The prophetic books sounded the alarm and warned the kingdoms of Israel and Judah that God would not tolerate their sins. We see God’s holiness on full display and the failure of his people to remain loyal to his covenant with them. Through the prophets, we see the heartbreaking results of abandoning God and his ways. What insights we can gain from the Jews’ rebellion! No matter how much God loves his people and wants to dwell them, he refuses to allow them to continue in sin without addressing it.
In the midst of the worst days of Israel’s history, much of it brought on by their own disobedience, we also see some of God’s brightest promises. Parallel to pronouncements of judgment, these books also heralded the good news. God’s people had done their very worst. Still, he promised his very best.
God communicated through his prophets that better days were coming. A Messiah would come who would forever return the hearts of the people back to their God (Isaiah 53). The prophecies concerning the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah find their fulfillment in the New Testament. These messages of hope motivated the people of the Old Testament to live in anticipation of God’s future salvation. Hundreds of years after Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the Lord’s anointed one, Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and declared, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). As we read these messages, we can rejoice in the God who forgives sins and extends his mercy to all who will call upon him.