Near the end of the Old Testament, we read the prophecies of Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah. Read together, these three Old Testament Prophets challenge us to think about our national enemies as we once again commemorate the tragedy of 2001 that will forever be called “9-11.”
Amos, like all other prophets, prophesied of the coming judgment against Israel and Judah. Amos’ message of judgment starts against the enemies of Israel and gets increasingly tighter until the message “zeroes” in on Israel. The significance of this progression is that judgment is certain. The opportunity for repentance has passed. However, there is the hint that Israel could have avoided judgment if they would have heeded God’s seriousness toward sin. Likewise, the message for America today is “We must learn from the mistakes of our enemies?”
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. We know very little about Obadiah or the exact perspective from which he wrote. We do understand that his prophecy targeted Edom—an enemy of Israel.
Obadiah’s preaching was likely a message to encourage Israel during the days of exile or immediately following exile. His preaching would have pointed to God’s judgment against Israel’s enemies. As we commemorate the anniversary of September 11, we should continue to find hope in God to deal justly and rightly with our enemies. So, here is the lesson: “We must trust God with our enemies?”
The book of Jonah contains the account of Jonah’s call to preach to Ninevah, his refusal to go, his preaching to Ninevah, and the result. The whole reason that Jonah seems to run from God is that he knows that God will relent if the people repent. Jonah seems to be enamored with the thought of these people facing the judgment of God. Out of this story, we see God’s great love for mankind. There is no one God does not love and will not offer salvation. Let us pray that we catch God’s vision in this regard. Again, in light of the events of September 11, are we praying that God might save the Muslim world? Or, would we be glad to see them face the wrath of God? If we cannot pray for their salvation, we have not begun to understand the great love of God. What’s the lesson? As we think about the horrible events of 9/11, “We must pray for the salvation of our enemies?”
We are continuing our journey Sunday morning through the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. There are 12 Minor Prophets. We will devote one Sunday (one message) to each of the 12 Minor Prophets. Our goal is going to be to discover that central core message of the book. Sunday, we are examining the Book of Joel. Joel is only 3 chapters so you have time to read it and be prepared to examine its contents with me this Sunday.
We have a couple of mission opportunities this month. In your giving this month, please consider a special offering to the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. This offering stays in Louisiana to aid the start of churches in Louisiana as well as various other ministries of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. We will also be participating in the annual collection of food for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home. I will use the Sunday evening message time to share some of the things that are happening around the state so that we can be more informed in our praying and giving.
Last Sunday, I introduced the idea to “Do Something.” This is a ministry and discipleship emphasis that will define the next phase of our ministry at First Baptist Church. If you were not here last Sunday morning, I strongly encourage you to go online and listen to last week’s message. In the message, I outlined a month by month plan for the rest of the year to guide us in the process of discovering what God would call us to do.
That strategy begins by “dreaming.” Beginning Sunday through the rest of the Sundays of September, be sure to turn in your “Dream” card. Remember, this is not your dream for the church, but rather what you sense God would be calling us to do.
On Sunday morning, I will begin preaching a series called “Major Messages from the Minor Prophets.” Our goal will be to find that one major message to us from each of the Minor Prophets. We will be starting with Hosea on Sunday. The message that we discover in Hosea is the basic message of the whole Bible—God loves us! That is a simple, but profound message.
We had a great summer of Sunday night worship and fellowship experiences. After taking last Sunday night off, let’s start back with a great attendance this Sunday night. There are numerous excuses to not attend church on Sunday evening—I already came once today, it’s boring (ouch, that one hurts), the kids have school tomorrow, I have work tomorrow, the Bible does not say anything about Sunday night too, most churches don’t even have a Sunday evening service anymore. The list could continue, but you get the point. Did you realize that in contrast to these excuses, there are dozens of reasons to come back again on Sunday evening? For example, the Bible commands us to not forsake the meeting of the assembly. This particular assembly called First Baptist Church chooses to meet again on Sunday evenings. That doesn’t make us more spiritual than churches that choose not to meet on Sunday evenings, but it is the schedule that our church chooses to follow. In addition, we have great opportunities for our children in music and Bible Drill on Sunday evening. A lot of these opportunities begin again this Sunday afternoon. Hope to see you here! Bro. Ray and I will be jointly preaching this fall through some of our favorite Psalms. I will be preaching Sunday night.