Perhaps it’s because they’re tiny, or perceived as less interesting than the much-read Major Prophets, poetic books, Gospels, and the longer epistles of Apostle Paul, but these 7 books rarely get any love. If you rarely ever (or never!) read these books, then perhaps this is the year you should plan to read with an open heart and listen to what God is saying.
God wrote this book through the prophet Obadiah, whose name means “servant of the Lord”. It contains a single chapter, written to heathen Edom, a country that had been particularly cruel to Judah; and to Judah herself, reminding her of Jehovah’s lordship despite all the hardships she had suffered. This book stands out for me because it’s a reminder that God sees what we go through, and He has plans to help us.
The prophet Nahum, whose name is a shortened form of Nehemiah, was holding the pen God wrote this book with. Only three chapters long, it provides a balance for those of us who are used to seeing only the gracious, loving, and compassionate side of God. Reading the account of how the Holy Spirit directed the events in history in order to discipline rebellious Israel, reminds us that God’s perfect love includes chastisement.
The prophet Haggai spoke the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the divine message was recorded in this book. At this time, Israel had just returned home from exile in Babylon to find the Temple of Jehovah destroyed. They were greatly discouraged and decided to build nice little houses for themselves instead. Haggai, whose name means “festal one”, delivered a message from God that shook the people to repentance and stirred them up again to rebuild the Temple. The book is peppered with reminders like “I am Jehovah All-Powerful”, “I am with you” and “Don’t be afraid”. Love it!
Jude (also called Judas in Mark 6:3) was one of Jesus’ brothers who did not believe that He was the Messiah until after His death and resurrection. It contains only one chapter in which Jude warns us against renouncing our faith in Christ, and urges us to build up ourselves in our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. My favourite verses are 24 and 25 which contain one of the most beloved benedictions in the Bible. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling…” I’ve got gooseflesh just thinking about how deep that doxology is!
The word of Jehovah came to Micah concerning Israel and Judah at a time when they were guilty of hiding behind mere religiosity and putting their confidence in rites, routines, money and sacrifices. In these 7 chapters we see how they admitted their sin, put their hope in God, and were comforted and instructed to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” Through Micah, whose name translates to “Who is like the Lord?” God promises future salvation through a Messiah “whose goings forth are from of old.” In those days, “The mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be exalted above all mountains, and the nations shall stream to it…”
When Onesimus betrayed his boss Philemon by stealing and running away, he never knew he would meet Paul and hear the saving gospel of Christ. As he returned to Philemon, Paul gave him this little note of intercession to take along. Apostle Paul’s epistle to Philemon is not as long or widely read as his others, but there are deep lessons in this lone chapter – from the picture of what Christ did for us which Paul paints as he promises to pay back whatever Onesimus owed Philemon, to the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation amongst Christians.
Together, the 53 verses that make up Zephaniah’s 3 chapters have one key message: God loves you and wants you to return to Him, but He will not compromise His holiness. Amidst of the judgement and punishment Jehovah God proclaims, in Chapter 3:17 we see that we who repent and return will rest in His love, and He will rejoice over us with singing. Can you imagine God singing? How amazing!
Which of these powerful little books do you think you’ll read first?