This past weekend I attended Upward. For those of you who don’t know, Upward is a 3 day long youth event at the Jacksonville Church of Christ in Jacksonville, Alabama that is ran by the teens at Tomorrow’s Church, Today and is filled with sermons, singing, and fun. This year’s theme was “Lessons from the Lesser Known.” The sermons from brothers Cliff Goodwin, Eric Owens, David Shannon, and various other teen speakers taught us valuable life lessons for our Christian walk from the minor prophets in the Old Testament.
From Hosea, we learned to seek God. Hosea 5:15 says, “I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction, they will earnestly seek Me.” God intends for man to seek Him; there is a hunger and thirst for God that exists in all of us. Read Psalm 19. Verse 3 of that passage says, “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” If you take a look back at verse 1, you know that the voice in verse 3 is the same voice that declares the glory of God. The universe, God’s creation, is basically screaming for us to seek God (vs. 3); we all hear the same thing when we look at nature. Everyone realizes that we need something and in Psalm 19:7 we realize exactly what we need, the law of the Lord! We need to seek God seriously. Cliff Goodwin said, “Sin and rebellion are doing to the soul what malnutrition does to the body, we just can’t physically see the effects.” Don’t starve yourself spiritually, seek God.
From Joel 3:9, we learn that we need to proclaim God’s word because people can’t believe in God if we don’t (Romans 10:14).
From Amos 5:15, we learn to love good. When we look at the world around us, it may seem like that good does not exist in the world. Good does exist because there is a God; without God, there is nothing that is good (Mark 10:17,18). We must be able to identify the good. The world wants us to falsely think that we cannot judge anyone for any reason. Not only does Amos 5:15 tell us to love the good, it also tells us to hate the evil. We can’t hate evil if we don’t know the difference between the two. Love good, hate evil.
From Obadiah 10, we learn about being cut off. We have to submit to God or we will be separated from Him. Submitting to God is accepting the fact that He is in authority and we listen to what He tells us. James 4:7 shows that to submit to God also means to resist the devil. If we don’t submit, we will be cut off from God. Hell is the only place where the omnipresent God is not. Don’t be separated from God, submit to Him.
From Jonah 3:5, we learn to put on. The people of Nineveh put on sackcloth when they learned of their sin. The act of wearing sackcloth is a sign of remorse, repentance, or grief. They knew that something was sorely amiss, they are broken and are hurting. We have to understand that something is wrong when we sin; we need to put on a deep regret because of sin. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psalm 51:17). David was not trying to take the cheap way out; he knows that he cannot buy his salvation. We have to fully offer God our broken spirit. When we sin, we are guilty, but do we feel the sin? 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 states that “godly sorrow produces repentance” and “sorrow of the world produces death”. Godly sorrow is being truly sorry for your sins and worldly sorrow is being sorry that you got caught. Even before judgement, worldly sorrow leads to destruction. Put on godly sorrow when you sin.
From Micah 6:8, we learn to walk humbly with God. Walking humbly is required. God actively opposes the proud (James 4:6,10). Walking with God is an invitation from God to walk with Him (the greatest invitation that man could ever know). Walking with Him is optional, He doesn’t force us to walk with Him. You have to understand God to walk with Him; to understand God, we need to read from His word and focus on His actions. This walk is intimate and is intended to be a long walk into eternity; start that walk today.
From Nahum 3:14, we learn to draw water, to prepare. Sometimes preparation is worthless; such as preparing for an education without God (Psalm 14:1), taking care of our physical bodies without God (1 Timothy4:8; our souls lost for eternity, our physical bodies do not), wealth without God is useless (Luke 11), and friendships are useless without God (Proverbs 11:21; Romans 14:12). Prepare now for the trials that will come (Ecclesiastes 12:1). To prepare, study intentionally, identify potential problems and study; pray every day for a faithful Christian spouse with whom you will go to heaven with; form Christian friendships with those you can fall back on and keep you on the right path.
From Habakkuk 2:7, we learn to rise up. War is a constant thing and we must rise up against the enemies of God. Faith will be our victory. It may appear that the world is winning but we must stay faithful (Hebrews 10:35-39)!
From Zephaniah 1:7, we learn to be silent. Being silent means giving reverence to God’s name. We need to have reverence for God’s name (Psalm 33:8) because His name is reverend (Psalm 111:9) and He has created everything (Genesis 1:1).
From Haggai 1:8, we learn to go up. We need to look up (Colossians 3:1) and glorify God because glorifying God will make others want to glorify Him as well.
From Zechariah 14:3-5, we learn to go forth. God will make a way for us through everything that we might go through.
From Malachi 2:1-2, we learn to give glory. We are to give God His credit. We have to submit to God to give Him glory. Understand why we obey God’s commands, do the right things for the right reasons, and give God the credit for what He has done.
I encourage you to take these condensed notes and apply the major lessons from the minor prophets to your life. Seek God. Proclaim God’s word. Love good. Don’t be cut off. Put on. Walk humbly. Draw water. Rise up. Be silent. Go up. Go forth. Give glory.
My name is Jennifer Odom and I've been a Christian since October 2011. I'm a 19-year-old sophomore at Freed-Hardeman University. I hope to speak at several ladies days, become a music teacher, get involved with mission work, and bring as many people as I can with me to heaven. Stepping in Light is affiliated with the church of Christ.