One of the perks of editing The Gospel Project is shaping Bible studies for believers of all ages, walking alongside more than a million kids, students, and adults on a journey through the Bible’s big storyline. For many Gospel Project users, we are about to enter the season we’ve described as “Prophets and Kings.”
Now, for a lot of Bible readers, the prophetic writings seem bizarre and foreign. Churchgoers may come to know and love the Gospels, or sing the psalms, or cherish the exciting New Testament narratives.
But the prophets? It feels like a chore just to pronounce their names right (Habakkuk, Nahum, Obadiah), much less remember the context that prompted their ministry, or the particular message of each one. Read a few of these prophets side by side, without knowing much about their history, and you begin to feel like they all run together. There’s one overarching message: Repent! Repent! And that message is delivered in multiple ways, with strange themes and practices.
In my time as editor, however, I’ve grown to love the Minor Prophets, all sandwiched together at the end of the Old Testament. There are three in particular who, I would say, have “wrecked me” — in a good way, in a powerful way in which I felt the refreshing shower of God’s grace.
Hosea is a weird story, even for adults. God tells a prophet to marry a prostitute, give their children horrible names, and then go back and purchase his wife after she is unfaithful.
But both times I edited sessions on Hosea, I wound up in tears. The vision of God as the spurned Lover, the great and glorious Husband who pursues His bride and willingly pays the price to win her back…it is such a breathtaking picture of God’s great love.