The Book of Jonah is called a Minor Prophetic book because it is brief, but not because it is less important. One of the main roles of biblical Prophetic literature is not to predict the future; in fact, only 28% of Prophetic literature is future-oriented. A larger purpose is to rid our hearts of idols. The prophets were individuals who responded to a divine call and spoke to God and for God. They were enforcers of the Mosaic Covenant and its rules, punishments, and benefits (outlined in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28-32). This covenant set apart the nation of Israel. Today’s passage gives us a framework for understanding the message of the prophets who’s words still ring true for today.
- Have you read any of the Prophetic books in the Old Testament?
- How do you think they are relevant to our lives today
READ THE WORD: LEVITICUS 26 (ESV)
26:1“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.2 You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. 3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit… 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. 14 “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: …33 And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste… 40 “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, 41 so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land…45 But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” 46 These are the statutes and rules and laws that the Lord made between himself and the people of Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The Mosaic Covenant was conditional upon the obedience of the Israelites. What did God ask of them?
- What were some of the blessings of obedience for the Israelites? What were some of the curses of disobedience?
- Where do you see God’s mercy in this passage?
- What was God’s provision for restoration with himself (vss. 40-41)? Is there anything you need to confess to the Lord to restore your fellowship with him (1 John 1:9)?
- “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10). Praise God and meditate on the fact that he has written his Law on your heart and you belong to him; you are a part of his New Covenant.
RESPOND TO GOD
The Mosaic Covenant centered on the Law God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The covenant was conditional in that its blessings and curses were dependent upon Israel’s obedience. The Law was a tutor to lead the people to a Savior (Gal. 3:24-25). But, Israel turned away from God’s provision through disobedience and idolatry. The Prophets were God’s mouthpiece, calling his children back to himself and this covenant. The nation of Israel was to be a light and a blessing in the midst of a dark world. As believers, we are to be a light and a blessing as well. As we journey with Jonah and Haggai over the next weeks, let the forth-telling nature of the Prophets cause us to submit ourselves anew to our Savior.
- Ask God to reveal and help rid us of our own idols, so that we might draw others to worship.
- Read through the whole of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.