Saturday, November 12, 2016

A timely word from the Book of the Twelve (Minor Prophets)

Righteousness and justice—how one relates to God and human beings—are the hallmarks by which humanity in general, and God’s people in particular, shall be evaluated. The prophets challenge God’s people in times of crises in order to elicit a change in behavior. When people worship gods who do not control the world, consequences ensue. When people treat the poor as commodities, consequences ensue. These two foci remind readers of the Twelve of their own responsibility to behave as those who fear YHWH, who learn to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, and who live accordingly.

Repentance, not pride, in the face of calamity and threat offers the only hope that YHWH will intervene to thwart, stall, stop, or repair a damaged people. Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Zechariah, and Malachi all underscore the need to repent before YHWH, to change behavior, and to change attitudes toward God and humanity. The Book of the Twelve presumes that calamity comes from YHWH as punishment for rebellion against YHWH, or mistreatment of other human beings.—James D. Nogalski, “Recurring Themes in the Book of the Twelve : Creating Points of Contact for a Theological Reading,” Int 61 (2007): 135–36

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