For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
Do you need some endurance in your life? How about some encouragement? Could you use some hope? Then why not turn to one of the Old Testament prophets for these? Paul told the Romans that all of the Old Testament was written for our instruction, that we might be able to endure and be encouraged and have hope. And you can get all of that even out of the prophets.
I was reminded this week of something Old Testament scholar Alec Motyer said:
“…if we do not find the inspired words of the prophets gripping, the fault must surely be ours.
So why are the prophets not hot news to us? Why do we find them difficult and (God forgive us) dull? The answer is ignorance and lack of effort. Since the books of the prophets are as much God’s inspired Word as, say, the Epistles, they deserve the same repeated, unhurried, thoughtful reading, which, in all parts of the Bible, allows the Word of God to minister its meaning, with increasing clarity, to our minds and so to our hearts and lives.
Where to get started? Use a Bible that divides the text into manageable paragraphs; read slowly; ask (and write out the answers) what is the prophet saying? And why is he saying it? These two questions will prove more helpful than merely asking when they wrote. The Bible will always become clearer to the persevering reader; the Lord blesses those who ponder His Word.”
If you haven’t spent any time recently studying the prophets, let me encourage you to do so. Pick one and dive in. Get a study Bible (I’d recommend the ESV Study Bible). Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and give you a renewed hunger for His word. Ask questions (and answer them!).
And don’t forget that the Bible will always become clearer to the persevering reader; the Lord blesses those who ponder His Word. So, persevere, ponder, and may the prophets become “hot news” to you once again!