The book of Joel is short, four chapters long, which translates into four pages. It was written about 400 BC. At about that time there was a great famine due to locusts and grasshoppers eating up the food of the land. It sounds like it was similar to one of the ten plagues in Egypt. By the end of this book comes hope and God makes a promise to the people that He will bless them.
The next book in the Bible is Amos. Amos is nine chapters long. He was of the southern region of Judah and lived around the years 786-746 BC. Amos brings judgement to many nations, especially Israel, the northern kingdom. Again, by the end, there is still hope.
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Bible, only 21 verses. It speaks of a vision Obadiah sees. He talks of bad things happening, but tells of the remnant left, when both the northern and southern kingdoms will be unified again.
The next book in the Bible is the Book of Jonah. This is that familiar story of a prophet, Jonah, whom God calls to prophesy to Nineveh. But Jonah is reluctant. He sees God’s Mercy as being opposed to His Justice. So he goes on a trip to go even farther away from Nineveh and God (as if that could happen). It really shows how human the prophets were. But trouble comes from not doing God’s Will and it affects everybody on the ship. A great storm appears, so Jonah decides to be thrown off the ship. Jonah is swallowed by a very large fish and is spit out near the town of Nineveh. He reluctantly preaches in Nineveh and the town truly repents. But Jonah is not happy. He wanted the people to suffer. God then teaches Jonah, with patience, of His Goodness. The book of Jonah is four chapters long. It is estimated to be written around 400 BC.
There are a few important lessons from the book of Jonah. First, notice that Nineveh is not a Jewish city. But mercy and salvation come to the people of Nineveh who are gentiles. Thus, the Gentiles can be saved. Second, salvation came to the Ninevites from the Jews. It is a foreshadowing of God’s plan when Jesus comes and dies on the cross for us. Third, being Gentiles, the Ninevites were the last people to expect to change their lives and repent, but they did. People really can change if given a chance. But that is a decision they have to make. Fourth, God’s plan is greater. Jonah’s plan to chastise seems good for the moment just like our plans may seem good. In this event, we discover God’s plan of mercy is far better.
There are so many more lessons in the book of Jonah. These listed are just a few. I hope you will enjoy this quick and easy read and benefit from God’s wisdom.