A selfish disregard for the purpose of God is all too common among Christian people who live in ‘panelled houses’ while God’s house ‘remains a ruin’. As in the days of Haggai, excuses for apathy are shamelessly voiced, blind eyes are turned to the judgements of God, and defiled hearts sink into unfaithfulness. And yet the LORD Almighty remains faithful to his people and true to his word. Through repeated trials he calls the backslider to repentance, with timely encouragements and gracious promises he strengthens the downhearted, and for his own glory he transforms the sins of neglect and ignorance into the servants of his purpose. With urgency the prophet condemns the wickedness of waiting for the ‘right’ time when duty calls today, and of lamenting the past desiring an experience today similar to that of yesterday. And he warns of the grave peril of expecting immediate material results. It is a message that must be taken seriously by the twenty-first century church.
Tim Shenton is the head teacher of St Martin’s School and an elder at Lansdowne Baptist Church, Bournemouth. He has written a number of other books, including daily readings for younger readers, a study on revival and is engaged in several writing projects. He and his wife, Pauline, have two daughters.
The opening sections introduce the subject, dealing with issues of authorship, date and historical context. Helpful sections follow on the style of writing and the overall message. Particularly useful in this introductory material are chronological tables and outlines of each book, section by section. The full bible text (NIV) is inserted with expositional comments following each verse. The author provides plenty of Scriptural cross-references to demonstrate how the prophets were preachers of the already revealed Word of God, as well as being proclaimers of new revelation. These cross-references also help to tie the ptophets’ writings into the flow of Biblical history. There are plenty of valuable comments on words, allusions and poetic statements, which are extremely helpful in unfolding the meaning of these powerful and at times, disturbing messages. Grace Magazine 2008, Martin Leech, Mendlesham Green