The next chapter in the story of the Bible brings us to the New Covenant, better known as the New Testament. This title is derived from God’s promise through the prophet Jeremiah that He would make a “new covenant” with His people to replace the covenant which they had broken. Speaking to His disciples in the Upper Room, Jesus presented the Passover cup saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20).
Readers of Scripture often find the prophets confusing because they don’t understand the historical context in which they ministered. Many students of the Bible have found it helpful to study the prophets in the chronological order in which they ministered rather than the canonical order in which they appear in Scripture.
The biblical term “prophet” refers to one who speaks for another. The term is used for Aaron who spoke for Moses (Exod. 7:1-2). Most frequently it is used in the Bible for those who speak for God. The prophets in ancient Israel interpreted and expounded God’s instruction, what is called the Mosaic Law. They also predicted God’s judgment on those who broke their covenant agreement with God and proclaimed God’s blessings on those who were faithful to the covenant obligations.
Lately, it seems like nothing falls into place. Nothing comes easily to me. I wrestle. I strive. I fight. And . . . nothing. There’s a little voice within that enjoys pointing out that if God were really in control of the whole universe, then it would be easy for him to change my circumstances. It would take him no effort whatsoever to make a tweak here and there and poof! my life would be fixed. That voice takes my good theology—a high view of God’s meticulous rule—and comes to poor conclusions that God is withholding something good from me.
The third major chapter of the Bible turns from history to reflection. Some scholars call Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon the “Poetic Books.” They certainly are poetic in the Hebrew sense of parallel thought or expression of ideas. But the thematic focus of these books is worship and wisdom.