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The major and minor prophets provided insight on issues such as social injustice, idolatry, and religious ritualism. They spoke about the major problems that the Jews were facing. Many people had separated themselves from God’s abundant love to seek their evil ways. Because of this transgression, the prophets’ teachings had similar ideas in terms of warning the Jews concerning their wicked ways and calling them for repentance.
If the Jews had repented, God’s grace would have been sufficient in redeeming them through His deliverance promise. The teachings are relevant in today’s society, where so many evil acts occur every day. Just as the teachings inspired the early believers, they also inspire contemporary Christians in different ways.
The issue of worship is the most widely spoken in many prayer institutions. It refers to the worship of other ‘gods’ apart from the heavenly God, who is the creator of the heavens and the earth. In the Ten Commandments, God commands Christians to worship Him alone. He says, “Thou shall not have any other gods before me” (Hindson and Yates 423) to warn Christians against idolatry. In the second commandment, God warns against the act of making any craven images for worship.
He is a resentful God who cannot allow the worship of anything else apart from Him. Therefore, He does not hesitate to punish and judge sinners. When Israelites were in captivity, they lost hope in God’s salvation and turned to idol worship just like other unbelieving nations. Ezekiel also spoke about idolatry, how it separated Israelites from God, and how it caused them many punishments (Hindson 88).
The book of Ezekiel continues to illustrate how the Israelites forsook God due to idol worship despite the wrath and warning that God had sounded to them. Hosea used his marriage as a metaphor to teach the Jews against idolatry and God’s eternal love. God instructed him to marry an adulterous wife so that He would depict his love to the Israelites despite their unfaithfulness and idol worship.
Today, believers can easily sway from true worship because of technology that has led to the invention and innovation of many gadgets and networks. Through such inventions, some people may engage in idolatry while others may use the network as a platform for seeking God. The prophetic teachings are relevant as they serve as a lesson and guide to Christians. Those who engage in idol worship risk facing similar punishment as the Jews.
Prophets such as Amos and Micah voluminously spoke about the issue of social injustice (Hindson and Yates 445). God called Amos to teach the Jews the significance of social justice. He was to warn the Jews against social injustices, especially about oppressing the poor. The book of Amos shows how the rich mistreated the poor in Israel based on how they went ahead to worship God and seek His forgiveness. In chapter five, Amos compares the woman from Samaria to fat cattle that reaped off the poor for self-satisfaction.
God had commanded the Israelites to care for the poor and disadvantaged among them so that the disparity between the rich and poor may end. Amos teaches the Jews to seek God, depart from evil, and maintain social justice for the spirit of God to dwell among them. Micah echoes Amos’ words when he condemns how the rich conspired to steal the poor peoples’ land in Israel (Hindson 95).
The selfishness and self-interests of Jews had led to the violation of God’s laws that were to bring prosperity and social justice among the Israelites. In chapters three and six of Micah, leaders must direct people towards the right way while maintaining justice among them. Social injustices are evident in many nations today. For example, in the US, the disproportion between the rich and poor is enormous. The rich people mainly have their way to oppress poor people who have no say.
The prophets speak about religious ritualism as an issue that separates believers from their creator. During the time of prophet Amos, the Israelites abandoned God’s ways by adopting the generally accepted ways. However, God called Amos to warn and condemn the Israelites of their wicked religious practices. False prophets who only prophesied good to please king Jeroboam opposed God’s message despite the claim that the prophet only proclaimed what God had instructed him (Hindson and Yates 391).
Through Amos, God condemns the religious festivals that the Israelites undertake to show off. He says that their assemblies are just like the stench in His eyes. God continues to use Amos to condemn the wicked rituals that the Jews upheld.
Instead, He asked them to cleanse their hearts. God says that He is pleased with earnest hearts, festivals, and offerings (Hindson 121). He is more concerned with the relationship between Him and His people than the meaningless offerings. God asks people to be humble and obedient to His counsels while abandoning blasphemous religious rituals.
Prophets’ teachings are applicable nowadays in different ways. They teach sincere worship, humility, social justice, and obedience to the creator for a perfect relationship to exist. However, many people engage in social injustices, idolatry, and religious ritualism unconsciously when they value their belongings more than God.
It is the duty of every enlightened Christian to stand for Christ. People need to quit going to church to meet friends, spread gossip and show off to others. Rather, they should practice sincere and religious rituals while embracing humility just as Christ did through His shameful death on the cross.
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Hindson, Edward. Courageous Faith: Life Lessons From Old Testament Heroes, Tennessee: AMG Publishers, 2003. Print.
Hindson, Edward and Gary Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: a survey, Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2012. Print.