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By Richard D. Patterson / Biblical Studies Press / 2003
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When God revealed to Nahum the coming doom of Assyria and Nineveh, Nahum relayed that message to his countrymen with a poetic skill that is unequaled among the Minor Prophets. His powers of description are so superb that readers of all ages have marveled at the forcefulness and accuracy of his words. Nahum’s good news of Nineveh’s fall has not only reverberated across the pages of time but stands both as a reminder that God is in control of the flow of history and as a harbinger of the good news of God’s ultimate purpose to sum up all history in His Son.
Habakkuk wrestled with the perennial problem of the operation of God’s holiness and justice in a world of spiritual and moral decay. Unable to resolve his problem apart from divine instruction, he came to God with hard questions. Habakkuk learned what every believer must come to realize: that Israel’s Redeemer is in control of earth’s history and does have a plan for its people; that God’s high ethical standards are normative for all persons; and that mature believers will live their lives in total faith and trust in God, who alone is sufficient guide and resource for life’s changing fortunes.
Zephaniah is best remembered for his teachings concerning the Day of the Lord. But Zephaniah should also be remembered as a prophet of hope who looked beyond the impending judgment of mankind to an age when a purified and faithful people will serve God in truth and rejoice in the everlasting blessings of His love. Zephaniah’s teachings remind all believers not only of God’s standards and purposes but of the positive difference one believer can make in an unbelieving and materialistic society. His timeless warnings and message of hope need to be boldly proclaimed once again in today’s self-serving world.