Book Review: The Twelve by Parker Bradley (Haggai)
Welcome to our monthly book review for, The Twelve- A Transformational Journey Through The Minor Prophets, by Parker Bradley. Drawing from the insights of the Minor Prophets in the Bible, The Twelve, is an encouraging, but also challenging resource for followers of Jesus, and anyone wanting to honestly understand how God reveals Himself in Scripture.
We covered the chapter on Zephaniah last month, and are covering the chapter on Haggai, in this episode.
Parker Bradley covers key points in this chapter with additional background information from Ezra, Leviticus and Joshua.
He continues with the main theme of the minor prophets - God works to redeem what was broken and lost. I am reminded of one of my favourite Psalms, 40, that speaks of being raised up from the pit - rescued, redeemed, so that we can do a good work, according to His will.
Parker is really good at drawing a parallel between scripture and the life of the reader. We read about the temple being rebuilt, but what about work the Lord has commissioned us to do? Can we learn from the challenges and reactions to the challenges described in Ezra and Haggai? I like how Parker points out that things going well aren’t necessarily a sign the work is being blessed by God and things not going well, isn’t necessarily a sign that it is not blessed. How do we know the difference? From my personal experience, I don’t always know straight away. But there are some projects that I know for sure are commanded by the Lord, because I feel driven beyond the energy I have and have an unquenchable desire to do the work - no matter what. He gives me wisdom to do it all. Then when His work is done, that strong desire evaporates. Sometimes I see the outcome straight away, other times not, and that leaves me wondering how it all fits into the big picture of my life. What comforts me is that the Lord knows and I will be able to ask Him all about it when Jesus Christ returns.
This is an aspect that I really like about Parker Bradley’s audio book, he calls us to reflect, so that even if we are not doing this as a group study, we can question how we relate to the teachings of the Bible, in a different way than what we do with self study. He also includes a lot of self reflection, humbly shares his own mistakes and has a good balance of subtle humour and rebuke that I find uplifting.
Parker recalls the powerful words of Jeremiah 29:11, that applies to all God’s creation: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
He talks about the significance of the rebuilding of the temple and what message God’s people sent to their Creator when they refused to build it.
Some more self reflection questions: What has He called us to do for the sake of the gospel? What’s our attitude when we are doing God’s work? Are we allowing fear to discourage us? My Bible verse today is from 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Parker speaks about where we get courage from and how Haggai and books like Joshua show us how we can go boldly and courageously go into the work God has given us to do. He mentions Acts 4:19-20: But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” I am reminded of how confidently David went into battle with Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:48 says, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Such was David’s confidence that the Lord was with him!
Parker repeats encouraging words, throughout the chapter, about the work to be done. I admire how he adds that we must respect authority (Romans 13 speaks of this), while doing the work of the gospel - but stresses that the work has to be done, otherwise we are actually working against God. Yikes!
Parker really brought to light the personality of Haggai and why God called him to lead His people to rebuild the temple, after the first attempt failed, due to human nature.
While Haggai is only two chapters long, Parker manages to tie in other books of the Bible that cover the same account, creating a solid overview of the dynamics and work during Haggai’s time of prophecy.
Each chapter of The Twelve is a must read for those who wish to delve into the books of the minor prophets, which prove to be minor only in length of their accounts, certainly not minor regarding the message they relay from the Almighty God of Israel.
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.
Book and thumbnail source: www.audible.com