Hosea, Joel, Amos and Obadiah, each one of these men lived and served the Lord throughout different times and yet all dealt with many of the same cultural influences that continued to pull the people of Israel away from God. As I read through each of these books I begin to see a pattern that is similar to that of the Judges, a pattern that has its high and low points in the spiritual lives of the Israelites. Hosea describes what sounds like a time of depression or low point spiritually for the people. Joel and Amos tell us how the people become accustomed to living in sin and how it had become a way of life. During the time of Amos the people had come out of a time of depression and lived well, enjoying peace and prosperity all the while leaving God behind.
Gods timing and plan called for times of blessing and times of suffering, He wanted the people to know who He was and through His divine power He could alter their paths. When we get to Obadiah we begin to see a fall back into a place of fear and judgment as the people come up against the people of Edom. Through the words of Obadiah we read about the promise of restoration to the faithful remnant. Through the lives of these prophets God was calling His people back to Him, wanting them to turn away from the ways of other cultures and people.
What an amazing example again of God’s love and grace, He does not give up on His people when they turn away. We have assurances and promises today through Christ that when He comes again we will be with Him in heaven. Our culture today has a hard time understanding what this means. Our culture much like those in the days of the prophets pulls us in a different direction, opposite to that of our loving gracious God. As I work in a position of leadership I pray that I can effectively be “pulling” on God’s side helping people to know His love.