-6, we can determine it was sometime before Babylon had risen to prominence as a world power (626 BC), but after the Lord had decided the condition of Judah warranted destruction and captivity which happened in the reign of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1-16).His reign was from 698 to 643 B.C..

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Saul, the Convert to Christ

In the New Testament, we read about crowds of people being converted to Christ. Many of them are unnamed—we don’t know their stories—just that they heard the gospel and responded in obedience to the Lord. However, the Spirit of God gave us several details about the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and not just his conversion but what he did thereafter. Let’s spend a bit of time considering Paul, the convert to Christ.

Obedience To The Gospel

In Acts 9, Saul received permission from the religious leaders in Jerusalem to go to Damascus to persecute and bind Christians. Along the way, he was intercepted by the Lord. A great light blinded him and he heard Jesus speak, “Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4) Soon, Saul was sent to Damascus, not to persecute Christians but to learn the gospel (Acts 9:6). Though Paul believed in Jesus prior to arriving in Damascus, he was not saved yet. Ananias, a Christian in the city was sent to Saul to teach him, which culminated in him urging the future apostle, “…why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). He was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his sins (Acts 2:38; Luke 24:47), and became a Christian. Now what?

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Two of God’s prophets were commissioned to address the Assyrian capital of Nineveh directly. Jonah was sent to proclaim a message of judgment and to provoke repentance (approx. 760 BC). God would then employ the Assyrians to judge Israel for her sins, resulting in the eventual destruction of the northern kingdom in 721 BC. Approximately 100-150 years later, Nahum proclaimed “the burden against Nineveh” (1:1). Unlike the former prophet, Nahum’s message was not to provoke repentance. Nineveh had returned to her old ways, and so the prophet pronounced judgment upon them. There are two details which help us know the timing of the book; the prophet mentions the destruction of the Egyptian city No Amon (3:8, better known as Thebes) which took place in 663 BC, and Nahum foretold Nineveh’s fall, which happened in 612 BC. Thus, the book was written sometime between these two dates.

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The Christian’s Responsibility To God And The Government

Over the past year, we’ve faced many Covid-19 related restrictions from the federal, provincial, and regional governments. Non-essential travel has been restricted with closed land borders. Any who do travel must submit to a mandatory test, costly hotel stay, and forced quarantine upon their return. The economy has been shut down, stay-at-home orders and curfews have been issued, social gatherings have been limited, masks are compulsory in almost every indoor setting (and some outdoor settings), etc..

There have been vastly different responses among citizens to the Covid-19 rules. Some have meticulously obeyed every order while others have brazenly flaunted their disobedience. What should we as Christians do? What should be our response? Let us consider what the Bible says about our responsibility to governing authorities.

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Micah was contemporary with Hosea and Isaiah, prophesying during the reigns of the Judean kings, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). His message is identified as what “he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem” (1:1), which are the respective capitals of Israel (the northern tribes) and Judah (the southern tribes). His message to Samaria is limited to the first chapter; in fact, he foretold their fall to Shalmaneser of Assyria which took place in 722 BC (1:6).

There is very little revealed about Micah. We know he was from the village of Moresheth (1:1), which is on the border of Philistia and Judah, near the city of Gath a per Jerome and Eusebius. His name exalts God, meaning “who is like Yah?” (Yah, being an abbreviated form of Yahweh)

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A Famine In The Land

According to the 2017 Legatum Prosperity Index, Canada was listed among the top 10 most prosperous nations in the world. When we hear the word “famine,” it is about other nations, not our own. Yet, there is a serious famine in our country, and most are oblivious to it.

Amos 8:11 reads, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

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We know very little about Jonah. He is identified as the son of Amittai (1:1). 2 Kings 14:25 says Jonah was from Gath Hepher, which is in Zebulun. We do not know if he simply lived there or was of the tribe. In the same text, Jonah is credited with foretelling the restoration of a piece of land to Israel in the days of Jeroboam, which no doubt was a more popular prophecy than the doom and gloom and judgment spoken by his contemporaries (Amos & Hosea). 

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The name Obadiah means “servant of the LORD.” It is a fairly common name in the Bible with eight distinct men by that name in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 7:3; 8:38; 9:16; 12:9; 27:19; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 1 Kings 18:3; Obadiah 1:1). We know very little about any of them men, the prophet included, but from what we do know, the name is an apt description for most of them.

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