Many Christians skip or skim minor prophet books such as Nahum, Habakkuk, Malachi, and Zechariah. These books can be hard to understand, but many lessons wait to be gleaned from them if you persevere. Once you learn how to study these books, you can discover what God wants to say through them.
Jonah is perhaps the most familiar minor prophet. Most of us grew up hearing about him being swallowed by a whale (or “big fish”) in Sunday school. Yet most of us forget or skim over how Jonah got into that fish. God commanded Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh, yet Jonah’s anger burned against this nation and he wanted it destroyed. He ran in the opposite direction and was tossed overboard when a storm hit his ship.
Through Jonah, God teaches us several lessons. The first is the importance of forgiveness for others, even if they don’t seem repentant. Over and over, the Bible proves that even the hardest hearts can change. Jonah’s last chapter also contains cautions against feeling justified in unrighteous anger.
God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer as an allegory of His relationship with Israel. That alone is enough to make most Christians skip this book. However, it has plenty to say about God’s patience and mercy with unfaithful people, as well as why He judges sin so harshly. Between the lines of sobering prophecies exists a tender story of God wooing His people back to Himself.
Habakkuk dealt with a question Christians ask often: “Why do the wicked prosper?” Indeed, Habakkuk complained openly and bitterly to God. God urged him to be patient and wait for his “amazing” answers, just as He urges modern believers to do.